LOWER HARMONY – Just call him the Friendly Dragon.
“I made it for the grandkids,” Lower Harmony resident John Ross said, of the rust-coloured steel dragon that doubles as a yard light in front of his welding shop.
“They said ‘make a dragon.’”
Ross earns his living restoring old cars but occasionally he also turns his attention to creating metal sculptures as a way to make people laugh or put a smile on their faces.
“I restore old cars and to break it up I do sculptures once in a while,” he said. “People seem to like one-of-a-kind things, you know.”
“I sculpted it all with wire first and then filled it in,” Ross said, of the dragon’s shape, which came straight from his head. “And there’s probably close to a thousand feet of wire inside it.”
The dragon stands nearly three metres tall and measures about six metres from nose to tail.
Its scales, which were applied in the same manner as laying roof shingles, were made from 14-gauge steel and welded into place.
The dragon was assembled in sections inside Ross’s shop during the past winter.
Its teeth are made from steel shaped to size, the small horns on its nose were made from old chainfall hooks, its toes from roller bearings and the claws were made from the teeth of an old hay mower cutter bar.
The large horns at the top of the dragon’s head were made from steel pipe that he shaped to look as they do.
“I thought it would make a cute yard light,” Ross said, of the electric lantern hanging from one of the dragon’s paws and which is connected to a motion detector.
“I tell the kids if it likes them, it will turn on when you walk up to it,” he said, with a chuckle. “He likes everybody. He’s a friendly dragon.”
The dragon is also balanced so that it is firmly placed to enable his grandchildren to scramble over it at will.
“I made it so the kids can crawl all over it. It’s balanced,” he said. “Like, they can crawl up on the tail and crawl up on the hands and it’s right stable.”
And what was the reaction of his four grandchildren (aged between four and nine) when they saw it?
“They loved it. They crawled all up over it and thought it was the greatest thing,” Ross said.
“They never know what grampie is going to make.”