North Bay News

Man builds SF out of 1 million toothpicks

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Of all the billions of toothpicks ever made, Scott Weaver's are the lucky ones. They have found their way, not between teeth, but into the fingers of Weaver, who makes them part of bigger things.

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One million of his toothpicks became a rendition of San Francisco. It took 34 years to build.

How did it start?

"As a hobby, fourth grade, Mrs. Sue Rathburn had us build a little sculpture, and I took it home and said, 'I'm going to build the biggest in the class,'" Weaver said.

One cannot really appreciate how big the San Francisco sculpture is until you stand next to it. Seven feet wide, nine feet high, and it has entrances for ping pong balls. Put them in, they go all the way to the bottom.

Weaver's version of San Francisco has its own scenic drive; 50 feet of ping pong trails wind down Lombard Street, across the Golden Gate Bridge, and pass through many other attractions, in between.

It is folk art, pure and simple. No wonder that when Ripley's Museum offered $40,000 for the piece, Weaver turned them down.

"The lesson is, 'What can we do with our time?' I love to create, and to show what can be done in life if you create and use your imagination," Weaver said.

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