Artisan – A person manually skilled in making a particular product; craftsman.
Guild – An association of men with kindred pursuits or common interests or aims.
The Custom Tin Toy Trucks, LLC “Artisans Guild” wants you, the quality Artisan who would like to see your beautiful work receive due recognition and a lasting legacy to join us. To find out more please contact us via the Contact page of this site.
John K. Venheim / Artisan - Founder
I have been enamored by car racing, custom cars, hot rods, trucks and construction equipment of all kinds all my life. My father, “Pappa” was a sentimental saver. He kept all of the Tonka Trucks that my brother and I played with when we were children. As metal trucks will do, they got rusty and parts were missing, so as I refurbished them I had to be creative. I also married into a large extended family of hot rod and custom car builders, as well as being good friends with several custom toy truck restorers and award winning modelers all of whom are quality artisans. I couldn’t afford the big cars so I concentrated on the toys. I approach each project with excitement and relishing in the detail. I hope you will enjoy my creations and they will be a valuable piece of your collection.
Trucks made #: 0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,9,10,13,14,15,17,18,19,22
Joe Bierbower, Artisan - Charter Member since May 6th, 2013
As a Father and Grandfather, I rekindled my love of vintage metal toys shortly after my youngest grandson turned one. Wanting to pass-on the same countless memories I had as a child. Quickly my focus became old Tonka Toys, especially from my youth.
Today, I not only restore formerly beloved Tonka Trucks with exact detail, but also I create wonderful special requests trucks reflecting the owner's personality and passion.
Trucks made; 25
Doug Bohannon, Artisan - Charter Member since March 3rd, 2013
I was born in Universal Indiana in June 1958.By the time I was old enough to have my interest drawn to cars a drag racer married my next door neighbor. At that time everything was 55 Chevy’s and slowly went to 65 Nova’s to 66 Chevelles on and on.
Needless to say I was hooked and for several summers used to sit on the back porch and watch the parade of loud fast cars go by going to Smokey’s house. I have been a pipefitter welder and fabricator for 35 years. I have painted and built several cars including a project with my son which is a 1973 pro street Vega. I completely restored a 1968 RS Camaro and own a 1965 Impala wagon. I have found my calling in toy trucks. I started out collecting small Hubley trucks I had when I was a kid and cruising eBay was nailed by the Tonka bug. I love to do the customs and have a hard time putting something back the way it was .I have to add my touch which is sometimes a little and sometimes a lot.
Trucks made #: 11,16, 29
Peter Doll, Artisan - Charter Member since March 22nd, 2013
I do Professional restoring of any Truck, car or airplane. I use both original parts when available, or I can make a part if it is not available! I can even build you a toy from scratch if there was never a model of the item you would like to build. I have also done a Nylint Dual Tanker Texaco truck, Smith Miller Blue Diamond Dump Truck, Buddy L Produce Truck, Tonka Tow Truck, Structo Auto Haulers, Tonka flatbed with Structo rear end and I can go on and on. I love putting my imagination to work and see what I can come up with. I take a great deal of pride and pleasure in this business.
Trucks made #12
Bill Krejci, Artisan - Charter Member since March 1st, 2013
Moyie Springs, Idaho
Born in Great Falls, Montana in 1959, I was a '60's youngster. Not quite old enough for the '60's experience but I remember watching it happen. My father was a millwright and a farrier or horse shoer so metalwork and welding are in my genes because I picked up on it very fast! I had a mentor, Oliver Hurtley, who taught me metal sculpture and ornamental and artistc ironwork after I got out of the Navy in the mid-'80's. He was contracted to do ironwork on Neil Young's house in Half Moon Bay, Ca. and that's how I started out my "on the job training" by doing all the grunt-work for Oliver on Neil's house. Two years later Oliver turned it over to me and I got to work directly for Mr. Young for about 2-1/2 years doing decorative metal and some brass sculpture work. I have been a welder/artist ever since and have owned two different businesses and worked for two big welding/fabricating shops. In 2001, I was in a near fatal motorcycle accident which put me in a wheelchair and forced me to down-size my operations and work on smaller projects. I began to be interested in antique metal toys, Tonka in particular, in 2007 and have been restoring and building custom Tonka, Wyandotte, Nylint, Smith Miller, Buddy L, and Structo toys since then and it is something I will keep on with because I really enjoy doing. It has become a real passion of mine! I love finding old junkers and seeing what I can do with them and then trading them on eBay!
Trucks made #: 8, 23
Terry Waldron, Artisan - Member since April 2017
Since the birth of my only son in 2015, I have embarked on a mission to be able pass on some valued and appreciated inheritances to the best of my affordability while at the same time giving him childhood happiness with lasting memories to hold forever. Money in the bank was not going to give him fond childhood memories and not gain value as much as vintage toys. They will never make them as they once did again.
As a chef by trade I had no metalwork, painting or restoration expertise, all the projects you see I have chosen with much research, self taught and educated restoration process, so you could say it's been a true labor of love. While only planning to do a few projects in the beginning, I found myself enjoying the process and outcome to my efforts and achievements and this has now been going on to date. It is a wonderful feeling taking something that looks like it was sitting on the bottom of the ocean for decades and turning it into gold after some patience and education, which are some values I hope to also pass on to my son, I trust you will enjoy viewing my projects as much as I enjoyed making treasure from trash!
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