Sandback did not try to ground his art in history or theory alone, but followed a very personal approach. Growing up, he had an uncanny fascination with things that were strung. According to his own accounts he liked to watch his uncle Fred, an antiques dealer, cane chairs, and he remembered being captivated as a child by a museum exhibition on how to make snowshoes. As a camp counselor in New Hampshire, he loved archery and began making his own bows. He also seems to have been interested in straight lines; as a freshman in college, he carved a tall, narrow cat out of wood, prefiguring a lifelong interest in linear forms.