How I make the didges.

Below are the highlights of my didge making method. Everything is done by hand. I’ve tried power tools but can’t get the same feel—nor can I be as precise. Working by hand I can observe as I work, following the timber to get the best from each piece.

  • The Timber

    The raw timbers are all termite-hollowed Eucalyptus cut under State Government permit from trees in far northern Australia. Care is taken to ensure only good logs are taken.

  • Tuning the stick

    A critical task, giving the didge its musical key and individual sound. I tune each Didge by shortening the raw log. Different shapes and lengths produce different tonal qualities, and the cuts are made to bring out the best of what nature has provided. The termite cavity is accentuated at the base with a chisel to help fine-tune the sound.

  • Widening the bell

    By widening the hole along the bottom section of the didge, I can start to shape the sound.....

  • Stripping the bark

    Here, I'm stripping the bark away from the wood. The log has dried after being seasoned for twelve months. This piece is a Messmate-Stringybark (Eucalyptus Tetrodonta).

  • Shaping the Didge

    Excess timber is shaved from the outside of the log to reduce its weight and to improve the resonance. Using hand tools (a Spoke Shave and a Draw Blade) I reduce the wall thickness gradually until the Didge starts to 'sing'.

  • Finishing

    (The repetitive bit!) I use several grades of sand paper to reduce the outside to a smooth, even finish. Finally a clear coating gives protection and enhances the natural beauty of the timber. A mouthpiece is fitted and the didge is hand numbered.