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Copyright- Heartland Didgeridoos
Thank you for respecting   our copyright. A lot of  good energy has gone into compiling the information you will find in our site.   All information, including text, photos etc is under copyright by Heartland Didgeridoos. We hope you enjoy and share with others. So personal use is permitted,  and passing on information to a third party must include copyright noted and the source being Heartland Didgeridoos. No information on this site may be used for commercial purposes without the prior written permission of Heartland Didgeridoos.
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Enter below what you like to learn about  and we'll  answer your questions  with how to  do it and photos to support.

Answers to the following questions  are found by clicking on the question. 

Table of Contents

Making or Improving your didg

Repairing your didg

 

1) Working on the inside of the didg to improve the sound

2) Fitting   a Mouthpiece

3) How can you make a didg from a solid or near solid  piece of wood?


4)

5)

 

 

1) How to approach repairing  a  crack.

2)   A binding at the top of a didg to repair a crack, or strengthen the top

3)

4)

5)

Enter here what you like to learn about and we'll  answer your questions on this page.  Answers are generally on this page within a  week.

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How to approach  repairing  a crack.

Firstly cracking is a part of woods  natural tendency to expand and contract. All wood does it, some   handle it, some dont. And those that are  sensitive to it  can often be repaired in such a way to   maintain and protect from further problems. 

Theres  also precautions that can be taken in the  care of ones didg to minimise problems. If your  wanting to avoid problems and you've just purchased your new didg from overseas, the following guidelines will help. Firstly in the first days, weeks, and month  keep your didg wrapped or in a bag when not in use. Minimise climatic  fluctuations . Dont leave in a  hot car or in the sun  or outside over night. Also a moist atmosphere is better than dry whether cold or hot.

Now if your new didg has cracked or is cracking  , heres why and  what to do about it. Didgs that crack without settling; in otherwords where the crack  keeps moving leading  to a fairly terminal condition, do so beacuse either they were  not cured before making, or they were innately a  bad choice as a didg. Only a keen didg maker  either knows the difference or discriminates and tosses crack sensitive ones  on the firewood pile.  Not  good news if thats whats happening  with your didg. But dont despair  very often it can be a settling process , so   it   may stop and with appropriate action be a  stable didg for the long   term.

Heres  how to deal with it .

Repairing outside. Wood glue and very fine sawdust mixed together is the best as it expands and contracts. So fill crack and then sand back once  fully dried. Two part glue can also be used .Then   give the didg a  number of  coats of varnish. If the didg is cracked at the  mouthpiece end,  then another approach is  stringing the top of didg with fine string wound round and round on top of wood glue, tightly together to form binding over  cracked area. Refer - how to do a   binding?
Next, is the inside of your didg sealed? If not AFTER repairing outside you can seal the inside with oil , varnish or  boiling hot liquid beeswax - boil past boiling till its smoking.- This penetrates wood and  is perhaps the best seal. Do so from bottom towards top of didg to leave a clear finish at bottom. Wrap  and tape didg in  something to protect from spillage. Wear gloves to protect hands, and spin didg as you do so to cover full inside surface.  Sitting  didg in a  sive that sits in top of a pot protects didg from being dipped in pot.This is  a real art so  do so only if you feel confident. A number of coats of varnish thinned with some turps   poured down the didg will also do a  top job.


One other approach to a cracking didg is to  paint the didg in wood glue and sprinkle sawdust over; then once dried, repeat this process a couple of times until you have formed a skin over the didg. This can then be painted over or varnished.

For future reference when buying another  didg, make sure the person your buying   from has a  strict curing and selection process as to ensuring didgs aren't crackers. An experienced fussy maker will be 95-99% accurate in predicting a didgs   wood integrity or otherwise.Wood and climatic  effects can never be totally predicted but knowing that diffferent woods and grain patterns deal with these   effects differently enables you to be  forwarned when asking for what you want ina didg. The ultimate wood grain is a wavy pattern grain or fiddleback as  some call it or  certain tree types and the ultimate are didgs that are selected as dead wood   rather than cut green.
  Hope this helps . , Tynon
Click here if you'd like to read
Munga's  views on dead wood and green wood didgs .

  2000 Heartland Didgeridoos

Some photos coming soon  
   
   
   
   
   
   
   

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A binding at the top of a didg to repair a crack, or strengthen the top

 
MATERIALS - To fix a cracked didg at mouthpiece end with a binding you'll need, some 2 part araldite type glue, some White wood glue, a ball of string or natural twine,  scissors, a paintbrush and  timewise two sessions of 15- 30 minutes.
The ball of natural twine/string
can be fine or thicker depending upon desired look- It can also be painted once the binding is complete
before being varnished if  a colour is desired.

rep1.JPG (13545 bytes)
PREPARATION - With sandpaper, sand near mouthpiece  to make sure any traces of wax on the didg are removed as to where your going to glue string.
Mix up some two part araldite glue and fill any  cracks. Leave  till dried then gently sand back excess. A quick final sand over the area to be  binded will now leave you ready to begin.Next step is to experiment with the first knot  of string before painting the first strip of glue  so you've got this  worked out..Tie the   string around didg with a simple  right over
left  and under hitch ( same as with shoelaces). Sit the tie at the back( as the didg sits when playing) and  do the right over  left or left over  right in such a way that  the cut end heads up and  can be cut of later, and the trailing   ball is heading down the didg.
rep2.JPG (10062 bytes)

BEGINNING BINDING
-  Then with a brush  paint on 1-3 mm of glue around top of didg working from very top down 2-3 cm.   Then  tie string tight   as mentioned above and do so close to the top ( say 3-5 mm from actual end of the wood and the start of waxed mouthpiece.)
rep3.JPG (10580 bytes)
Then slowly wind string around didg keeping tension on the string to keep tight and ensuring that the string goes right up against the previous
circumfirence of string; until you've nearly got to the end of the 2-3 cm of glued area.
rep4.JPG (8699 bytes)
Then continue by glueing another 2-3 cm and continue on. Try to do  so whilst keeping tension on string at all times. rep5.JPG (8958 bytes)
When you come to the end do as before   by adding a hitch. You'll first need to cut string  ensuring you leave yourself enough and again aiming to get tie at back of didg. PVA glue dries fairly quick. Once dried    you can cut of excess and you can add extra PVA glue as a paint to top and bottom as added protection or  the
whole binding if desired.
rep6.JPG (10366 bytes)
This photo shows the binding with the wet wood glue still drying . It also shows the string knot end that will be cut of oncve glue is dried. rep7.JPG (5351 bytes)
Once fully dried- after 24 hours , then either paint as desired and then give final seal with varnish or varnish over string as is . This gives final water proofing and added binding strength.  ( I suggest a satin or flat finish) and giving it 2- 3 coats  with drying time in between as needed. Further photos will   be added as to how this didg was completed.

2000 Heartland Didgeridoos

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Working on the inside of the didg to improve the sound

Coming soon

   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   

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Fitting   a Mouthpiece

First step is preparing  the  didg mouthpiece opening. Being that most folk like a 25-35mm diameter  mouthpiece opening  ,with 28-30 mm being the most popular; then preparing the  hole itself to be 8-20mm larger than the desired end result  is the first step. Once the wax is then fitted it will be perfect.

mp1.JPG (4726 bytes)

You'll need some  wax ,beeswax is  the best. Candle wax   and other  waxs  for different reasons are sub standard. Theres three ways to prepare the wax itself. Heat it in an old pot until liquid is one way, or if you have just the right amount for a mouthpiece heat in the sun or by  a fire  until plyable. If  doing in a pot  and  its now liquid , you then need to wait   until it cools. Theres  an optimal time when  you can use a knife and    knife some out  like peanut butter. Its hot and may still be sticky.   Just  mold it , squeeze it  and  especially any lumps  until eventually the  hot stickyness is gone  and it becomes like plastiscene. Then roll it like a sausage as in the photo.

mp2.JPG (5205 bytes)

If you think the sausage is too big  break a bit off and work with what you think will be the right amount.Then turn the sausage into a donut and size it up. The   push onto top of didg.

mp3.JPG (7564 bytes)

I suggest working  into the inside  working around the circle whilst slowly getting the right approx size of the opening itself.  As you work it inside  ,do so  in a tapered fashion so theres a smoooth transition from opening down to the wood over  a reasonable distance. This  all helps the sound transference. Squeeze it against the wood  firmly so you've worked the wax into any cavities.

mp4.JPG (5159 bytes)

All the time your working on the mouthpiece your running against time, the time it takes for it  to set hard. So move swiftly onto the outside shape. Theres two ways to  approach this, either  keeping to the outside  edge of the wood and pushing the wax upwards whilst holding the inner shape, then cutting of the excess as in the photo. The other way is  whilst holding the inner shape,  instead of pushing upwards, you  push downwards focusing on the top of the mouthpiece shape , whilst any excess splurges out from the wood  edge at the base of the mouthpiece. Then with the knife  you can again cut this of   around the edge of the wood.

mp5.JPG (4549 bytes)

The absolute preferred way is,  you've got just the right   amount of wax and  just by working  upwards, downwards, around and inside   theres no need to cut any excess. With the two didgs on the right , the brown one   I cut   off  excess at the top and the  white bare didg  I cut  excess of at the base. In the fourth top photo you can see  with this   mouthpiece as  it takes shape that the excess is  coming out wide and the   approx  shape is forming as to the top. So as you go  it will unfold.   If you use a knife at any point , then quickly go around  and squeeze wax   ,otherwise it leaves  wax in a rough unworkable condition( as per photo on right)

mp6.JPG (4638 bytes)

After quickly cutting off the  excess and  reworking,  I then sometimes  wait abit and  then as it sets  even further ,  I then give it  a  squeeze here and there to finetune and smooth it right out. I am now   left with a mouthpiece ready to roll.  The ideal shape I find   has an edge like  quality whilst being rolled  to enable lip movement. As it rolls inward the wax then retreats further inward towards the wood.  If  your first go hasn't been successfull you can either rip it of and start again, or  stand in the sun and  warm until playable or  dip in liquid wax to give  smooth coating. All in all its   a process of experimenting. I've  done about  a thousand  mouthpieces and I still find  them a valuable  patience test. So dont stress if  its testing. Enjoy the smell and the feel ,  and happy didgin once you've got it   complete, 
Tynon

mp7.JPG (2969 bytes)

2000 Heartland Didgeridoos

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3) How can you make a didg from a solid or near solid piece of wood ?

Of course cutting a log  down the centre , then hollowing and reglueing is one way,but yes its time consuming and  perhaps not ideal. Finding a log   partly hollowed  can be helpfull. Anywhere in the world I imagine its possible to find a tree hollowed out by water,via  a branch hole. I have a friend  in the states who has made  maple and hickory didgs from finding partly hollowed   branchs or saplings. Then  applying our sealing techniques explained on this page  to  change the soft inner wall into a  harder smoother wall and   then the  sound  travels and you have a didg that plays well.

To hollow a  partly hollowed branch, I use  a 1 metre long rod with a spade bit  welded onto the end. High tensile steel and  thin( about 8mm)  for  some flexibility. At least two different sizes is helpfull, from 25mm,32 mm,to  38mm. With the  drill  bit on the  end of a drill   your didg has to be well clamped as  it can  often grab so strong wrists and patience is helpfull. There is an art that can be only learnt by doing it.

I understand  diamond tip  spade bits are now available if you've got the dollars to invest. This will save a lot of  time.

2000 Heartland Didgeridoos

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Copyright- Heartland Didgeridoos
Thank you for respecting   our copyright. A lot of  good energy has gone into compiling the information you will find in our site.   All information, including text, photos etc is under copyright by Heartland Didgeridoos. We hope you enjoy and share with others. So personal use is permitted,  and passing on information to a third party must include copyright noted and the source being Heartland Didgeridoos. No information on this site may be used for commercial purposes without the prior written permission of Heartland Didgeridoos.
...............................................................................................

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