Rick Kawchack stands next to an aluminum sculpture of a Styracosaurus he spent two years creating. The sculpture weighs more than 2,000 pounds and contains more than 1.5 million spot welds.

Photo by Darian Warden

Rick Kawchack stands next to an aluminum sculpture of a Styracosaurus he spent two years creating. The sculpture weighs more than 2,000 pounds and contains more than 1.5 million spot welds.

1.5 million welds and 2,000 man-hours later, Craig man has his dinosaur

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— What began as a project to use up a family member’s old scrap metal became a two-year journey for Craig resident Rick Kawchack.

Investing most of his life’s savings and more than 2,000 man-hours, Kawchack has constructed a 22-foot-long, 7-foot-tall aluminum Styracosaurus.

It was Kawchack’s first foray into large-scale metal art; he has been a boiler maker for 21 years.

The 2,000-pound dinosaur features more than 1.5 million spot welds and is built to scale. Although it was a technical and grueling process to complete, there’s little doubt the dinosaur is a work of art.

“Welding was my paintbrush on a canvas of metal,” Kawchack said.

Kawchack hopes this is the first of many art pieces he will complete, but first he’ll have to sell the dinosaur. He’d like to see the piece stay local, but he’ll be happy negotiating with any potential buyers, no matter where they’re from.

Dabbling in modernistic metal art, Kawchack said he began looking into metal sculpting for his work on the dinosaur. Kawchack said he views the piece as part of his contribution to society.

Kawchack went through a dinosaur encyclopedia and chose the Styracosaurus. He wasn’t prepared for how difficult the project would be.

“There were a lot of hair-pulling days,” Kawchack said.

Kawchack said some people doubted his ability to complete the project, but those who have come to see it have been wowed.

“I thought it would be cool to build something big that people would come to see and enjoy,” Kawchack said. “This is dinosaur country. What better place?”

Darian Warden can be reached at 875-1793 or dwarden@craigdailypress.com

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