View Full Version : Beginner-- how to cut bamboo
15th April 2005, 08:09 PM
I've got a length of timber bamboo, about four inches in diameter, still very green. I want to make at least two things from it, and I want to be sure to do it right so as not to ruin it. I don't have a ready supply. I have several questions.
First question is, should I try to cut the sections now, or wait until it's no longer green? And is a handsaw sufficient for the job, or should I use my rotary cutter (a dremel tool)?
I have another, smaller piece of bamboo, but it's cracked and not green at all; I'm using it for practice until I know what to do with the nicer piece. Is there anything I need to do to prevent it (the green stalk) from splitting?
Once I have it cut, I want to make a cup. Will it naturally be food-safe once it's sanded smooth and polished, or should I use a varnish of some sort?
Are there any good sites online that have helpful information, besides this one?
Thanks so much for any information.
16th April 2005, 09:03 AM
Do you know the variety of bamboo you have?
Different bamboos have varying tendencys or resistance to splitting, which would be your main concern.
> should I try to cut the sections now, or wait until it's no longer green?
Tough question! I like working with both green - partially dried - and dried.
> And is a handsaw sufficient for the job?
Provided the handsaw has many teeth, and the teeth aren't splayed outwards.
I like razor-tooth saws. Here's an example, from Lowes which has 14 teeth per inch... (I'm looking for another model that has even more teeth for even finer cuts)
see info (http://www.bamboocraft.net/workshop/showphoto.php?photo=1253)
To ensure that you don't get frayed edges on your cut you can wrap the cutting line with masking tape beforehand.
> Is there anything I need to do to prevent it (the green stalk) from splitting?
Apart from drying a stack of bamboo and selecting from the stack the pieces that don't split, and option that you don't have, the other way I know of is to follow the advice of bamboo musical instrument makers - binding or or heat tempering the boo while it is still green, or just taking a chance.
Check out this thread... How to prevent cracks/splits on large dia bamboo musical instruments (http://www.bamboocraft.net/forums/showthread.php?t=951)
> I want to make a cup. Will it naturally be food-safe once it's sanded smooth and polished, or should I use a varnish of some sort?
Well, you can cook food in bamboo but it will leave a stain mark.
Check out this thread... Finishing bamboo cups (http://www.bamboocraft.net/forums/showthread.php?t=819)
> Are there any good sites online that have helpful information, besides this one?
The problem with bamboo is that it covers a diverse range of subjects and arts.
Is there any particular field or endeavor that you are interested in?
16th April 2005, 02:26 PM
I have no idea what kind it is. I got it from a nearby wilderness park, which has a sign that says there are four kinds of timber bamboo growing there. No species are listed specifically. I got my piece from the debrius laying around after our recent hurricane (Ivan) came through. (Most of the fallen 'boo is damaged and rotted, or simply too long or tangled up in other deadfall for me to carry, or I would have gotten more.)
Thanks for the advice on the saw. I'll look for one this week.
I will have to hope mine doesn't crack, in that case-- I've read about the microwave drying technique and may try that.
As for the cup, I plan to only use it for drinking from, not cooking, and probably not any hot beverages anwyay.
Thank you for the links, too, I appreciate the help.