CENTRE HALL — The Nittany Antique Machinery Association (NAMA) held its annual Spring Show on May 31 through June 2 at Penns Cave. The show featured large displays of antique tractors and implements, antique tractor pulls, hit and miss engines, food vendors, antique vehicles and a building filled with toy tractors, trucks and farm machinery. A large flea market, which attracted many visitors, was located on the east end of the show grounds.
Tractors of many different makes were shown at the show. One of many interesting models was a 1962 Ford Model 861 Powermaster tractor shown by Clyde Smith of Clearfield. The 861 is powered by a 50-horsepower diesel engine and is equipped with a four-wheel-drive conversion. The Powermaster series of tractors was produced from 1957 to 1962.
In the toy building was John Lebkicher, a retired electrical lineman from Mifflintown, with his display of hand-built models of heavy equipment. On display this year was a recently finished model of a Caterpillar 5130B excavator. Lebkicher builds in 1/8 scale, making the Cat model about five feet long, and weighing about 70 pounds. Lebkicher uses poplar wood and Baltic birch plywood to construct his models. Both species have smooth, tight grain and will take finish well.
Besides wood, he employs some other materials in the models’ construction. Copper tubing is used for hydraulic cylinders, and copper wire simulates hydraulic lines. Smaller tubing is used for exhaust pipes and radiator hoses.
Lebkicher builds the models, working from hand drawings he makes based on photographs and measurements from actual vehicles.
Lebkicher builds his models using only a few standard power tools: drill press, belt sander, router and a band saw to build the models. He cuts wheels and tires to a circular shape with a band saw, then sands them to their final shape and size with his belt sander.
The tracks on the big Cat model each consist of over 50 separate handmade plates, held together with finishing nails as hinge pins.
Lebkicher has been showing his models at the NAMA shows since 2014.
NAMA was formed in 1975, and held its first show at the Penns Cave Farm in September of that year. The fall show has become one of the largest of its kind east of the Mississippi. The spring show, held annually on the first weekend after Memorial Day is a somewhat smaller version of the fall show, and features free admission for spectators. The fall show is held each year on the weekend following Labor Day.