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post #1 of 29 Old 04-15-2008, 11:04 PM Thread Starter
 
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Cool Bamboo + Woodworking?

I think we've all seen a bamboo cutting table and I think they look really nice. Is it very realistic to use bamboo in woodworking or would it be way more trouble than it is worth? Is it even somewhat easy to get?
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post #2 of 29 Old 04-23-2008, 09:54 PM
 
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If you think about it, bamboo is nothing more than grass. How well can it hole up as a cutting table?

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post #3 of 29 Old 04-24-2008, 12:35 AM
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I would think that the cutting board, of bamboo, would be with end-grain as the cutting surface; would not want to cut on it the other way.

IMHO, it would NOT hold up to very much cutting... and would eventually end up as a bunch of fuzz-ball areas across the surface where most of the cutting is done. You would NOT want that.

IMHO, forget it.
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post #4 of 29 Old 04-24-2008, 12:53 AM
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If you think about it, bamboo is nothing more than grass. How well can it hole up as a cutting table?

Greenfield Rich

richel Bamboo flooring is one of your harder flooring on the market. And I was looking at a bamboo cutting board at Lowe's saturday. Bamboo may be a grass, but it is some kind of hard grass.

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post #5 of 29 Old 04-24-2008, 05:52 AM
 
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Bamboo Strength

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If you think about it, bamboo is nothing more than grass. How well can it hole up as a cutting table?

Greenfield Rich
I have seen pictures taken in the Orient of scafolding made of lashed bamboo to the height of several stories.
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post #6 of 29 Old 04-24-2008, 07:50 AM
 
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bamboo flooring

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richel Bamboo flooring is one of your harder flooring on the market. And I was looking at a bamboo cutting board at Lowe's saturday. Bamboo may be a grass, but it is some kind of hard grass.
Actually, I am in the hardwood flooring industry, and have been for the last eleven years. Yes, bamboo is used for flooring, although not very widely used. It's fairly new on the market as a flooring product, and it's mostly the environmentalists who use it. The feedback I get from the installers is not very optimistic. It still does not have the wearability of hardwood, and it's too new to know how it will hold up long term. It's probably okay in some applications, although I will always pick hardwood over bamboo.

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post #7 of 29 Old 04-25-2008, 12:15 AM
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Actually, I am in the hardwood flooring industry, and have been for the last eleven years. Yes, bamboo is used for flooring, although not very widely used. It's fairly new on the market as a flooring product, and it's mostly the environmentalists who use it. The feedback I get from the installers is not very optimistic. It still does not have the wearability of hardwood, and it's too new to know how it will hold up long term. It's probably okay in some applications, although I will always pick hardwood over bamboo.

Greenfield Rich
I was basing the my statement on what my customer have told me about the bamboo flooring. I ran a little family own lumberyard for 3 years while the owner was in and out of the hospital. We sold bamboo flooring , and 3 hard woods that came from the Amizon forest, and just about anything folks wanted, I could order it. We didnt stock any flooring, just special ordered it. My son-in-law sell it in a snap together version at lowe's, He's the floor specialist in the family. He doesn't sell a lot of it due to the fact it is exspencive. But the bamboo flooring he has sold has had positive feedback on ware. He did say, the installers say its harder to put down. I didn't ask him why.

All in All, if they make cutting boards out of it, make funiture out of it, and build houses out of it, it cain't be to bad.

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post #8 of 29 Old 04-25-2008, 03:07 PM
 
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I have seen pictures taken in the Orient of scafolding made of lashed bamboo to the height of several stories.
They build entire buildings out of bamboo in Japan, I think.

Bamboo has some enormous shear strength perpendicular to the grain. I always though it would make excellent tree (wooden) nails.
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post #9 of 29 Old 04-26-2008, 10:48 AM
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We have a Bamboo cutting board....it's excellent. M.
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post #10 of 29 Old 05-08-2008, 05:47 AM
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there's a bunch of different kinds of bamboo... we use a variety of them for many many things here, mostly crude things, because it's cheap, easy, and grows fast. some types are very hard and thick, but they still seem to split easily.

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post #11 of 29 Old 05-08-2008, 03:00 PM
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Well, I'll stick to wood. Ya'll use grass if you so desire. I'll be known as a wood worker, whilist you'll be the grass worker.

Another thing about it. It's gonna' become an invasive species here as it is unstoppable once planted and people arer planting it.
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post #12 of 29 Old 05-09-2008, 09:33 AM
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bamboo splinters hurt like all get out

we get rid of bamboo here by burning it, and then digging out the roots. roots not too deep, but that may just be here in tropical soils.
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post #13 of 29 Old 05-09-2008, 09:53 AM
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Ah, my post never got in...damn!

Devildog, no you're right about the roots, no matter where it is. That's because it's like grass (as we've already stated it technically is grass) and has a fairly shallow but broad root system. I'll agree about the splinters being a bitch, too.

Bamboo isn't particularly easy to work worth, but it's not that hard either. You can deal with splitting by using hand tools and learning how to split it to your advantage. There are a couple of good books on the process.

As for using bamboo for cutting boards, end grain is definitely the best, and I think it looks the most interesting too, but you can lay up some laminations of strips and then make a checkerboard with the orthoganal grain patterns to reduce the threading/hairing of the the board as you cut on it. It won't be quite as durable as an endgrain board would be but it will last a long time.

Richel, bamboo may be new to the west but it's been used in Asia for several thousand years for every aspect of building. Trusses, floors, posts, walls, roofs, you name it. It wears plenty well (I've personally lived in houses with 20+ year old bamboo floors that looked brand new) and is easily replaced for much less cost when it does wear out. It also feels better and is quieter than hardwood when you walk on it. It has more give so it is less jarring; it's like the difference between walking on a lawn or a concrete sidewalk only not as drastic.

For those that think that bamboo isn't strong enough, I'll tell you I've got plenty of pictures of and have walked on bamboo scaffolds that are over 30 stories tall (I didn't go up that high) and they're plenty stable and very strong. I'll also tell you that for the same diameter a bamboo "rod" is stronger than a 10oz carbon fiber tube. Bamboo has incredible load strength, but it does splinter easily. The splintering is really only a problem while you're building or if what your building has to deal with being hit by sharp edges all the time.

Bamboo certainly isn't the perfect building material, but it can be quite beautiful, and it's easily replenishable. I've built boats, fountains, chairs, tables, windchimes, and plenty of other things from it quite well. If you're interested in trying it out, I highly recommend it. It also is great as a decorative accent, if not the primary species.
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post #14 of 29 Old 05-09-2008, 10:26 AM
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we also eat the bamboo shoots when they come up (this is the time of year!)

powderpost beetles seem to love dry bamboo. I don't know if that's a problem there, but it sure is here.

frankp is definitely right about the hand tools, and about bamboo's load strength. We use it for scaffolding often. To make a latticework, we shred old motorcycle tires and wrap and then twist the strips around the joints with a stick, and then tie the stick down with wire to prevent it from untwisting. Looks a bit dodgey, but we've never had anything slip.
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post #15 of 29 Old 05-12-2008, 04:08 PM
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bamboo scaffolding

I'm from Hong Kong and bamboo scaffolding is the norm there. The tight space has forced the buildings up to 80 stories+ and its absolutely sickening that people are up 80 stories in bamboo scaffolds.

other than that, i don't know anything about working with bamboo.
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post #16 of 29 Old 05-12-2008, 04:29 PM
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JCNG, I have almost an identical picture (as the one on the right) from a trip to HK last February. I didn't have it to post though, so I didn't want to throw out the 80+ stories as people might think I was exaggerating. Thanks for the picture.

Devildog, I can't speak to the whole of the USA but the 14 states I've lived in haven't had any real issues with powderpost beetles that I know about.

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post #17 of 29 Old 05-12-2008, 05:24 PM
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I grabbed those photos off of google since i didn't have the ones i took myself handy and to be honest, i was exaggerating a little. 40-60 story apartment buildings are the norm, but those crazy f**kers are going all the way up there with the bamboo.
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post #18 of 29 Old 05-05-2010, 10:13 AM
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Bamboo sink

Hi Frank

I am making a change to a bamboo bathroom sink.
Right now a slightly recessed stainless steel flange covers the drain hole (like a normal sink drain) and it covers the end grains where the hole is cut.

If I undermount the drain fittings, will the exposed hole, which I will router for a nice contour, be a problem with the endgrain, splinters, etc?

I appreciate your thoughts.

Dan




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Ah, my post never got in...damn!

Devildog, no you're right about the roots, no matter where it is. That's because it's like grass (as we've already stated it technically is grass) and has a fairly shallow but broad root system. I'll agree about the splinters being a bitch, too.

Bamboo isn't particularly easy to work worth, but it's not that hard either. You can deal with splitting by using hand tools and learning how to split it to your advantage. There are a couple of good books on the process.

As for using bamboo for cutting boards, end grain is definitely the best, and I think it looks the most interesting too, but you can lay up some laminations of strips and then make a checkerboard with the orthoganal grain patterns to reduce the threading/hairing of the the board as you cut on it. It won't be quite as durable as an endgrain board would be but it will last a long time.

Richel, bamboo may be new to the west but it's been used in Asia for several thousand years for every aspect of building. Trusses, floors, posts, walls, roofs, you name it. It wears plenty well (I've personally lived in houses with 20+ year old bamboo floors that looked brand new) and is easily replaced for much less cost when it does wear out. It also feels better and is quieter than hardwood when you walk on it. It has more give so it is less jarring; it's like the difference between walking on a lawn or a concrete sidewalk only not as drastic.

For those that think that bamboo isn't strong enough, I'll tell you I've got plenty of pictures of and have walked on bamboo scaffolds that are over 30 stories tall (I didn't go up that high) and they're plenty stable and very strong. I'll also tell you that for the same diameter a bamboo "rod" is stronger than a 10oz carbon fiber tube. Bamboo has incredible load strength, but it does splinter easily. The splintering is really only a problem while you're building or if what your building has to deal with being hit by sharp edges all the time.

Bamboo certainly isn't the perfect building material, but it can be quite beautiful, and it's easily replenishable. I've built boats, fountains, chairs, tables, windchimes, and plenty of other things from it quite well. If you're interested in trying it out, I highly recommend it. It also is great as a decorative accent, if not the primary species.
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post #19 of 29 Old 05-06-2010, 03:03 AM
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dos, I'm not sure I understand what you're asking. The last sink I put in (the only one I've actually assembled from individual pieces) had a rubber gasket that went under the drain to protect the glass sink. Do you have a gasket or are you installing the drain directly against the bamboo? Either way, I'd recommend sealing the end grains with several coats of epoxy or something similar, just to make sure the bamboo won't soak up water through the end grain.
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post #20 of 29 Old 05-06-2010, 03:54 AM
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Bamboo flooring is da bomb

I installed natural (as opposed to carbonized) bamboo flooring on my second floor back in 2003. It cut and installed just like hardwood. End cuts didn't splinter at all. I just used a new carbide blade on my slider, nothing different than any other flooring install. I did opt for the glue-down option, though. I like the way that glued down flooring feels so solid underfoot. The poly glue was a bear to work with, but it's the same that hardwood uses if you decide to glue that down. The bamboo still looks like new, and we have two dogs in the house. But, just like anything else, there are different levels of quality here too. If you DAGS under bamboo, you'll find stair treads, risers, plywood, counter tops, slabs, along with the flooring and cutting boards. As for the bamboo scaffolding, I've seen it up close and personal in Thailand. Looks rickety, but does have a good load carrying capability. The reason you see rope being used, is that bamboo in it's native form (rods), will not hold nails. Looks scary, but it works. CH
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