When the nights get lonely, Barbour County resident Sid Jones goes into his basement and begins tinkering with his tools to ease his mind. When the sun comes up, he's usually sitting among a pile of "tin men" he created from scrap cans and leftover bolts. The hobby is starting to pay off, thanks to the growing popularity of his designs that include the West Virginia Mountaineers and the Pittsburgh Steelers, among others.
Jones' wife, Jeannie, passed away in May. To cope with the loss, Jones began assembling the tin men from scrap cans. He got the idea about a year ago after his grandson had purchased one of the tin men from someone else as a gift.
"I started making them to pass my time," Jones said. "It gets lonely out at the house. My wife passed way in May. At night, I just go down into the basement and sometimes I work all night until daylight. I made 14 on Monday."
The Inter-Mountain photo by Ben Simmons
Sid Jones spray-paints the bodies of his tin men before assembling the final product. He’s sold more than 200 in the past few months.
Standing about 2 feet tall, the tin men are spray-painted and adorned with any sports team the customer requests. Aside from professional and collegiate teams, Jones will also do local high school designs. From start to finish, Jones said the process takes about an hour to make each one. A female version is also available upon request.
"I sure sell a lot of them and I have a good time doing it," Jones said. "I've sold more than 200 already. People seem to go crazy over them."
Jones said he has sold his creations to people in Florida, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia. He sells them from his shop, Bulls Eye Sports, and at his daughter's salon, Classic Cuts.
As the production demand began to grow, Jones asked several local restaurants to collect tin cans for him. Diane's Restaurant, Wind-meal Pizza and Hometown Pizzeria in Belington and Bob Evans in Elkins have all agreed to save their cans for him. Aside from businesses, several other local residents are also giving their cans to him. Anyone else wishing to donate cans can drop them off at his shop.
"It's a great way to recycle. I'm turning what would be trash into a nice product that a lot of people seem to like," Jones said.
A variety of the tin men are available at Classic Cuts in Belington and at Bulls Eye Sports, near the Barbour County Fairgrounds. To order a custom-built tin man with your favorite sports team, call 304-823-3374 or 304-823-2887.