Matchstick Art, 7.5 Million sticks over 40 years – COOLEST THING I’VE EVER MADE- EP15


Hour by hour, stick by stick. You don’t tell people you make things out of matchsticks or they worry about you you know. I’m Pat Acton. I worked for 40 years as a professional career counsellor. I live in Gladbrook Iowa and matchsticks are my passion. If you mention that you make stuff
out of matchsticks to people and they’ve never seen what you’ve done, they look at you pretty funny (laughs). But once they see what I’ve
created and they’re no longer picturing little wooden stick figures out of
matchsticks they come alive and that’s what feeds my spirit I want to welcome you into Matchstick Marvels. So what we’re looking at here is 16 or 17
models that I made exclusively out of ordinary wooden kitchen matchsticks. I have a relationship with “Ripley’s Believe It or Not” going back over 25 years. Some of the largest models that I’ve made are not represented in the museum here like the steampunk locomotive. It’s 23 feet long, large enough that kids could
sit in the cab and play with the controls I made a model of the New World Trade Center. Ripley says it’s the tallest matchstick structure in the world measuring over 17 feet high and the Millennium Falcon from Star Wars
that has nearly a million matchsticks in it, moving parts, landing gear that comes
down, loading ramps, lights. If I had all those in here, we’d have to double or
triple the size of this place. It’s one-man operation and you’re looking at
President/CEO and labourer. This hobby started over 40 years ago
for me. In those 40 years, these fingers have touched about seven and a half million matchsticks. Well let’s start with Pinocchio. When my daughter was very small she knew that
I made things out of matchsticks. She wanted Pinocchio and I
said well honey Pinocchio has got too many shapes and curves there’s no way
that I can reproduce the wooden doll. And she’s going well match sticks are wood and Pinocchio is made out of wood, I don’t understand. So I figured out I could take a little needle nose pliers, kind of crimp and shape each stick. Glue it in place and so because of this guy…who I think turned out pretty cute it gave me a whole new foundation for making more detailed models, yeah, no doubt. You can make about any shape you want. For years I’d buy the wooden kitchen size matchsticks off the grocery shelf and cut the tips off. But now I ordered just the wooden splints without the sulfur tip. Well it was cutting that sulfered
tip off that was the most tedious task and it was actually very very boring and
I didn’t like it. Once I figured out I could buy the sticks from the match company, the models went from just a few inches with a few hundred sticks in ’em to models like the Iowa. This has over a hundred thousand sticks
in it. This took about eight months, total of 800 hours of actual construction. I’m very proud of this. Of course it’s the USS Iowa. I’m an Iowa farm boy, so I love the Iowa. One of the things about this is the amount of detail on the deck with the superstructure and all the guns and the life boats,
the original planes on the back. That detail is what people love. We can just turn all the turrets, you know all
the anti-aircraft guns and the 5-inch guns. It gives it that little bit of wow factor you know
“wow that’s really cool” which is that’s that’s when my
heart melts when people tell me that. …until I just broke it. I don’t know
what’s going on there? I’m going to take you into my shop. This is my primary workspace right here. I’ve used this same table for 40 years. The process of gluing sticks together
is not rocket science. One of the things that happens is glue is everywhere. We’ve got 40 years worth of wiping fingers off on my table, on my workbench. When I first started, I would literally lay a row of sticks out and then build it up like a bricklayer would. It doesn’t take long before that wall
starts getting wavy and warped. So by gluing the sticks up on the plexiglass or acrylic, it really speeds the process up. But when it comes down to it. It’s one stick at a time, wait for the glue to dry, move on. This would be about a half a million sticks that
I pre-glued for my next project. Each one of these sheets contains about 12,000 matchsticks. Roughly 16 hours per sheet. So you’re looking at just a few hours there. There’s 50 sheets of sticks here. It’s not tedious for me but I’m sure would
drive other people totally bonkers.Yeah, yeah. Hour by hour, stick by stick. My kids grew up just thinking this was something normal. You get outside the family, people are just fascinated with it. They think: “Who has the time and patience to sit down and glue a million matchsticks together?” But the bottom line is, it’s a passion of mine.
I lose myself in it. I love architecture. I love machines, ships trains, planes. The Cutty Sark. Beautiful clipper ship. People go: “Even the sails are made out of
matchsticks!” Well that’s what it’s all about, Matchstick Marvels. The United States Capitol. That is the most majestic building. And you know it gets a little spooky when you’re on the website of the Capitol every night you know studying diagrams and floor plans and I was just waiting for the FBI to show up. (laughs) Next is Notre Dame. It’s one of my favourites, one of my
favourites I just love the architecture and all the high gothic cathedrals. I love the flying buttresses and it took nearly two years to build. My heart just sank when the fire of 2019 ravaged roof of the Cathedral. I can’t wait to see it rebuilt. I can’t wait. I just can’t see never having this as a hobby. I think I’ll probably draw my last breath and still be gluing matchsticks together. My matchstick models are the
coolest thing I’ve ever made hey there I’m Guy. I’m the creator of show. Thanks
so much for watching and big thanks to Patrick from “Matchstick Marvels for having us there. Stay tuned guys. Subscribe, Like, We’ve got lots more episodes coming up soon in the new year so yeah, stick around.

Dereck Turner

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