I found this old Alberta Springs “Oldtime Canadian Sipping Whiskey” box at a thrift store. It was well worn: a bit rough around the edges. I also had in my possession a fine old bottle opener with the stamped lettering of “T.S.F.M. Caswell’s Saskatoon” which seems to be a clothing retailer (possibly defunct) in that fine city. They were a perfect fit. A bit foothills, a bit prairie, a bit provincial, but all business.
I originally made this one a 2-string thing, but added an extra string and it made a hufge difference in sound and playability. It’s fretted up like a dulcimer. It has a little bit of purpleheart wood for a bridge and an old square nail from my turn-on-the-century house for a nut. The neck is oak, rife with tool marks and treated with my home-brewed oxidized iron dip, finished with a couple of coats of oil.
This is a great conversation piece, and when the conversation goes flat you can play some old-timey mountain tunes on this prairie-born instrument.