Vining man creates metal bull sculpture for ToroVining, Minn. (WDAY TV) - A small town in Otter Tail County is well known for being home to NASA astronaut Karen Nyberg, but her father's talents with metal and welding have been turning heads for years. Ken Nyberg's metal sculptures dot the landscape around the lakes area, but now a Lawn Care giant has commissioned Nyberg to make a piece for it's Twin Cities Corporate Headquarters. And that's no bull.
By: Kevin Wallevand, WDAY
The welding shop is as humble and full of stories as the man behind the mask. Ken Nyberg's latest piece is perhaps one of his most challenging. The Toro Lawn Care Company has commissioned Ken to make a Bull, their trademark, out of lawn mower blades.
KEN NYBERG - Making Bull for Toro: “The blades, I have to grind the edges to make them fit because of the curves.”
It is impressive, melting metal to make daunting details.
KEN NYBERG - Making Bull for Toro: “One of a kind you know. I make a rod frame so I expose all the curves with the rods and then when I put the blades on I follow what I have.”
And what is left now is to weld the face.
KEN NYBERG - Making Bull for Toro: “Perhaps the head is the hardest, armature that takes on the shape and then I bend the pieces to cover a lot of small pieces to make compound curves.”
Ken spends hours in his lakeside shop, carefully bending and shaping the blades to create yet another piece of metal art.
KEN NYBERG - Making Bull for Toro: “It won't be too bad except to come over the eyes. With the wrinkles it might get a little bit tricky.”
Without a lot of planning or purpose, Nyberg's sculptures have found their way a mile away to his hometown of 50-people. Public Art now scattered across the town of Vining, a real summertime roadside attraction.
It's not his first lawn mower blade piece. There is the rhino outside his shop and an elephant in town. Those two took 15-hundred lawn mower blades. Add to that a football with blades. Others in the sculpture park feature carefully welded chunks of metal. It started with the big toe, a cowboy, watermelon, the coffee cup pouring Joe, and even an astronaut in honor of his daughter and space.
“I don't have any favorites.”
And at 73, there is no plans of ever calling this work.
“As long as no one forces me into a schedule I can stop for coffee when I want. That is important.”
That metal bull will weigh about a thousand pounds when it's done. It, like the other mower blade sculptures, will take on a "rusted look" after a couple of years.