This Man Upcycled a Wood Crutch into a Six-String Musical Instrument

We all have our crutches to get us through the pandemic—this one doubles as a guitar!

This past year has certainly been challenging for all of us. Lockdowns and social distancing due to COVID-19 have been difficult. I’ve managed to endure these difficulties with music and tinkering in my workshop.

One morning as I was driving around looking for treasures that others had cast aside, I found an old wooden crutch, ironically in the same neighbourhood where I’d lived 60 years ago. As a musician and a folk artist crafting homemade canjos—my story, “For the Love of Music,” appeared in the April-May 2020 issue of Our Canada—I immediately saw the possibilities of what this old crutch could be transformed into. I eagerly went to work and turned the crutch into a six-string slide guitar.

Crutch upcycled as musical instrumentPhoto: Noel Marentette

I used some old guitar parts I had lying around, anchored the strings by modifying an old cheese grater and attached a small electric pickup. Since there is no fretboard, the “crutch-jo” is played with a slide. My choice is an old glass medicine bottle—works like a charm.

This project has been so rewarding to complete.

In a time when we all need something to lean on, what better than a crutch that can play a tune. A friend of mine once told me he always leans on music during tough times—with a crutch-jo, you literally can!

Noel can be reached at noelmarentette [at]

Inspired to find new uses for old items? Check out 50 more clever upcycling projects anyone can try!

Originally Published in Our Canada