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My building technique:

In this section I will try to give you an idea of what goes into the building of my synthetic didgeridoos. It is a very unique process and is labor intensive. It is a bit different than most building techniques. I basically build from the inside out starting from nothing. I guess thatís one of the biggest difference. In almost any other type of building be it pvc, branch, log, or tube you have a starting point. I have to first create that starting point from flat material. I start with flat, powdered and liquid materials and create a didgeridoo from scratch.

A brief description: Much planning and thought goes it a design long before I start to build. Remember, the skies the limit by not having a starting shape to work with. Diameters, bell size, characteristics, volume, sound, weight, overtones, harmonics, playing speed, type of playing. The list can go on and on and every thing must be considered if the project is going to be a success.

First I will layout and prepare the aluminum sheet. I will clean and de-grease and rough up the metal than measure and mark for the cuts. Most didges require 3 to 4 individual pieces to create the correct tapers and shapes. After the pieces are cut, I bend them to form tubes. I use a jig that basically holds the metal so I can put a series of long scores so I can curl the metal. Then I will tape these pieces together to for the starting shape. The tape is applied to all seams to form and air tight seal. I can then put one of many different "testing mouth pieces" on and check the pitch with a tuner. There are many steps that will effect the final tone but what is important here is to be in the ball park. Drastic alterations should happen here. Adding or subtracting material. Primer is spayed down the bore. Next is a series of epoxy runs down the inside. First run to seal all seams. Second to fully cover all interior surfaces. More runs if needed or even to alter the pitch. Between the first and second pour I will mold the epoxy putty mouthpiece on it so it will be completely sealed from the inside to prevent any air leaks. A trim of excess epoxy on the bell and the tedious task of removing all the tape. After the inside has cured, I will check the tone again. Some alteration can occur here but usually just a check to make sure I am still on track. What I am left with is basically the bore. It is an all aluminum didge at this point, and actually looks pretty cool. It will play fairly well at this point and more tuning adjustments can be made here. The outside is roughed up and primered in preperation of the gypsum based shell. I can only work with small amounts of the putty at a time because of the quick drying time. I will apply between 4 and 6 pounds of the stuff. Two layers are needed to get the proper thickness. The stick is very unstable at this point. Cracks are common and sections need to be replaced and repaired before the next step. As soon as possible, sanding, a coat of primer and a layer of fiberglass cloth with epoxy is applied. Sanding and shaping of the bell and mouthpiece area is next. Another check on the tuner before the paint job. At this point the didgeridoo is basically done. It is not the prettiest thing,puyytdidge.JPG but, it will play very well here. I can now pretty much final tune it. For the most part at this point that really requires adjustments with the mouthpiece. Another light sanding and primer and it is ready for the paint job. This could be an article in itself. This can be few hour process. Besides playing, the artwork is my favorite part. I really enjoy custom artwork. I use distinctive colors unless something else is requested. My current trend is combining my seascape painting and didge making. It is a little more time consuming but makes for a striking stick. I donít think anyone would, could, or should mistake my artwork for Aboriginal artwork.

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A finish coat of epoxy and a quick wave of the propane torch and the didge is almost finished. Once the epoxy has cured I will evaluate the finish. If another coat is needed a buff with steel wool and another coat is applied and repeated until I am satisfied. Once I am happy with the finish I will let it fully cure, and then it is ready to play. That is the best part! If you have any questions about this type of building please donít hesitate to contact me or come by and play a couple of them. Bill