Bamboo? - Router Forums
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 30 (permalink) Old 01-10-2015, 01:55 AM Thread Starter
Registered User
 
TWheels's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Country: United States
First Name: Tom
Posts: 1,854
 
Default Bamboo?

Anyone work with bamboo?
I just received samples of bamboo plywood and dimensional lumber but they are too small for any routering. I am thinking of making it my main wood,
It is a very hard "wood" often used for flooring.
How easily does it rout?
Anyone have any photos of bamboo projects?

Vegetarian Arthritic Paraplegic Wannabe Routerologist
The RouterForums member formerly known as mftha or th-alton
"Teach your children what we have taught ours, that the earth is our mother. Whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons of the earth. The earth does not belong to man; man belongs to the earth. Man did not weave the web of life; he is merely a strand in it. We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children."
-attributed to Chief Seattle of the Native American Suquamish Tribe
  • Wood working, especially router work is too much fun to let "disabilities" get in the way.
  • see MEBCWD's signature line; be certain brain is properly powered up and engaged
TWheels is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 30 (permalink) Old 01-10-2015, 02:30 AM
Forum Contributor
 
Stick486's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Country: United States
First Name: Stick
Posts: 25,095
 
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by mftha View Post
Anyone work with bamboo?
I just received samples of bamboo plywood and dimensional lumber but they are too small for any routering. I am thinking of making it my main wood,
It is a very hard "wood" often used for flooring.
How easily does it rout?
Anyone have any photos of bamboo projects?
Why people love it: Currently riding a wave of popularity, bamboo is fast-growing and eco-friendly. It says, “I love old barns, owls, and other all-natural, outdoorsy stuff.”

Why it’s overrated: This isn’t real wood, and bamboo is technically not a “tree,” but is in the Poaceae (grass) family. Hundreds of small strips of bamboo material are machined and glued together, making quasi-boards. Sustainable? Yes. Natural? Hardly.

Try this instead: Real wood. It has character, uniqueness (two different boards actually look… different), and isn’t a series of tiny processed shards held together with glue.

Common Name(s): Bamboo

Scientific Name: Hundreds of species among dozens of genera from the Poaceae (grass) family (Many timber-producing bamboos are from the Phyllostachys and Bambusa genera)

Distribution: Most timber-producing bamboos are from south Asia

Tree Size: Some of the largest bamboos can be up to 50-100 ft (15-30 m) tall, with a 3-6 in (10-20 cm) diameter

Average Dried Weight: 31 lbs/ft3 (500 kg/m3) to 53 lbs/ft3 (850 kg/m3)

Specific Gravity (Basic, 12% MC): .38 to .64, .50 to .85

Janka Hardness: 1,410 lbf (6,270 N) to 1,610 lbf (7,170 N)

Modulus of Rupture: 11,020 lbf/in2 (76.0 MPa) to 24,450 lbf/in2 (168.6 MPa)

Elastic Modulus: 2,610,000 lbf/in2 (18.00 GPa) to 2,900,000 lbf/in2 (20.00 GPa)

Crushing Strength: 8,990 lbf/in2 (62.0 MPa) to 13,490 lbf/in2 (93.0 MPa)

Shrinkageiameter: 10-16%, Wall Thickness: 15-17%

Color/Appearance: Generally a uniform and pale yellow to almost white. Live bamboo that has been left standing too long frequently develops fungal decay, discoloring the wood with brown or black streaks and patches.

Grain/Texture: Being a monocot in the grass family, bamboo does not have any sapwood/heartwood or growth rings. Texture is very uniform, and ranges from medium to fine depending on density. Bamboo that has been split and processed into lumber will have intermittent variations in the fiber at each node on the stem.

Endgrain: Resembles the endgrain of palm—another monocot. No data is available to distinguish between bamboo species, but bamboo can usually be distinguished from wood and palms by the hollow stem, pale color, and the lack of rays or visible pores.

Rot Resistance: Bamboo used in exterior conditions is perishable, and will deteriorate in a matter of years. This is also paralleled in the short natural life cycle of bamboo, where many species quickly reach full maturity after only two or three years, and are subsequently attacked by decay mold and fungi, typically collapsing only a few years later. Bamboo is also susceptible to insect attacks such as powder-post beetles, termites, and marine-borers.

Workability: By woodworking standards, bamboo can be different. It is not necessarily difficult to work with, but depending on the species, it may require some special care. Bamboo fibers tend to split and pull out when being cross-cut, (applying masking tape across the cut line beforehand is recommended to prevent this sort of tearout). Also, bamboo is very high in silica—from .5% to 4.0%, found almost entirely in the outermost layers of the stem—so care must be taken when processing lumber. Carbide cutters are strongly recommended, and surface sanding is suggested instead of thickness planing with steel cutters, both for longevity of cutting edges, and quality of the finished surface. Bamboo glues, stains, and finishes well. When turning giant bamboo species, tools dull quickly, and endgrain tearout is common, but tearout tends to be very shallow, and the endgrain sands nearly as easily as the facegrain, and an overall smooth finish can be achieved with minimal effort.


Odor: Bamboo has a unique, earthy smell while being worked.

Allergies/Toxicity: Although severe reactions are quite uncommon, bamboo has been reported to cause skin irritation. It’s unclear whether the bamboo itself actually causes the irritation, or if it is simply due to the decay fungi commonly present in the material. See the articles Wood Allergies and Toxicity and Wood Dust Safety for more information.

Pricing/Availability: Bamboo is typically available in three forms: in hollow turning-blank sizes from giant bamboo species; in glued-up boards (flooring) and sheets made from many smaller strips; and in paper-backed veneer. Although bamboo is a very abundant natural resource, and prices for raw material tend to be low, (it is often called the “poor-man’s timber” throughout bamboo’s natural range), prices can be much higher for processed and glued-up imported products: often exceeding the cost of domestic hardwoods.

Sustainability: This wood species is not listed in the CITES Appendices or on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Common Uses: Veneer, paper, flooring, fishing rods, ladders, scaffolding, musical instruments (flutes/woodwinds/chimes), furniture, window blinds, carving, turned items, and small novelty items.

Comments: Bamboo is one of the most unique plants on earth. Unlike trees, bamboo grows initially at full width, with no tapering or horizontal growth. Some species can grow up to three feet a day! After just one year, bamboo reaches its full height, and in subsequent years, the stem (called the “culm”) continues to harden. The strength of the bamboo continues to increase for the next two to four years; most species of bamboo are considered fully mature in just two to three years. After this time, fungus and mold begin to cover the outside of the culm, eventually working its way into the interior, weakening the plant over several years before it eventually collapses from decay. For this reason, there is a window of time when it is considered best to harvest bamboo for optimum strength and hardness.

Bamboo is known to have a high shrinkage rate when initially being dried, amounting to 10-16% in culm diameter and 15-17% in overall wall thickness. Bamboo tends to shrink more towards the outer wall than at the interior: for this reason, surface checks can develop on the outside of the culm if it is dried too rapidly. However, despite the high shrinkage rates for bamboo, once it has adjusted to equilibrium moisture content, it is somewhat stable in use.

Although many prefer the aesthetics of bamboo for its unique, down-to-earth, Asian-flair, the real story on bamboo lies in its mechanical properties. Although it is hard to typify a group of over one thousand different species into a single set of mechanical values, on the whole, bamboo possess some of the best stiffness/strength characteristics, and strength-to-weight ratios of any woody material on the planet.

But the difficulty in qualifying bamboo’s strength lies not only in the abundance of species, but also in the lack of standardized testing: a complicating factor is that bamboo itself tends to be harder and stronger toward the outside of the culm, gradually getting softer and weaker toward the center. In some testing, certain species of bamboo at certain areas of the culm have exhibited stiffness (m.o.e.) and bending (m.o.r.) values far exceeding that of any hardwood. The only “weakness” of bamboo is simply inconsistency: with so many different species, and so many ways to cut and process bamboo, it is hard to be assured of the mechanical characteristics of any given bamboo product.

This would have been the week that I'd have finished chewing thru the restraints...
If only new layers hadn't been added....

Stick....
Forget the primal scream, just ROAR!!!
"SNORK Mountain Congressional Library and Taxidermy”
Stick486 is online now  
post #3 of 30 (permalink) Old 01-10-2015, 03:17 AM
Moderation Team
 
Cherryville Chuck's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Country: Canada
First Name: Charles
Posts: 14,939
 
Default

I used it for flooring. It was made like plywood, it had 3 layers glued together. It makes an excellent floor, hard and looks nice. It was prefinished so I don't know about that part. It crosscut like any hardwood flooring would. I never tried to use it for anything else.

Someone I consider a master woodworker once told me that a master woodworker is not someone who never makes mistakes. He is someone who is able to cover them up so that no one can tell.
Cherryville Chuck is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #4 of 30 (permalink) Old 01-10-2015, 09:07 AM
Registered User
 
schnewj's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Country: United States
First Name: Bill
Posts: 2,323
 
Default

Stick,

I take it your not a fan of bamboo for anything other then flooring....SNORK

(Did I do the sarcasm right?)

Bill

Hi, sorry I missed you. I have gone to find myself, but if I return before I get back, please ask me to wait.

Nothing ever gets built on schedule or within budget.

Tool Storage Bait and Tackle, LLC.
schnewj is offline  
post #5 of 30 (permalink) Old 01-10-2015, 10:29 AM
Registered User
 
Garyk's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Country: United States
First Name: Gary
Posts: 811
 
Default

Try using bamboo sideways glued together with other woods as a layer of a glued up blank. The ends make a unique look, with the circular appearance, as a layer in a bowl. Really neat in small turned items. Tough on tool edges and they must be kept sharp for good results.
Garyk is offline  
post #6 of 30 (permalink) Old 01-10-2015, 11:18 AM
Registered User
 
GregLittleWoodworks's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2014
Country: United States
First Name: Greg
Posts: 306
 
Default

I made several boxes using bamboo that I got in a sheet form. I just wanted to try it out to see how it worked and how I would like using it. It does work easily and it does splinter easily also. It is also overpriced in my opinion
It is OK but I much prefer wood because the bamboo just looks too repetitive in its appearance and just doesn't have the beauty that wood has.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	1799.02.jpg
Views:	342
Size:	330.7 KB
ID:	85665  

Click image for larger version

Name:	1799.06.jpg
Views:	235
Size:	349.2 KB
ID:	85673  


“Each step of every Wood Art project I design and build is considered my masterpiece… because I want the finished product to reflect the quality and creativeness of my work. I study each piece to get ideas and details that will evolve in my future creations.
GregLittleWoodworks is offline  
post #7 of 30 (permalink) Old 01-10-2015, 11:55 AM Thread Starter
Registered User
 
TWheels's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Country: United States
First Name: Tom
Posts: 1,854
 
Default

OK Stick. Very impressive compilation; almost too much. What are your sources?
I was attracted to bamboo because of the rapid growth and renewability. I have samples that are small pieces that very nicely show how well it stains and how how it is assembled.
You have almost talked me out of it. The high silica content certainly contributes to the rapid tool deterioration. Getting prices for anything other than flooring is a nuisance, and the nearest distributor is on the order of 100 miles (160 km) away.

Thanks very much for all the information. You helped greatly in my ability to make informed decisions.

Vegetarian Arthritic Paraplegic Wannabe Routerologist
The RouterForums member formerly known as mftha or th-alton
"Teach your children what we have taught ours, that the earth is our mother. Whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons of the earth. The earth does not belong to man; man belongs to the earth. Man did not weave the web of life; he is merely a strand in it. We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children."
-attributed to Chief Seattle of the Native American Suquamish Tribe
  • Wood working, especially router work is too much fun to let "disabilities" get in the way.
  • see MEBCWD's signature line; be certain brain is properly powered up and engaged
TWheels is offline  
post #8 of 30 (permalink) Old 01-10-2015, 11:57 AM Thread Starter
Registered User
 
TWheels's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Country: United States
First Name: Tom
Posts: 1,854
 
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by GregLittleWoodworks View Post
I made several boxes using bamboo that I got in a sheet form. I just wanted to try it out to see how it worked and how I would like using it. It does work easily and it does splinter easily also. It is also overpriced in my opinion
It is OK but I much prefer wood because the bamboo just looks too repetitive in its appearance and just doesn't have the beauty that wood has.
That is one very impressive box!
Thank you very much for your image and your comments. They are very helpful.

Vegetarian Arthritic Paraplegic Wannabe Routerologist
The RouterForums member formerly known as mftha or th-alton
"Teach your children what we have taught ours, that the earth is our mother. Whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons of the earth. The earth does not belong to man; man belongs to the earth. Man did not weave the web of life; he is merely a strand in it. We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children."
-attributed to Chief Seattle of the Native American Suquamish Tribe
  • Wood working, especially router work is too much fun to let "disabilities" get in the way.
  • see MEBCWD's signature line; be certain brain is properly powered up and engaged
TWheels is offline  
post #9 of 30 (permalink) Old 01-10-2015, 12:17 PM
Forum Contributor
 
Herb Stoops's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Country: United States
First Name: Herb
Posts: 7,388
 
Default

Great Term Paper. Stick .You get an "A" on this one. Thanks for posting.Very timely too for me . A person wants me to build something out of bamboo and I know nothing about it. I am trying to steer him to hardwood. Now I know I don't want to make it out of bamboo. I was concerned about the fine needle like splinters while working it too.


Greg, I love that box. You blow me away with your carving, WOW. What is that material in the bottom ?

Thanks ,Tom for posting that question, Bamboo is a material that is seldom discussed by wood workers.

Herb
Herb Stoops is offline  
post #10 of 30 (permalink) Old 01-10-2015, 12:28 PM
Registered User
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Country: United States
First Name: Bill
Posts: 749
 
Default

There is an article in the most recent issue of Woodsmith (the newly combined with Shopsmith version) which discusses working with bamboo. Not at all like Stick's dissertation but an interesting article.
billyjim is offline  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the Router Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in











Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode



Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Bamboo fly rod maker JHolton New Member Introductions 6 01-28-2013 03:50 PM
Where to buy bamboo lumber in Ottawa? bobbotron Wood Species 0 12-02-2011 12:05 PM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome