(I found this old post on my computer of the Ugly Duckling/Beautiful Swan CBG Challenge from the old Yahoo CBG group (2008). I thought you'd enjoy it. BTW, I won the Challenge)
Crocker Ugly Duckling/Beautiful Swan (final)
Well folks, I needed the creative kick in the butt this challenge gave me. My understanding from the beginning was we were challenged to start with the Ugliest Duckling cigar box or most beat up or most annoying box, the one you'd never consider for an instrument, and turn it into a Beautiful Swan.
Here's what I started with. Incomplete, broken pieces from two similar 1886 boxes. No tops and an extra back and two sides that weren't the same size. I got them from Wichita Sam who passed them over for his build.
PERFECT for the Ugly Duckling/Beautiful Swan Challenge!!!!!
Here's the Ugly Duckling:
And here's the Beautiful Swan:
There's all kinds of cool detail goodness. Dang, I think I turned this 1886 into a 9881! I made a brass top. Cut from a door kick guard. I milled the maple neck from parts of some kind of frame my friend found in the trash. I used a lot of the extra box wood to make some of the parts (the wood was so old, dry and brittle that I put the parts in the bathroom with a hot shower running for hours. I still had to reinforce some of the pieces with a coat of CA glue or the screws would crush it. This was a challenge...
I used some of the original wood to make decorative corners and pieces for the screw points for the top. I also made one of my signature 'bridge over the bridge' which proudly displays 9881 and retains the tongue joint from the extra side (every joint was reglued)! For the critical parts like bridge and string retainer I used East Indian Rosewood. Same for the knobs, but I also drilled a 1/8" hole and used an eighth inch brass dowel for a dot.
I braced the inside, made a base for the neck that's the full depth, made a 4 string Stonehenge with volume and tone and used some conductive paint to shield the circuit a little.
(see, she's a 9881!!!!!)
I drilled a small hole in the top to run a wire under the brass saddle to ground the strings. The 2 holes are where the bridge over the bridge mount.
I used a spare piece as a headstock laminate. I also used another small piece as a string tree.
Of course, Taxi donated a feather for mojo...
The back of the neck has some cool grain going on. Sadly, there is a small hole that meant only one side could be up. A lot of y'all will be proud of me that I didn't go crazy on the neck. I just couldn't find the time, and I basically just smoothed the edges instead of an all out shaping. WOW, I'm loving the square feel...
I have drawers full of store bought parts and pulled out some gold strap pins. Something told me they would have been rejected by the Swan so I made my own. I used a brass decorative washer, a regular washer, a screw and a silver bushing from Sears Hardware. I used a gold metallic marker to turn the silver gold (same as the jack nut/washer). Strap pins are cheap, but the Swan called for something elegant...
She is gorgeous and has a comfortable aura. Believe it or not I haven't played her for more than 10 minutes total - I wanted to get my entry in on time but in a few minutes I get to go wild! She sounds great through the tube amp and I'll put her through her paces in a few minutes through the MicroCube. She has a Stonehenge...
Playing is the icing on the cake.
One more parting shot of the Beautiful Swan
And in case you were wondering after seeing the carpet tacks on the bottom, YES, she does stand up by herself...
This was a lot of fun to create and some much needed creative therapy. THANKS!!
Big Daddy and Sam, if I'm not mistaken, we're in the early hours of the first of the month - what's the challenge for October??