• Last modified 983 days ago (Jan. 11, 2018)


Mechanic creates décor from junk

Staff writer

Wondering what to get someone who has everything? How about a unique item made of iron?

That’s what Troy Hett, 43, of Tampa does. And he makes it himself.

“I hang onto stuff that I used to call junk iron because I think I can build something with it,” he said. “I like welding and building things.”

The workbench in his auto mechanics shop in rural Tampa is cluttered with all kinds of iron pieces. He gleans ideas from the Internet and creates individual items that are unique.

Hett was working for Eldon Hett’s construction company 20 years ago when he started making windmills out of barbed wire and horseshoes. He sold them at Bluestem Farm and Ranch Supply in Emporia for two or three years.

“They sold fast, and I couldn’t keep up,” he said.

Now he makes things as gifts for relatives.

“When your parents are at the age where they don’t need anything, what do you get them?” he said. “So I build something.”

This past year, he created a cat for his mother and a dog for his father.

A small owl made from pliers, a larger owl made from a shovel, and crosses inside of a horseshoe are some of the other things he has made.

A large iron turkey sits outside his shop. Its body is a transmission part, and its feet are cultivator shovels.

Hett’s son, Jace, a senior at Centre High School, has worked with him in the shop since he was little.

“I used to bring a playpen out to the shop for my boys when they were little,” Hett said. “Jace has been out here ever since his hands could hold tools.”

Now Jace is beginning to follow his dad in creating things from iron.

“My theory is that things people buy at a store are just junk,” Hett said. “They don’t last. What I build can be set outside and last for years without deteriorating.”

Last modified Jan. 11, 2018