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 Post subject: Water your Didj ?
PostPosted: 29.07.2008, 12:07 
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Joined: 24.02.2007, 00:24
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Location: France
Hi there...

Aborigines often (always?) spill water inside their didj, or even drown them totally in water tanks before playing.
That's good for Yidakis ... But what about non-trad sticks ?

> Is this process only useful with raw-wood didjes ?

> Is it useful with oiled didjes ? And what about varnished didjes ?

> If the didj is varnished on the outside and raw inside... may this crack the varnish coat ?

> Does the very first didj humidification on raw (or oiled) wood implicates a regular water-treatment for the whole didj's life ? At what approximate frequency ?

> Is sea (salt) water to avoid ? Is it even, or better than drinkable water ?

Thanks for your advices

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 Post subject: Re: Water your Didj ?
PostPosted: 29.07.2008, 12:14 
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Joined: 20.03.2006, 10:41
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The timbre of the instrument is affected when water is sluiced through the bore. In Arnhem Land this is done before playing to 'ready' the instrument for use and get it 'warmed up'. This may be fine in a hot and humid environment but I would not suggest partaking of this practice outside of such areas as it leads to often fatal cracking.

Far better to oil your instrument which produces a similar effect if you want to treat the bore at all.


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 Post subject: Re: Water your Didj ?
PostPosted: 29.07.2008, 12:25 
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And is watering an oiled didj useful ? Or does the oil atcs exactly like varnish in that case (makes water slip through without impregnating the wood) ?

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 Post subject: Re: Water your Didj ?
PostPosted: 29.07.2008, 12:39 
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There's no point in watering an oiled instrument as the water will simply run off.


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 Post subject: Re: Water your Didj ?
PostPosted: 29.07.2008, 12:46 
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Alright, thanks !

And what about the two last questions ? :oops:

> Does the very first didj humidification on raw wood implicates a regular water-treatment for the whole didj's life ? At what approximate frequency ? (I DO live in a hot and humid place > French Riviera :wink: )

> Is sea (salt) water to avoid ? Is it even, or better than drinkable water ?

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 Post subject: Re: Water your Didj ?
PostPosted: 29.07.2008, 12:53 
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I shouldn't think that the first application of water would warrant any further sluicing. Remember this is done before playing to make the instrument's timbre brighten without having to warm it up.

Salt water would leave a deposit within the bore, but I should think that would be the only difference.

Again, I'll state that I wouldn't suggest pouring water down your didjeridus regardless of your positioning on the coast. In Arnhem Land a new instrument can be created very easily. It's not the same case over here.


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 Post subject: Re: Water your Didj ?
PostPosted: 29.07.2008, 13:03 
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Thanks for your answers Kyle :wink:

I was wondering for salt water because I have heard that "floating wood" (I mean wood that is found floating on the sea) is one of the best wood to carve a didj out of if it doesn't already have too many cracks.
Apparently, the %age of salt in the sea water DRIES OUT the wood instead of soaking it (same phenomenon if drinking salt water > you keep being thirsty because the salt dries your body, this is why salt water is not drinkable).
Hence, such a wood is already dry (even if wet !!!) and will not move at all for the rest of its "lifetime".

Do you know if Yolngus water their Yidakis in flat or salted water ?

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 Post subject: Re: Water your Didj ?
PostPosted: 29.07.2008, 14:06 
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I think the Yolngu use whatever water source is nearby. When I was in Gove Djalu put some recently cut logs into the sea for a couple of hours, but I believe that a local freshwater hole would be used if that was closer.


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 Post subject: Re: Water your Didj ?
PostPosted: 01.08.2008, 17:52 
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I actually flushed the bore of a yidaki with water. It was an old "beater" stick that I bought cheap as it had been damaged and repaired- I use it for travel and such, so I don't recommend anyone try this with a good stick! What I was able to determine is that the practice was likely used in early times as a means of sealing a stick and preventing air leakage. A stick with many fine cracks will play very well after the bore is wet. One guess is that the Aboriginals did this to seal sticks and perhaps discovered that the side effect of changing the sound was to their liking. Nowdays they wrap sticks with electrical tape, so using water as a temporary seal is overkill...unless they do it to change the sound. One last point, I did this several times and the stick didn't crack!!! Now why do sticks that I take good care of crack while they sit unplayed in a closet???


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 Post subject: Re: Water your Didj ?
PostPosted: 01.08.2008, 18:05 
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I guess a stick cracks when its dry rather than when its wet. :D
Your closet-cracking didjes must still have had a bit of humidity in their bore before drying out and cracking.
Your old beater water-yidaki is maybe regularily watered, hence less dry...

As for the electrical tape...
It only seals the didj from the outside, and only with a thin plastic skin.
Any crack is still apparent from the inside.
Though if its watered, wood inflates and the crack tends to diminish in size, hence playability increases.

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 Post subject: Re: Water your Didj ?
PostPosted: 01.08.2008, 19:39 
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Ahaw- the only time I have ever had a stick crack, aside from the one in the closet was during summertime in a very humid environment. I was on vacation and had played the stick heavily that day-- there was over 80% humidity. I think it is rapid change from one to the other that matters most. From dry-to-wet, or wet-to-dry, this is what shocks wood.


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