Scale Model Farm Equipment

Meet a former Michigan farmer who has been whittling scale models of farm equipment since he was a boy.

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Lloyd Burns works on a miniature John Deere Model "D" and a 3-bottom plow as his son watches. He operated theoriginal of these as a boy on his dad's farm east of CentralLake.

PHOTO: ROSLYN LISK

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Roslyn Lisk, Business Manager of The Torch newspaper, has given us permission to use the following article and picture. 


In this busy day and age when a working man and father of two sons and two daughters finds time to pursue a hobby such as whittling scale model farm implements, we believe it is of interest to the young and old.

So it is with Lloyd Burns, son of Mr. and Mrs. Russell Burns, husband of Ella Fisher Burns, and father of Sharon, Allan, Penny, and Donald.

Back in 1920 when Lloyd was born the first of three sons, his parents were farmers out east of Central Lake, MI, and so his love of the land and the farm machinery used in tilling the land was a natural one. In 1930 at the age of 10, his only means of acquiring machinery "just like Dad's" was to make some for himself, thus his "Whittlin' Career" started.

His first models were very crude, but none-the-less dear to the heart of a ten year old! As the years went by his patience and interest grew and his skills improved, but he was becoming dissatisfied with his finished products. The need to be more exacting plagued him, until he decided that making his small creations to scale would be of value to their authenticity.

Thus in 1946 at the age of 26 years, Lloyd started making his first set of blueprints. From then on although his miniature farm equipment pieces were complete in detail and true in size, they do not actually operate.

The list of materials and tools used in his unique hobby are simple ones. Most all of the machinery is made from pine and bass wood, various gauges of wire, tin, nails, belts of many types, wood fillers and a few small cans of different colored paints. From his beginning with a jack knife he has added a small hammer, coping saw, jig saw, wood chisels and pliers.

While paint is his greatest expense, the woods and other supplies are mostly free from various sources.

Lloyd farmed on the home farm with his father and brother until 1952 when he moved to the vicinity of Burr Oak, Sturgis, Michigan. There he found a job with Kirsch Co., and in 1953 married Ella Fisher.

But his love of farming called him back to Central Lake, where he bought a farm east of town and farmed again for a number of years.

Lloyd and his family now live in Central Lake, and he is employed at Mt Clemens Metal Products in East Jordan. He also plays and sings with an old fashioned square dance band at least one night a week.

Still Lloyd finds time for his interesting and unusual hobby! In his attempt to record the history of farm implements, Lloyd has spent four or five evenings per week, about 2 hours per evening for the past 37 years, actually "whittlin'" away or studying hobby magazines in the hope that he might find the descriptions of still more antique models, and reading and studying current farm machinery magazines in search of new developments. The magazines he has acquired through the years is a collection in itself!

In his quest for knowledge to carry on his "Whittlin' Career," an annual event for Lloyd in recent years is attending the "Old Time Thresher Show" in Fort Wayne, Ind. and Hastings, Mich.

Now at the age of 47 years and 432 models later, Lloyd—with small son Donald age 6 keeping a watchful eye on Dad's skilled fingers—still spends several evenings per week patiently and devotedly working on his hobby hoping to reach his goal of 500 individual pieces of authentically styled farm implements dating back to an 1831 First McCormick Reaper.