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Below is my latest effort, a 5 inch (126 mm) 31 button G/D with full scale reeds. Literally fits into the palm of one's hand. A bit rough for the rustic look, well that is what i tell myself, but it was only a prototype, which is also what i tell myself. (Unfortunately the wood was a little soft as you can see around the bolt holes, I will need to make a few repairs in that area.)  I have kept the same button spacings as a full size Jeffries so it is really not any harder to play. Kangaroo skin bellows (skin is .30mm thick on the bindings and frame, shows up every bump and dent under it -- if I was to make another it would be textured skin, much more pleasant to the eye.)


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Photo on 23-11-2022 at 9.29 am.jpg

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5 hours ago, Steve Schulteis said:

I'd love to see a picture of the reed pans.

That's truly amazing! I'd like to see more pictures too, plus a sound recording if possible?


I presume that a Lachenal layout would be possible?


I'll say it again - amazing!

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Yes I do agree, poor kangaroo. But, there is a bit of a bind, roos are extremely numerous, especially now that cattle and inland sheep stations have installed hundreds of thousands of tanks and dams for their animals, and this benefits roos too.


Here in Tasmania we have mainly Bennetts Wallaby, a slightly small roo type animal, and because the apex predator, the thylacine, was wiped out in the 1930's all marsupial numbers have increased, often to plague proportions, in a boom and bust cycle. Starving roos are not a pretty sight, and and neither is roadkill, often caused by large populations of animals eating the greener grass on the verge.


Last year my daughter did a research project on road kill in southern Tasmania. In a 6 week period on a 30 km length of low traffic country road (Geeveston to Dover looped through Police Point, have a look on google) we counted 183 fresh marsupial road kill that had remained on the road, many more, possibly double that number, would have crawled off to die. Absolutely awful. So I think it better to cull the animals, and put the carcass to good use. I also eat wallaby, it is a nice, low fat meat that is lovely in stew, I think it better than eating cattle and beef which causes enormous environmental destruction. And the skin is much stronger than bovine skin by a significant magnitude, waterproof and highly wear resistant and pliable, and totally sustainable.

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Requested images:
One strange drawback of this layout is G4/F#4 right hand reeds sound as though they tap, any reed put in this chamber sounds as though it taps, both sides. If you look at the pad you will notice that the vent is on the tip of the tongue, and this is the only thing I can attribute the sound to. You will notice that i have cut away beside the pad to ensure airflow, but it made absolutely no difference. I also undercut the pad board to a depth of 6.4mm to increase chamber size, and this also made not a tittle of difference. (Pad board is 8mm thick.) I also made a C/G 5 inch ’tina, it also appeared to tap the shoe with these reads, but much much less so, only apparent with very close listening. The C/G's (C5/B4) reeds are shorter so  a greater percentage of the tongue was under the vent.  But on the G/D the phenomenon is obvious, and requires redesign so the vent is closer to the heal.
With this layout it would, I think, be possible to add three more buttons to the right hand, under the third row, but none to the left, so making it a 34 button instrument. But I have no intention to experiment in this direction.



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This is a lovely instrument, David, "prototype" hardly does it justice.


Is kangaroo leather common? When I was a child someone gave me a toy koala. I'm pretty sure we were told he was made from kangaroo skin - he was very soft and furry - though this might be apocryphal. He is almost completely bald now but has survived for nearly 70 years.

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There are up to 1 million kangaroos culled on the small island of Tasmania, pop.250,000 people each tear. (I have read this  number, but cannot personally confirm it) One company. Lenah Meats in Tasmania prepares the meat of 60,000 of these each year for human consumption. Until recently all 60,000 pelts were thrown down the tip because there is a limited market, and overseas fashion industry, and international consumers began to refuse to purchase the skins. (Now they are trying to sell the pelts as ugg boots, which they call wugg boots because they are made of wallaby skins. There are a number of companies in Australia which now process Kangaroo skins, some of which still go into toys, aeroplane seat covers, high quality gloves, pipe organ leather, etc. But there are millions of skins that find their way to land fill / are left in the bush because of a restricted market. Millions of roos are killed across mainland Australia each year. Much of the roo meat goes into pet food. Farming communities have no alternative.

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