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Bamboo - use and preservation treatment?

 
Jack Shawburn
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I've been trying to find some information on working with Bamboo.
I understand heat is used to "carbonise" it and that this preserves it too.
Culms are heated over a fire and then bent in order to straighten them.
Some bamboo I split and used as hoops over beds were eaten by borers in one season.
Any pointers?
 
Matthew Fallon
Posts: 308
Location: long island, ny Z-7a
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i use a little propane torch for heat-curing bamboo for making flutes and soem other craftwork.
move slowly and steadily with a low flame along the pole,you'll see the color change from green to yellow,brown,dark brown,almost like you're airbrushing it. keep a rag handy for wiping down the surface resins that exude from the skin and ends.go from 1 end to the other so as not to trap moisture in spots.

it can help prevent cracking. i've never tried straightening it with heat but i know it's used for bending,it's really steam-bending. if the boo is fresh/wet/green then the heat is essentially making steam.adding sand inside prevents it from creasing . it's important to either 1: knock a hole through the nodes inside, or 2: drill a tiny hole between each internode/joint to relieve pressure,otherwise it could explode!!!bamboo in the campfire was used in asia to scare away tigers i heard.

heating,and a little beeswax/tung oil mix are the only things i use to preserve bamboo.it doesnt need much help! takes forever to decompose.

www.bamboocraft.net is a great site for these kind of questions.

not a great video, but this will show you what i mean by keeping the flame moving and changing color.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_dbq9h7Xu6Q
 
Jack Shawburn
Posts: 230
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Tribal,
Thanks for putting me on the right track.
It led me to Boucherie method - which led me to this.
http://abari.org/treatment
Really simple and easy - will try in the spring.
After the Boucherie method I'll probably still try carbonising long pieces by "smoking"
them in a pipe , vertically over a fire... might work.
 
                                
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We have used the Boucherie method, it's actually quite difficult, with the main problems being leaking fittings and having to treat bamboo on the same day it's harvested.

We've found soaking in 10% Timbor to be effective, for large poles Vertical Soak Diffusion (VSD) is good. There is a PDF here with good info http://www.bamboocentral.org/index1.htm

The most important thing is harvesting mature bamboo (3+ years).
 
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