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 Post subject: How to make one out of Bamboo?
PostPosted: 26.06.2010, 14:42 
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Joined: 18.11.2009, 12:40
Posts: 33
Yo everyone. I found four "logs" of Bamboo that someone had put along the curb for trash pickup. They are all about 2,5 metres long (7 to 8 feet). Width on two of them is appropriate size for a didj (5 to 6 cm), roughly 2-1/2 inches - while - the other two are a bit smaller than I'd like for a didj to be. I'd love to try making an instrument out of the two larger specimens. I assume there are two ways to hollow out the nodes - either drilling through each one, or maybe(?) pushing a red hot poker through. As most people know, the only barrier to Bamboo being hollow are the "nodes", each being about 25 centimetres apart on my logs. Any advice from experienced persons on here?

The second problem is that I am concerned about wall thickness - bamboo looks really thin walled - mine resemble those cardboard rolls you get inside a roll of paper towels or toilet paper!! My idea is to insert the skinnier pieces of bamboo inside the large ones. If they are just the right size, they'll form a snug fit and will create a double wall. What does everyone think? Has anyone ever played a bamboo didj - authentic Aboriginal-made, or otherwise?? When I get finished, I will post some pics for all to see. Thank you all.


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 Post subject: Re: How to make one out of Bamboo?
PostPosted: 27.06.2010, 19:29 
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Joined: 17.08.2008, 09:42
Posts: 100
Location: California
Hey Apprentice,

I don't believe you'll be able to get the results you're looking for. With the variability of the interior and exterior surfaces of the bamboo, there's no way your double-walls are going to be a "snug fit." You're either going to have gaps, or are going to split the outer tube when you force the smaller tube into it.

As for burning vs. drilling, you'll have a lot more control with a drill. Trying to burn through those nodes, you may end up charring and weakening the thin walls of the bamboo even more. If the walls are as thin as you say, even drilling may torque the tube and start the cracking process. Always apply support right at the node you're currently drilling. Make sure you use a perfectly sharp drill. Don't go too fast or apply excess pressure. You'll need to add bit extensions to reach the distance you require.

All in all, it doesn't sound like the right material to invest what looks to be a significant amount of time. But if you do try it, yes, please do post the outcome.

Good luck.

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 Post subject: Re: How to make one out of Bamboo?
PostPosted: 27.06.2010, 20:06 
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Joined: 18.11.2009, 12:40
Posts: 33
Thankz for the reply DS. I'ts thought that the very first didjeridus were made out of bamboo (seen on rock paintings), and there are still a few bamboo didjeridu being made and sold - as well as vintage ones from specialist sellers. No reason why these pieces here should'nt work in a similar manner. I'm used to working with hardwoods (very hard, heavy woods like Maples) when I build my own didjes. So, yes, this bamboo looks a bit frail to my eyes, but if it has worked for the Aboriginal, no reason it should'nt work here. The burning method I suggested would involve a red-hot poker about the same diameter as a pencil. This would leave plenty of clearance on either side - thus sparing the walls of any damage caused by contact with the poker. To help protect the bamboo, I applied an overall coat of water-thinned wood glue to the outer walls. This is a technique the Gurruwiwi family came to use over time because it was found to reduce crackage. Only the results of my experiment can tell! It shouldn't take much time at all - and that is why I decided to give it a go! Bamboo is neat stuff - it's practically a didj as it is. I just need to poke holes in 2 or 3 nodes to take it all the way. By cutting it just above the node, I can use the node as a sort of built-in mouthpiece. Watch for pics very soon :drunken:


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 Post subject: Re: How to make one out of Bamboo?
PostPosted: 27.06.2010, 21:37 
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Joined: 18.03.2006, 13:53
Posts: 925
Location: Bantry, Ireland
You should be able to knock out the membranes pretty easily with a metal rod. When I first started playing didge, I did a course where everyone made their own out of bamboo and no-one had problems doing this. However, if the bamboo is really as thin-walled as you describe, it could be dangerous.
Frankly, I'd save your time if you're expecting to get an instrument that sounds anything like a hardwood instrument. It's true that there is evidence that bamboo has been used by Aborigines in the past, but that doesn't mean that given the experience and the choice, they wouldn't have opted for eucalyptus. I don't know of any serious crafstman who makes bamboo instruments these days.
Bamboo instruments are also very prone to severe cracking. Painting the outside with wood glue will not prevent cracks caused by saliva soaking into the relatively porous inside of the bamboo. Yolngu paint the outside of instruments to stop partially dried eucalyptus cracking on the outside after the bark is stripped off, especially important if you want to paint them...

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 Post subject: Re: How to make one out of Bamboo?
PostPosted: 28.06.2010, 10:41 
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Joined: 20.03.2006, 10:41
Posts: 1503
Location: UK
Knock the nodes through with a metal rod as John suggests. Even better if you use a piece of threaded rebar as you can then sand away the remains of the nodes with the threaded bit.

I've played a few stellar bamboo instruments, but they were the exception as opposed to the norm. Guan has his 'blue bamboo' stick which is incredible in its proportions with a truly conical bore and large pronounced flare.

Let us know how these sticks turn out and post some pics/clips when you're done.

Kyle


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 Post subject: Re: How to make one out of Bamboo?
PostPosted: 28.06.2010, 11:06 
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Joined: 24.02.2007, 00:24
Posts: 189
Location: France
Bamboos generally produce a soft and surrounding sound as the vibration comes not only out though the bell, but also through the bore as the wood is very porous.
Nothing to do with a trad'stick or any usual wooden didj of course... but still it has its charm !
Not very good to play outdoors, but indoors it can sound deep and good, plus will provide you a gentle skull-massage that is rather enjoyable !
(bonus : if you look at a cathodic screen while playing, the image might pop up from the screen and wave in front of it like a flag... and without even taking illegal stuff :-) only a matter of dis-synchronised frequencies !)

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 Post subject: Re: How to make one out of Bamboo?
PostPosted: 28.06.2010, 13:30 
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Joined: 18.11.2009, 12:40
Posts: 33
Thankz 4 replies people! John - I'd say you are absolutely correct, bamboo instruments are inferior in more than one way. My reason for wanting to make one, aside from the fact that my raw bamboo was free, is that I want to experience the mago/yidaki in all it's variations. I've never played bamboo, or pandanus, or the Groote Eylandt Hibiscus, or the ultra-long yiki-yiki of FNQ. I do have the opportunity to buy an authentic, vintage bamboo mago, but given the high prices these days, especially for decades old sticks, I'd like to experiment with a homemade one first. I may not like it, so who knows. Whatever the outcome, we all know it will be FUN :bounce: . That's why we're all obsessed with the didj!


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 Post subject: Re: How to make one out of Bamboo?
PostPosted: 28.06.2010, 20:32 
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Joined: 18.03.2006, 13:53
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Location: Bantry, Ireland
Quote:
Even better if you use a piece of threaded rebar


Thanks for the memory jog Kyle. Just remembered that after the course, I sanded the nodes by fixing rough sandpaper round the end of a length of thick dowel - and when I made 2 more with my sons, discovered that in fact, thick 1" (25mm) hardwood dowel will knock out the nodes pretty easily too if you don't have a metal rod handy.

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