Do you love toys? If so, think about a trip to Dyersville.
Every year the first weekend in November, you can come to the National Farm Toy Show. The National Farm Toy Show always offers a few fun surprises. This year’s show had one great surprise! Bernie Kluesner! At the National Toy Museum, I saw my old friend, Bernie. He was onhnad sharing his story and beautiful display of wooden toys in the museum.
What is the National Farm Toy Museum?
The National Farm Toy Museum is all about farm toys. The museum profiles the history of farm toys and shows a variety of different models.
Bernie and his work!
While most of the toys in the museum are metal, Bernie’s are wooden. The models are not just one wood though, but a beautiful variety as varied as the rainbow. A wooden rainbow that is!
Bernie’s display actually is not new. It has been up for almost a year now. But, at the show I just saw it for the first time. “We started putting it in before Thanksgiving of last year,” Bernie shared.
Bernie is almost a local in Dyersville. He hails from nearby New Vienna. Bernie is also a volunteer at the museum. “I volunteer for tour buses,” Bernie added.
The biography at the museum shares, “Bernie and Inez Kluesner reside in New Vienna, Iowa. A retired farmer, Bernie crafted the Maple Tractor Loader Backhoe from school Desks in 1994. The next 13 toys would be crafted from Walnut and Maple. From 1998 to 2004, Bernie did not construct any toys, doing woodwork and scroll sawing. In 2005, he returned to constructing wooden toys using multiple kinds of wood in different colors. No nails or screws are used, only Elmer’s Wood Glue. No stains, paint or dyes are used. A Lacquer finish is applied to bring out the natural beauty of the woods.”
I interviewed Bernie at the Gateway Farm Toy Show in St. Louis a few years back. There Louis Bernie had a beautiful corn picker at the show. I am always blown away when I see his work, especially his later models like this cornpicker. The cornpicker has 22 differet woods. The picker is comprised of basswood, beech, Brazilian Rosewood, hackberry, hickory, Kentucky coffee tree, Lacewood, maples, mulberry, Oak Osage orange and more.
This project as you can imagine like most are time-consuming. “There are 300 hours in just the picker,” Bernie said.
Bernie works on average around five hours at a time.
It is amazing where Bernie finds his woods and how he puts them together. At the museum, Bernie showed me a block of wood that had several different types of wood in one piece. He then uses that block of wood to create amazing, fine detailed, Christmas ornaments. These are works of art. If I didn’t think somebody would have tackled me, I would have grabbed one and ran!
Bernie’s beautiful crafted pieces are on display. He showed me a Brent grain cart he built and how the augur and pieces MOVE! Yes, I said MOVE!
Bernie’s an artist! What more can I say besides go see this lovely display for yourself!
Call ahead at 563-875-2727to make sure the exhibit is still open before heading out!. The museum is located at 1110 16th Avenue Ct SE, Dyersville, IA 52040.