Alternative to the Australian "sugarbag" bees wax
Down here in Melbourne it is very unlikely to find a didj with a
"sugarbag" beeswax mouthpiece than further north like Cairns as the
sugarbag bee is native more to warmer Australia. So the local didj makers
here use an alternative to the native beeswax. They mix charcoal with
commercial beeswax which forms a black and slightly more rigid mouthpiece
than normal beeswax or sugarbag and thus it keeps the desired shape
longer. The major drawback is that it heats up and softens if left in the
sun because of its darkness
You get some commercial beeswax from your local apiarist and use as
much as is required for a mouthpiece. (There will be some left over anyway
as the charcoal adds to the volume)
Heat the wax till it melts (Best done in a double boiler so there is
more control over the melting of the wax).
When molten, add some powdered charcoal teaspoon wise to the wax
while stirring until the hot mixture becomes noticeably thicker.
Take the tin out of the boiling pan to cool down so the wax hardens
for moulding. (Be quick as the wax hardens a bit faster than you would
Then follow the
Methods for Moulding Beeswax Mouthpieces
instructions in the Technical Corner under Mouthpieces. It actually has a
lot of useful tips!
I find the black wax gives a more "earthier" look on didjes and seems to
work with both plain and painted didjs (obviously depending on the artwork
and you personal preference). The dark wax also doesn't show all the dirt,
dust and hairs that make plain wax go so murky and thus seems to give a
more hygienic impression. The wax mouthpiece still suffers from
modification problems when your friends play it but less severe than plain
Details on Australian Bees
Scott Endersby writes:
The bee that we are speaking about is named
Trigona carbonaria (Australian Native Stingless Bee)
I believe this bee is the most common producer of a
Sugar bag nest. The name "Sugar bag" I think is a
translation of the Aboriginal name for the nest.
Although there are many bees in Australia
I believe this would be the most common one. But now that
you have put me to my word I shall keep studying this
subject and will keep you up to date with what I find out..