SHERWOOD, Wis. (WFRV) – One person’s trash is another’s treasure, and that is how Milan Deprez sees the world.
“I had this old power drill, and the head of it reminded me of a tractor,” the 80-year-old Sherwood resident said. “I cut it up and made a tractor out of it.”
The toy tractor was the first of 297 toys made in 20 years since Deprez retired from his job as an auto mechanic.
“I started numbering and dating them. And I’m up to just under 300,” he said. “Some of the parts I used are originally from car engines.”
Deprez makes cars, trucks, trains, tractors, boats, airplanes, helicopters, snowmobiles, and more from anything he and his family members and friends can find for him.
“So I started looking at other stuff, power tools, just about anything. Coffee pots, meat grinders, toasters,” he said. “The ones that are the most popular are the tractors made out of old power tools, but then there are also the meat grinders.”
Deprez gives the toys to his family members and friends and also donates them as silent auction items at his parish, St. John-Sacred Heart. Some have gone for more than $300.
“I enjoy it, [and] it’s a very enjoyable hobby. Very rewarding,” he said. “I thought, ‘When I retire, maybe I’ll zero in on something I can do and make a little money.’ Well, I sure enjoy doing it, but the money is not an object; it’s just the fun of it.”