Building a Quick and Easy
			       PVC Didjeridu

			     With Denver Greer


   As I look through past postings in the Didjeridu Digest, I find a
   number of folks new to the fascinating world of the "grunt stick."
   Being new to the art myself, I can certainly relate to their burning
   desire for more knowledge. And of course I don't think you can find a
   better resource then Dreamtime. However, I do find a couple of common
   questions in the postings of most newcomers: How can I make one? Where
   can I get one? How can I learn to play one? And again I reference back
   to Dreamtime to answer these issues. All these questions are answered,
   to one degree on another, throughout the postings. (But to learn the
   "how to play" I, like Tom Bray, also strongly recommend Brian Pertl's
   instructional tape "Echoes From The Dreamtime.") However, to cut to
   the chase on the "how to make," I thought I would take a few minutes
   and post this article on the way I make a very quick and easy ABS

     * Material Needed

         1. A 3' to 5' length of 1.5" ABS
	 2. A can of white primer spray paint
	 3. A can of any type of wood stain and an old rag
	 4. Course sandpaper
	 5. A mouthpiece (ABS union/beeswax/injection molded, etc)

     * Equipment Needed

	 1. Bar-B-Que Pit and charcoal
	 2. Heavy-duty leather gloves
	 3. Baseball Bat or a funnel

     * How To Build It

         1. After selecting the length of 1.5" ABS to be used, take the
	    sheet of course sandpaper and rough-up the slick finish of
	    the ABS. Be sure to sand off the manufactures white painted
	    markings down the length of the pipe. Use long sanding
	    strokes along the axis of the pipe.
	 2. Build a fire in the Bar-B and cook supper (makes things go
	    better with spouse!) After the coals are covered with a white
	    ash (that is to say no more flames), and with the heavy-duty
	    leather gloves on, heat the end of the ABS. When it becomes
            soft, use the baseball bat or a funnel as a "bell-jig" and
	    flare the end of the pipe. (NOTE: A number of articles have
	    been posted in the Didjeridu Digest discussing a possible
	    health risk of ABS.)
         3. Continue heating the pipe in 10" to 12" segments and as it
	    softens you can push/pull/twist unusual angles in the pipe to
	    more simulate an actual tree branch. If the pipe gets too
	    hot,it may blemish. These wrinkles and bubbles only tend to
	    add to the authenticity of the finished product.
	 4. When cool, spray paint the entire pipe with a flat white
            primer. Be sure to also spray down into the "bell" end of the
	 5. When dry, and using an old rag, apply your selected wood
	    stain to the white finish. Be sure and wipe the stain along
	    the axis of the pipe. You will be amazed at how much the
	    dried stain will look real wood.
	 6. Apply the mouthpiece of choice.
	 7. Lastly, should you so desire, paint emblems or designs to
	    round-out the decor of your new Didj. On some of mine, I even
	    use jute-twine to make a mid-pipe handhold or to accent the

   And so you have it! Takes about 10 hours from hardware store to
   overtones. And it looks nice enough that my wife allows me to leave it
   leaning against the wall in the family room! If you have any comments
   or questions, please feel free to contact me, the
   middle-aged-fat-white-guy, at:


			     Building A Unique
			       ABS Didjeridu

			       With Tom Bray


   If you wish to build an instrument that is distinctive in appearance,
   sound and playability, then this is for you. The trick, involved here,
   is shaping the ABS. Altering the shape will give one an instrument of
   unique character but one that cannot be tuned, perhaps a solo
   instrument. ABS has gluing characteristics that are superior to PVC in
   this application. The goal is to taper a 5 ft. length of 3" ABS,
   create a snap-in mouth piece fixture and give it a texture and feel
   that will deny it's ABS heritage. It will appear sculpturally organic.
   One may create slight crooks or bends in addition to the taper. People
   who see my didjeridus, even those who play ABS, are genuinely
   surprised to discover that they are actually plastic.
     * Materials Needed

         1. 5 ft of 3" ABS.
         2. 1 ft or so of 1.5" ABS from which to cut shorter pieces.
         3. 1-1.5" ABS cap - Look for ABS caps that are slightly domed.
	 4. ABS glue - ABS glue is extremely volatile, read the cautions
	    and heed them.
         5. Six 3" automobile hose clamps.

     * Equipment Needed

	 1. A saber saw will make the cuts nicely.
	 2. A vice is very helpful for holding the ABS.
	 3. A socket driver is essential for easy and speedy hose clamp
	 4. An electric drill and rotary rasp.
	 5. Electrical sanding tools or various wood rasps.

     * How To Build It

       Mark out and using the saber saw, remove from the 3" ABS pipe a
       wedge or isosceles triangle that is 4ft long The length of the
       base of the triangle which is at the end of the ABS pipe should be
       the difference between the internal circumference of 3" pipe and
       the external circumference of the union. It is, indeed, a long
       skinny triangle that you will cut out. A carpenters chalk line
       makes the "mark-out" a simple matter. Actually make the wedge or
       triangle about 3'8" and continue from the apex a straight cut of
       4". Space the 3" hose clamps evenly over the length of the cut and
       tighten each a bit at a time until the edges of the cut are drawn
       together. Insert the 1.5" union into the small end. It should fit
       snugly. If it is loose, use the saw to remove enough material so
       that the end clamp will draw the pipe tightly around the 1.5"
       union. If the opening is too small loosen the end clamp until the
       1.5" union can be inserted, then tighten clamp and insert a thin
       piece of ABS in the gap. After tightening the clamps inspect the
       fit up. Generally there will be a few places where the fit-up is
       not very good, simply insert the saw blade into the gap and remove
       a blades width of material a few inches long from both ends of the
       gap area where both sides make contact. Then move the nearest
       clamp to the center of the gap area tighten to see if the edges
       can now be drawn together. If not, remove more material until a
       good fit-up occurs. Generally speaking, ABS glue will fill in a
       blades width gap. The glue will collapse a little bit and you will
       have apply more in order to build it up. Some glue will fall
       through to the interior of the pipe. If you want to remove this
       fall-through easily, put a bit of newspaper in the pipe and remove
       when finished. Wait approximately 30 minutes between applications
       when building up with this glue. I don't think you can do this
       with PVC.

       Now that you have a reasonable fit, loosen all the clamps and
       starting at the apex of the triangle, apply glue liberally to the
       inside edges. Actually, you will create a mess on the outside
       around the seam that you are trying to obliterate, don't worry
       about it. Glue and clamp about 12" at a time. Work quickly!! When
       you get to the end, swab glue on the inside of the tapered end and
       on the outside of the 1.5" union and insert all the way for a
       flush fit with the end making sure not to get any glue on the
       inside of the union. Clamp quickly and tightly. The glue will
       collapse where there were mini-gaps. wait 30 minutes and fill in
       until the surface is at the desired level. Now let this clamped
       up, abysmal excuse for a didjeridu dry for 48 hours.

       We can now make a mouthpiece. If you wish to use only a beeswax
       mouthpiece, you may lay the wax inside the union. I would like to
       recommend a 75% beeswax-25% paraffin(canning wax) mixture as this
       will provide more stability during hot weather. To make an ABS
       mouthpiece, you will need an electric drill and a rotary rasp. I
       use a lathe and a 1" drill bit to start the hole, but you can work
       your way through the center of the cap with the rotary rasp.
       Consider making the mouthpiece opening oval in shape as this will
       fit, more naturally, the contour of your mouth. This shaping is
       achieved more easily if you have the rotary rasp in a drill press.
       Next, remove the corners that are adjacent the long sides of the
       opening. This will provide room for your nose and chin. One can
       see why the domed cap is necessary. When removing corners to make
       room for nose and chin, you don't want break through the wall of
       the cap. Now it is time to sand the mouthpiece smooth. Use a short
       piece of 1.5" ABS to attach the mouthpiece to the 1.5" union that
       has been glue-welded into the didjeridu. If you want try a
       temporary beeswax mouthpiece, lay the wax into one end of a 1.5"
       union and attach the same way as the cap mouthpiece.

       Your didjeridu is now dry. Remove the clamps, which isn't easy but
       by loosening and wiggling them back and forth they will come away
       from the dry glue. Apply a mouthpiece and see how it sounds.

       Texturing and finishing is next. I use a "poly-fan" sanding wheel
       by Pferd on a high speed angle grinder to remove excess glue and
       give the entire surface a hewn look. You should be able to use any
       kind of electrical sander or even hand powered wood rasps to
       achieve a desired effect. The ABS glue leaves white marks and
       these can be covered with shoe polish or more surface glue can be
       added, left to dry and sanded to create a different effect.

       Your new didjeridu may have a larger bore than what you are used
       to and require more air volume to play. Give it time. It will have
       a higher pitch than an instrument with straight sides of similar
       length, but I think that all of the things that a good
       didjeriduist does besides the basic drone contrasts better with
       this basic drone thereby making the instrument more playable. An
       instrument this size has a large sound and emits vibrations that
       you can feel. Some things in your room may vibrate in sympathy.

       If you are wondering why I have a lathe, ect., well, I am a
       sculptor and building didjeridus is a natural extension of what I
       normally do. I have been building and playing didjeridus for about
       nine months and recently heard about and ordered Brian Pertl's
       instructional tape "Echoes From The Dreamtime". It is wonderful. I
       highly recommend it.

   If you have any questions, you can contact the author at

			    Methods for Moulding
			    Beeswax Mouthpieces


   Most players like to have a comfortable beeswax mouthpiece on their
   didj. In this section, I will describe two popular methods. Excuse the
   unpoetic licence that I took in naming them, but I think that this is
   at least clear. The one thing that you will obviously need for both of
   these methods is beeswax ! See the note on where to get beeswax.
    1. The Melt and Dip Method

       This method requires the use of a double boiler. Those of you who
       cook will know the concept (Mmmmm chocolate !). The idea is to use
       two containers. One larger one, in which you will boil water, and
       a smaller one (which you don't mind ruining) which will contain
       the wax. A good idea for the small container is a cleaned out
       catfood can.
       Place a block of beeswax in the catfood can, and float/place this
       into the saucepan of boiling water. If all goes well, you'll end
       up with a catfood can filled with molted wax. You don't want to
       put the wax on direct high heat because it tends to blacken and
       Once you have a can full of molten wax, you dip and remove the
       didj from the wax, each time building up the wax mouthpiece. I
       have heard that some people turn the didj slowly as they remove
       it, helping the building process.
       Another thing that I have seen is a deep initial dipping (a few
       centimeters) which helps to seal the inside of the mouth end of
       the didj which gets the most amount of moisture. This is supposed
       to help prevent cracking due to expansion and contraction
       resulting from repeated wetting and drying inherent in didj

    2. The Softened Wax Moulding Method

       Similar to the way in which the melt-and-dip method returns you to
       the kitchen, this method will return you to your childhood (or
       ceramics class).
       Cut strips of beeswax from your wax block. These strips should be
       around half a centimeter in thickness. Warm these strips by
       rubbing them in your hands, in hot water, using a hairdrier, near
       a lamp etc. Once the wax is soft and easily workable, roll the wax
       in your hands to make a snake (childhood returns). Make sure the
       snake is the same thickness all along. Keep rolling the snake
       until the length is the same as the circumference of the pipe to
       which you will add it. Join the ends to make a circle, and then
       work this wax ring on to the didj mouthpiece. As the wax is soft
       and malleable, it should be easy to make a comfortable fit. As the
       wax cools, it will of course harden.

			    Other Techniques for

			     Making Mouthpieces


   Dentist Moulding Medium

   Guy Brown has this to say:
   "A mouthpiece building technique I was told about, but have not tried,
   is to use dentist's moulding medium (they use this for taking
   impressions of teeth). Evidently this is expensive, but can be moulded
   to fit the shape of your mouth and then sets very hard and is very
   durable. I understand that Graham Wiggins (alias Dr. Didg) uses this

   Injection molded mouthpieces for 1.5 inch ABS pipe

   Scott Baker (
   had a die made for injection molding ABS plastic mouthpieces which fit
   1.5 inch ABS pipe. Anyone interested in purchasing these parts can
   contact him.

   Screw fittings for PVC didj's

   Gary Fenstermacher ( comments:
   "What I found to be simple and easy to make was to just use a screw
   fitting for my PVC didj. Just bring the end down to 1.5", then get the
   piece that goes from 1.5" to 1.25" with a thredded end. That 1.25"
   works just fine for me. No work involved, its cheap, and available
   right there with the PVC. I suppose using beeswax or whatever will be
   better in the long run, but if you're just starting this is just as

                          Didjeridu's With No Wax
			     On The Mouthpiece


   Some players prefer to have no wax at all on their wooden didj
   mouthpieces. They play the didj "raw," that is with no beeswax added -
   just lips on wood.

   Of course it's not always possible to have a didj with a perfectly
   sized mouthpiece opening, since this is determined by the tree ! If
   the opening is too large, then there's no choice but to add wax. In
   the case when the opening is just right (or slightly smaller), a
   little bit of smoothing work with a rasp is all that is needed to make
   a comfortable mouthpiece.

   David Hudson uses this method. Most of his didj'es are "raw". Since he
   makes his own didj's, he can pick and choose what wood he'll take,
   thus avoiding the size problem. He then shapes the mouthpiece with a
   rasp so that it fits his mouth perfectly. This way he ensures a
   perfect fit.

   There's a really good reason why David prefers this method. He
   explains how when you have a wax mouthpiece and a friend wants to play
   your didj, the first thing that happens is that the mouthpiece gets
   modified to suit your friend. Once the friend is finished playing and
   returns the didj, you find that your perfect mouthpiece no longer
   fits! The Solution ? Make a mouthpiece that you can't modify.

   This may sound a bit extreme, since beeswax is pretty hard. Remember
   though that the Aborigine players use the wonderful, intoxicatingly
   fragrant wax produced by the Australian "sugarback," a small stingless
   bee, for their mouthpieces. This wax is almost black in colour, and is
   much more malleable than regular beeswax at room temperature. The
   reason why we don't see much of this stuff around is that it is very
   hard to obtain, and is thus used very sparingly.

			      Making Your Own

			     By Dennis Havlena


   Hi from the Straits of Mackinac in northern Michigan.

   A while ago there was a topic being thrown about on a usenet music
   group concerning "whirligigs" -- sort of a cousin to the bullroarer
   utilizing a rubber-band affixed to a light crucifix-shaped (*) frame
   at the end of which is a handle. The thing sounds by either whirling
   it while grasping the handle or by waving it vigorously up & down in
   any number of ryhthmic patterns. (*) In my case.

   I did a considerable amount of experimentation with them and am here
   to describe the simple construction of what I judge to be the best.

   When played in conjunction with a didgeridu (tuned to the whirligig --
   I use a trombone-style d'du) the overall effect can be quite powerful.

   Here's the plan :

		o  !!o	 !  !
	    o	   !!o					  !  !
		o  !!o					  !  !
		    o					  !  !
     * I used 1/2" x 1/2" cedar wood but about anything will work
       (although the lighter the better for "non-rotating", arm-swinging
       type playing)
     * I notch both wooden pieces to attach the crossarm, but anything
       will work
     * Affix handle to "boom" with loose screw to allow for free rotation
     * Use "office-type", 1/4" wide rubber-band
     * The route of the rubber-band forms a triangle but only two sides
       of this triangle vibrate (the band along the third side lays right
       against the wood)
     * I used a piece of dowel-rod for the handle, but nearly anything
       will do
     * By adjusting one half of the band tighter than the other, you can
       tune the beast to a 2-note chord. My favorite is a do-sol (1-5)
       ratio. I should note here that for some reason the plucked note
       pitches are not quite the same as the "whirled" or swung pitches
       (!) so the fine-tuning must be done so that the thing is in tune
       while in motion.

   Two of these things can be used "arm-swinging/pendulum" style (the
   four notes tuned to a chord) to create some pretty wierdly attractive

   Dennis Havlena - W8UR

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