By Stan Stewart.
Sandy Sanderson is a resident of Whitianga Continuing Care. He is a man of amazing talent. This is the third of three articles on Sandy and his amazing skill at model making and unique wood working. The other two articles were published last week, 18 July, and the week before, 11 July.
In 1994, Sandy’s love of making and flying model planes was in decline. He became interested in music and taught himself to play the bass guitar. Around this time his wife Joan was playing the mandolin. However, she was finding that the shape of the instrument made it difficult for her to hold. Sandy decided to make her one that fitted her dimensions. This instrument, made of Fijian mahogany, was the first of many. Sandy had been able to obtain, at a reasonable price, a quantity of swamp Kauri off-cuts. He stored these pieces for four years in his garage. When they were properly dried, swamp Kauri became his wood of preference for instrument making. As his experience grew, so did his skill in instrument making. As well as acoustic guitars, he also made electric guitars. The instruments Sandy made were worth many thousands of dollars each. He even had customers in Japan and Israel.
Due to his knowledge of guitars, Sandy was often called upon to repair guitars. Sandy’s charges for repairs varied. He would always judge the customer’s ability to pay before he would charge anything for the repairs made.
Sandy’s incredible skill in making things from wood goes back to his teenage years. Working with
O level woodwork and his apprenticeship in which he achieved a mark of 100%, he finished his schooling as a draftsman. Then for many years he taught at a secondary school working with wood and metal. He was an excellent teacher because working with wood and metal was his love.
Sandy loved riding a motor bike. In 2005, an excess of gravel on the brow of a hill caused him to crash off his motorbike. His injuries were extensive and led to years of treatment. One of the permanent results has been the loss of fine motor movement in his left hand; the result being he can no longer safely operate the mechanized tools which were so crucial to his creations.
However, his creative brain was unaffected. His search for new projects led him to the idea of creating miniature cars out of drink cans. In fact, he had been thinking of doing this since he was a boy. Now he had the time to bring this interest to life. After some practice, he perfected the skill of creating beautiful models made from drink cans appropriate to the model vehicle he created. These models were precise in their detail and beautiful to behold. They created a stir in the model-making world to the extent that enthusiasts from around the world wrote to Sandy and requested instructions on how to create CanCar (name given them by Sandy) cars. Sandy designed the CanCar and drew up the plan so he could make them. These were later scanned to allow him to email them to others who wanted to produce their own CanCars. He also included instructions and material lists as a Word document. He has dispatched these plans around the world via PDF. In the Word document, he also includes instructions and lists of materials. Plus, he responds to model makers’ queries via email.
His latest creation was the Land Rover. With this project, Sandy needed assistance. His ever- supportive wife, Joan, was pressed into service – no easy task with Sandy’s eye for detail.
There is much more that can be said about Sandy. However, for now these three pieces in The Informer must suffice. Thank you, Sandy Sanderson.
Caption: Sandy with his Kauri guitars.