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Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014

Jumping on the wagon to be creative

Thursday, January 13, 2005

When the cat's away, the mice will play.

Some of Kenny Miller's favorite times were his years of youth when his folks left for the day and he rushed through his farm work to get into the shop. "That was my hey day," he admitted.

This young boy who attended Alta schools, learned at a young age how to weld and how to work with a variety of tools. "I made a lot of toys out of junk and anything I could get my hands on."

The workshop is still one of his favorite places to be.

In the past, Miller had a wagon located at the recycling center. Metal scraps were discarded in the wagon.

He came across a miniature wagon during the cleaning out of the recyclable container and found it to be quite interesting.

It reminded him of his youth and the time he and his sister Marguerite were bound and determined to run away with their coaster wagon.

His initial goal was to redo the little discarded wagon and give it to his sister for a gift, in hopes of reminding her about their young adventure.

He liked the design of the little wagon and decided to begin creating his own design, make it slightly larger, for children to enjoy.

He is pleased with the wagons that come out of his workshop. He has made at least 31 of them over the last couple years.

He also takes great pride in the work he does to complete each project.

"If you play with things long enough, you get it all figured out," the craftsman said, "and man doesn't learn anything without a challenge."

Through his experimentation, he learned that a 1/2" metal rod works best for the oversized axles, that the tongue bracket should be made from metal (a pattern designed of, course, by him), that a tapered tongue is necessary and that reflectors placed on the back of each wagon is a fun addition.

Every wagon he makes is different; it may be the type of wood used, the paint or stain or the design he places in the three "windows."

He has placed John Deere insignias and some, International Harvestor insignias on others and has now began adding teddy bear cut outs.

He also came up with his own design for the wooden wheels he places on the wagons and often changes the looks of them with each project.

All of the wagons are 2' long and 1' wide. He cuts the wood to 1" thickness for the sides and places a heavy duty board in the bottom to hold youngsters. "I like to change each one to keep me interested," he admitted. "Some people think the wagons are too pretty to play with," he said, adding that they are made sturdy and can hold up to anything. He keeps track of everyone who gets one of the wagons "and I tell them that if a wheel, or anything else, breaks on them, to let me know and I'll fix it."

He concluded about his array of tools, "I love all my stuff to play around with."



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