Author Topic: bamboo  (Read 859 times)

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Offline Rākau

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bamboo
« on: May 20, 2020, 03:44:37 am »
Hello all.

Does anyone have any advice re cutting and drying your own bamboo for backings?
I recently have gained access to a bamboo farm and they have Moso bamboo at least 6" in diameter so perfect for maki.g backing slats. However, I have heard that big boo can be a bit tricky to dry.

Should I leave it in the round? or split it into strips and rough down to size? or is their another option availible to me?

Cheers
Zach

Offline Ben.A.M

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Re: bamboo
« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2020, 04:15:50 am »
Hi Zach, Iím sure youíll get heaps of advice from others but personally Iíve always split the bamboo ASAP to avoid mould as thereís a lot of moisture trapped in the cells between nodes, itís extremely easy to split and drys faster, Iíve used chisels, draw knife and at one point was using an old saw and just hammering it down the bamboo (probably donít do that) but youíll figure something out, itíll always split straight and you can split it to the dimensions you want then you can find somewhere airy to dry it, Iíve known some to just put it out in the sun to speed drying but Iím not sure whether that would have any negative effects, just be aware, itís sharp stuff! Wear gloves just in case, good luck!

Offline HedgeHunter

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Re: bamboo
« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2020, 06:39:57 am »
Use harvest it green but found it was more work to deal with. So, I started harvest seasoned standing dead 6"-10" in dia . Can be a beast to rip out of the thicket as it get's very tall and dies almost vertical.

The green I left under cover vertical and water left pretty quick. Cut or split it, they have star blades they use for splitting at one operation. Then season some more, I fired it in a good small hot pile of coals at my Jungle Camp. Dragged belly side through it slowly (it has to be totally season before you do this). Then, cut it to thickness and sanded for use. Just like aging/seasoning bow wood really.

Good stuff. Made plenty Waiwi and bamboo backed pig bows in between teaching Rangers how to operate and fight in jungle and surfing.


HH~
Readily will I display the intestinal fortitude required to fight onto the Ranger objective and complete the mission though I be the lone survivor.

Offline Eric Krewson

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Re: bamboo
« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2020, 07:03:15 am »
DON'T split it green! It will often cup as it dries and be useless.

Cut it longer than you need it, I seal the ends (I put a bead of cheap superglue on the ends) just to keep checks from running in. Use a hoe to other straight handle to knock the nodes out inside the trunk so you can get airflow through it and let it dry evenly.

Let it dry until it turns from green to tan, pop a chalk line on it and saw it into slats with my bandsaw. I cut the inner node projections off with my bandsaw and flatten the belly either on my jointer or a belt sander with a 36 grit belt.

I have worked a ton of bamboo in my day for bows, magical stuff.


Offline gutpile

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Re: bamboo
« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2020, 09:04:38 am »
first and foremost do not split your bgoo till it turns yellow.... NEVER... it will dry in a curl and be worthless... I let mine turn yellow and then I split.. needs to be big boo too... gut
to take from nature the materials needed to take from nature the meat needed...they all die from natural causes osage, rivercane, stone points,...

Offline Ben.A.M

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Re: bamboo
« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2020, 05:36:55 pm »
Wow! You guys must be getting some very different boo than what Iím getting or the climate is way different, Iíve gotten mould every time with every type of bamboo despite knocking through the nodes, only ever had success splitting it straight away, never had it check or cup, thought checking was impossible for bamboo, weíve got a heap of bamboo farms around here and the one I go to for specific types that donít grow on the side of the road knock out nodes and force air dry it in a shed with fans so it doesnít turn into a mould farm, crazy! Well, see what happens and go with what works :)

Online PatM

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Re: bamboo
« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2020, 05:52:12 pm »
There is some thought that cutting bamboo or trees in the right phase of the moon makes a big difference in moisture content.

 I have found this to be true.

Offline Ben.A.M

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Re: bamboo
« Reply #7 on: May 20, 2020, 06:56:57 pm »
True Pat and I scout out my timber to cut in that time which for here in the Southern Hemisphere was a few wks ago but I wouldnít have thought bamboo would be as effected, so being mystified as to the differences in findings I just rang a mate who makes sculptures and structures for events and festivals from bamboo and he told me that bamboo grown close to water eg: creeks, dams, rivers etc especially in good quality soil grow a lot faster so the walls are thinner and have less density and youíll find a lot of it collapses under its own weight, also when split tends to curl with a large amount of shrinkage, which is where the tendency to cup comes from I assume, he also said heís never know of it checking although the structures they make only stand for at the most a month or so, what he did say is when they cut, they try and aim for close to the node as the process of cutting causes splits which may not be visible until it drys a little bit those splits never tend to go past the node, best bamboo is from poor soil conditions with minimal water access as it grows slower and denser, you could have 2 stands from the same stock grown in these 2 opposing conditions and you would barely be able to find a similarity in quality, also the walls of the bamboo Iím cutting here for the first 8ft from the base is rarely thinner than my index finger in which might make a difference also.

Offline Rākau

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Re: bamboo
« Reply #8 on: May 21, 2020, 02:21:04 am »
Thanks for the feedback all. I have some bits that are a bit too beat up for a backing, so i will split them and see how they handle drying as slats, if that works out then I will split the good pieces too. In the mean time I have punched out the centers on the good bits and have them waiting patiently in the corner.

Cheers

Ben.A.M, where are you based in the southern hemisphere? I am in NZ

Offline Ben.A.M

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Re: bamboo
« Reply #9 on: May 21, 2020, 06:34:35 am »
Hey Zach! Iím on the east coast of Australia, where in NZ are you? Seems pretty much half the people I know are from there, man youíve got access to some beautiful timber over there, not sure about bow woods though but given your climate youíd be bound to track down some apple and plum in peoples yards, what are you going to use the bamboo to back?

Offline gutpile

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Re: bamboo
« Reply #10 on: May 21, 2020, 07:04:53 am »
 I forgot to add bust nodes out of inside of boo for drying... then wait till turns yellow... but do not split till yellow or it will curl... gut
to take from nature the materials needed to take from nature the meat needed...they all die from natural causes osage, rivercane, stone points,...

Offline Eric Krewson

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Re: bamboo
« Reply #11 on: May 21, 2020, 07:05:20 am »
I used to cut my bamboo in NW Alabama, the patch is high on a ridge, the species is mandrake or giant timber bamboo.

I could store dry bamboo in my basement and it would mold, I found this out when I bought a 25 slat bundle from Franks in California. After loosing the 25 bundle of bamboo slats to mold I never put green bamboo in my basement.

I store my green bamboo trunks in my unheated shop while it dries. It stays in my shop until I use it for bows. The relative humidity here averages 12%, we have 100 degree summers and winters in the teens. The last few years have been very wet in the spring, we are about 12" of rain above normal so far this year.

Offline Hamish

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Re: bamboo
« Reply #12 on: May 21, 2020, 07:25:00 am »
Ben, I buy my boo from Bamboo Australia. The last lot of stuff I got was direct from the farm. I wanted to try Madake, Japanese bamboo. They didn't have any cut, dried poles, so they cut a green one and split it up in front of me. The splits look fine to me, and haven't twisted. Its been about 3 years and they still look good.
I also bought a culm of Tonkin cane at the same time, it was dry, left in the round, and has lots of cracks, which might lead to loss of material, if I split it for bows. Probably less of an issue if I use it for  a split cane flyrod( been saying I'd make one, for years.

I'm not sure what the other guys are referring to as "curl" that makes it unsuitable for a backing. I haven't noticed any across the width, no propeller, and they still stay straight along their length. They can take a slight deflex bend, but that has no effect after you prepare it for backing.

Personally I don't think it matters when you split it, at least with the 2 types I just mentioned. Moso might be different though. All of the Moso I have got in the past was already dry. It usually has several uncontrolled splits, and mould in the interior. Still manages to make decent backings.


Offline Ben.A.M

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Re: bamboo
« Reply #13 on: May 21, 2020, 07:47:06 am »
Hi Hamish! You must be pretty close to where Iím at! Iím in Murwillumbah and yeah, I think it must come down to varieties and climate, the fact that we average 60%-80% humidity on the mid north coast of Aus probably makes a huge difference also, found any good native timbers to use here?

Offline Eric Krewson

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Re: bamboo
« Reply #14 on: May 22, 2020, 07:11:03 am »
Make a half circle with your thumb and first finger that, is what a cupped bamboo slat will look like as it dries. It will start out flat but the edges will curl up as it dries to form a "U".