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Sep 16, 2021 - 12:20:28 PM
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1204 posts since 1/9/2012

Dixie ukes are indestructible cast aluminum, with adjustable neck angle. Many are still in circulation. The head (orinally skin) tightens with nuts that are recessed between the upper and lower rings. They sound... sound just... sound just like... like banjo ukuleles. My wife noticed that the larger bird pictured on the latest bird seed bag she opened looked like her favorite from the backyard. When he's not sounding the alarm of some imminent peril, his call sounds like, "I'm an eighth grader!" -- or at least, so says my wife.

Always on the lookout for suitable material for the cigar box banjo that I haven't made yet, I decided to try the seed bag. It's a tough #7 "other" plastic, 4 mil thick. It looks like its woven at some initial fabrication stage, but it's been fused and/or coated so that it ends up water and air proof. It doesn't seem to stretch any more than typical head mylar. I used readily available 1/8" hexagonal brass stock for a flesh hoop. Square from Bob Smakula would have had sharper corners. My concern was the plastic slipping past the hoop under tension. That same concern prompted me to lay in some 30 minute epoxy around the edge. That just flakes off the plastic. (I should have check in advance.) But maybe its presence, jammed in there will help anyway. The tension sounds like it's been steady for at least a few days. It turns out that some superglue I used on a tiny tear does seem to stick well. (That's for next time.) The tear appeared when I was greedy: the last 1/6 turn on the nuts took the sound from mellow to crackin' banjo. (But aren't you supposed to tighten until it tears and then back off 1/8 turn?)

Sep 16, 2021 - 1:19:53 PM

484 posts since 10/18/2020

davidppp you need to talk to mike gregory he uses all kinds of different materials for the head on instruments he builds, he will probably chime in at some point on your thread

Your Dixie Uke looks pretty nice by the way

Edited by - Don Smith1959 on 09/16/2021 13:21:36

Sep 16, 2021 - 1:44:12 PM
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13939 posts since 6/29/2005

That's pretty amazing, David.

I go through 200# of sunflower seeds in 50# bags every year, and always thought there ought to be a good second use for those heavy duty bags.  The picture of the bird is an added bonus.

Sep 16, 2021 - 2:02:59 PM
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1204 posts since 1/9/2012

Ken LeVan
The mounting process is much like with skin -- only different. There's tugging and pulling and trying to even it out. But it doesn't seem to stretch. The tension just evens out the wrinkles. So, getting the right height in the end for the tension hoop requires mental re-calibration. On this, my first try, I ended up a tad higher than I would have liked.

Sep 16, 2021 - 2:06:19 PM
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58225 posts since 12/14/2005

The HangOut robot alerted me that Mr. Smith had mentioned me.

If the bag is torn, and you want the bird pic, and you like feeding birds, just buy another bag, and be less enthusiastic with the tightening.

I've had some success with flattening out 2 liter soft drink bottles, epoxy-and-tacking them to salad bowls, and using a blow dryer to shrink them tight.
If I recall correctly, the DIXIE uke neck can be unbolted, and attached to a salad bowl, or even a square wooden box, rather easily.
If the Dixie body is too big for a flattened soda bottle, try the lid off a party tray.
Any P.E.T.E plastic will shrink when heated.

Sep 16, 2021 - 3:21:52 PM

85 posts since 5/31/2009

I have heard of dog food bags being used.

Sep 16, 2021 - 4:50:32 PM
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14581 posts since 8/30/2006

Sun Chips


David, that's the cutest Dixie I've seen lately

very well done 

Edited by - Helix on 09/16/2021 16:52:21

Sep 16, 2021 - 6:45:20 PM
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8988 posts since 8/28/2013

That's the first banjo uke I've ever seen with a tufted titmouse and a cardinal perched on it.

Sep 17, 2021 - 5:43:35 AM
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1534 posts since 5/19/2018

I’ve seen Tyvek used. Love the bird.

I always love it when I see folks think outside the box and create something fun or beautiful. Seems like you did both.

Sep 17, 2021 - 3:09:36 PM
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58225 posts since 12/14/2005

Originally posted by G Edward Porgie

That's the first banjo uke I've ever seen with a tufted titmouse and a cardinal perched on it.

"You gonna let him get away with talking about my girlfriend like that???"


Sep 18, 2021 - 7:51:11 AM

19 posts since 3/3/2004

I have a Banjo uke like that for sale:

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