March 28, 2002 - Model Boats

They aren't built to float - not even in the bathtub. And that's just about the only disparaging thing you could say about Sidney Sanford's model boats.

"I've been building these boats off and on for about 25 years," he says. "I can do other things, but I like the rhythm of the work and the details. And I fish all the time. I sit on the river and I look at these boats a long time, all my life really."

So with a sharp saw, Exacto knife, good glue, infinite patience and thousands upon thousands of match sticks, Sidney Sanford builds model boats. There are blueprints to Sidney's boats, but he has been building them so long that he hardly ever refers to them. He carries the plans around in his head - plans which call for about 11,000 matches per boat.

Sidney's work is time consuming. "It takes me, working on it, putting some time on it, about three weeks, a minimum of three weeks just flat-out working on it all day." His work may not be "matchless," but it is astounding, remarkable, imposing and "striking." As he explains, "I just take one out of the box and strike it and just blow the whole box!" An entire box of wooden safety matches bursts into flames as Sidney demonstrates the technique.

Many of Sidney's boats have religious themes, bringing to mind Jesus' words to the disciples, "I will make you fishers of men." Sidney says a boat he built for his daughter 24 years ago is just as sturdy today as it was back then. To order a boat, Sidney can be reached at 355-7843.