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Project by LeroyTheLips posted 04-06-2012 07:16 PM 2883 views 3 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is a series of photos that I took of a didgeridoo that I have been working on for awhile. It is from a fallen Elm tree grown in Eatonville, Washington from my son’s neighbors house. Not the traditional wood (should use Eucalyptus) that you should use. I stripped the bark using a drawknife then split the log. I used various tools to hollow out the wood: European chisels, not-so-crooked knife, scorp, hollowing adze, etc. After hollowing it I sanded it then coated the interior with Cabot’s Gloss Marine Spar Varnish. After I glued it up and used a pushknife to thin out the diameter being careful not to get to thin and cut right through it. I painted the whole thing with Mustard Seed yellow Tulip brand Milk paint. I then sanded it and stained with Old Masters Dark Red Mahogany and Dark Walnut. After sanding it I Spiralled some tape around it and painted it with Milk Paint black. I then spent many, many hours adding dots and painting geckos along the length then finishing it with spar varnish. I spent last night forming the Natural Beeswax mouthpiece. I’ve never played one before but it was always something that I wanted to make. When a good-looking tree came along I decided to go for it. I have been practicing playing it. It is very difficult. I have been going to websites trying to learn how to play it. I painted colorful in case I couldn’t play it I would at least have a piece of art. You can see more pics at my Facebook page:

12 comments so far

View lizardhead's profile


653 posts in 3451 days

#1 posted 04-06-2012 07:35 PM

They take so much breath that guys who play well have learned to breath in while blowing out—very hard to do

-- Good, Better, Best--Never let it rest---Always make your Good be Better & your Better Best

View Benboy's profile


105 posts in 2871 days

#2 posted 04-06-2012 08:13 PM

That is great! I have a book I read my daughters called “Do you do a Didgeridoo?” by Nick Page. They love the book and I keep thinking I should get a didgeridoo. I usually just make “doo” with an empty wrapping paper roll. Kudos on such excellent craftsmanship.

-- If I can't make it, I probably don't need it.

View IndianJoe's profile


425 posts in 2859 days

#3 posted 04-06-2012 09:29 PM

I have helped a friend make one but never made one for me lol By the way your looks a lot better ,Nice work

-- Nimkee** Joe

View Doe's profile


1430 posts in 3440 days

#4 posted 04-07-2012 12:33 AM

It’s a beautiful thing! The artwork seems very appropriate – did you use a traditional design? How do you play it? Is it like a trumpet? How does it sound?

Sorry about all the questions; I love it and I’m really impressed. Thanks for posting it!

-- Mother Nature talks, I try to listen

View LeroyTheLips's profile


248 posts in 2857 days

#5 posted 04-07-2012 12:52 AM

Thanks everyone. I used some traditional colors: red, yellow and black are the colors for the Aboriginal flag. Geckos are a traditional motif. The dots are just something I wanted to do. I have seen this type of artwork on various sculptures. My facebook page (Michael Sweet) has a video of me trying to play it. My grandaughter just picked it up and started playing and it sounded pretty good and she is 11. If you go on to YouTube and type didgeridoo you can find some awesome playing. Another great looking one is square. just type in square didgeridoo. It is a beautifully crafted and sounding instrument. I blow into it like I’m making a rasberry. I am working on the circular breathing – you fill your cheeks with air to blow into the didge while breathing in through the nose. It is a fun thing to have around.

View DonJ's profile


251 posts in 4137 days

#6 posted 04-07-2012 02:08 AM

We use to live in Australia, and saw many an Aborigine play them. The breathing technique is, as you said, breathing in while blowing out…they call it circular breathing, if I remember correctly. We brought back a didgeridoo and have it by the fireplace. The story I heard was that they would get limbs that were eaten out by ants, and that’s how most of the hollowing out was done. Your artwork looks very good. The one I have has all of the “dots” to make different animals and designs, but it appears to be small burnings…your’s is prettier! At any rate, very nicely done. Let us know if you get the circular breating down.

-- Don, San Antonio, TX

View LeroyTheLips's profile


248 posts in 2857 days

#7 posted 04-07-2012 05:12 AM

I have been practicing all night and I’m getting the hang of it. Seems like you have to start off by not blowing so hard and storing air in your cheeks like a bellows. If I would have had termites I would have rather them take the inside out that’s for sure. I did enjoy making it though and if I find another piece of tree around I will certainly make another.

View choppertoo's profile


304 posts in 3923 days

#8 posted 04-07-2012 04:09 PM

very kewl project!

-- The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that our aim is too low and we reach it.. Michelangelo

View mcase's profile


446 posts in 3739 days

#9 posted 04-07-2012 07:08 PM

Can you play the didgeridoo mate? Yes and make them too! That is really beautiful.

View LeroyTheLips's profile


248 posts in 2857 days

#10 posted 04-07-2012 09:10 PM

That remains to be seen (or heard I should say). Nobody has taught me but I look at videos on youtube. I did record a video on Facebook of my first attempt. I have improved since a couple od days ago. You are welcome to view the video and pics I have that are public. Just look for Michael Sweet.

View Dpetty's profile


13 posts in 2877 days

#11 posted 04-07-2012 10:35 PM

Wow, i dare say you spent more time and effort making this than the aboriginal people do, since they let the ants hollow out the logs for them! Nontheless this is a beautiful didg.

View LeroyTheLips's profile


248 posts in 2857 days

#12 posted 04-08-2012 12:33 AM

Thanks Dpetty. I did spend a lot of time on it. I am a retired draftsman so I can’t help but to be detailed.

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