Appleton man uses recycling creativity to make unique birdhouses

Recycled parts

APPLETON - Sometimes all it takes is a second look for something old to become new again.

That's true for one Appleton man making birdhouses, but the materials he uses is what makes them unique.

Sitting alone in the back of his workshop, Dennis Voigt can just let his creativity flow.

“This is relaxation,” said Dennis Voigt of Appleton.

The shelves in his workshop are full of things he's collected over the years, from places like thrift stores.

“I often wonder what they think, ‘what's this guy doing in here buying all of these pans and dishes and stuff,’” said Voigt.

He even collects old worn out equipment from his day job in new home construction including discarded ladders.

The drawers in an old storage unit are full too.

“Here we took apart a television set,” Voigt said. “You never know.”

All of it is waiting to be turned into his next greatest invention. He said everything is worth a second look.

“I think that people just find it easier to throw stuff away,” said Voigt.

But one day, his fiancée said some of it needed to go.

“There were way too many lawn mowers,” said Voigt. Jenny's like, ‘you have to get rid of them’ so I started taking them apart to recycle.

His fiancé, Jenny Kuske, had also been bugging him for birdhouse for their backyard, but it never occurred to either of them that he might just put the two together.

“(I) saw the hole, and it's like, ‘I'll make a bird house out of that,’” said Voigt.

Kuske admitted it wasn’t exactly what she wanted.

“I wanted a basic four sides wood house,” she said.

But it was the start of his new and unique hobby.

“This is a dryer vent like what would be on the side of your house,” Voigt said as he pointed to one of his birdhouses. “Then we've got some parts for electrical fixtures.”

There was also another made out of some PVC pipe and an old fruit basket, and even one made out of an old swimming pool filter.

“I saw birdhouse, I saw deep sea-diver guy,” said Voigt. “Sometimes I stay out too long doing this and too late and whatever, but if you enjoy it, it's worth it.”

Don't worry. He didn't forget about his fiancée.

“About 36 bird houses later, she did finally get one,” said Voigt.

As for all of his other houses, he said that will be up for the birds to decide which one they'd like to call home.

“I don't know,” said Voigt. “I guess if you're in one of these houses, you'd be the lucky bird on the block.”

Some of Voigt’s birdhouses are sold at Milo Milo in downtown Appleton. He also hopes to sell them online soon.