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Working with Bamboo General discussion: All aspects about design, construction, tools and techniques.

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  #1  
Old 8th February 2006, 10:41 PM
mistergwinge
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: USA - New York
Posts: 1
Making a bamboo skateboard

Hey, I recently have gained access to an essentially endless supply of bamboo ( has been growing for over 40 years) and been wanting to know something. I have access to bamboo up to about 3 inches in diameter, I
believe it is some Phyllostachys species.
Is there anyway the average joe can make a plywood type sheet out of bamboo?
I'm interested in making a skateboard out of this. It needs to be strong yet have the ability to flex if around 120 lbs is put on it.
Any tips on how I can do this would be great, thanks!
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  #2  
Old 18th February 2007, 10:44 PM
andrew3
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: USA - Maryland, Severn
Posts: 4
Making a bamboo skateboard

I've been toying with the idea of making a longboard skateboard out of bamboo, but have no idea what kind of bamboo one would use or how to prepare/work with bamboo. I have looked over this site for a while and it looks like there is alot of information to get me started. Thanks for your help.
-Andrew
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  #3  
Old 19th February 2007, 03:30 AM
Mark Meckes
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: USA - Texas, Austin
Posts: 2,374
I've searched the net but can't find any detailed instructions on making a bamboo skateboard deck.
It appears that one method is to apply layers of bamboo veneer over a core of possibly another material, and another method is from strips of bamboo that have been laminated/glued together, similar to how bamboo flooring is made.
Bamboo laminated flooring is most commonly made from bamboo that has thicker walls such as Moso Phyllostachys edulis, ... and I saw some very sturdy flooring made from Guadua angustifolia, a tropical species.

Most Phyllostachys species hardy to colder temperate climates are not as thick walled, with the exception of the bottom 1-3ft portion of the culm.

It would be an interesting challenge to make your own laminated bamboo.
Splitting the bamboo into strips can be readily accomplished but it would take some steps to plane the bamboo into strips of uniform thickness prior to gluing and pressing into a mold if a shaped deck is desired ...

With larger diameter bamboo, there is less of a curvature in the strips used, or the strips can be made wider, with less material that needs to be planed off to make them flat.

Nonetheless it is possible with smaller diameter bamboo, just more tedious, and I look forward to the day that someone shows it can be done.

Mark
Mark Meckes - www.bamboocraft.net

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  #4  
Old 20th February 2007, 10:37 PM
andrew3
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: USA - Maryland, Severn
Posts: 4
Thanks for the info Mark. Now that I have an ID on my bamboo, I figured that I would give it a shot. I am thinking that I will just take bamboo I have and try to prepare it into a usable form.
Is there an article on how to prepare the bamboo into strips? Do I have to dry the bamboo first, then split? If so how long to dry? How does drying affect the strength of bamboo? Sorry, it is alot of questions but I am not even sure where to start.
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  #5  
Old 21st February 2007, 05:36 AM
Mark Meckes
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: USA - Texas, Austin
Posts: 2,374
Very culmendable Andrew, to at least give it try.
It would probably be the only skateboard on this planet made from Yellow Groove Bamboo, (Phyllostachys aureosulcata) not because it isn't possible but because I bet no one has ever done it.

Sorry I can't provide you with first-hand experience laminating bamboo.
I personally prefer to work with bamboo 'in the round' and in it's natural form, and as I don't have a typical workshop setup with tools used for working in dimensional lumber, I haven't explored this area, though if I had the time I would, as I'm curious what it would lead to ... Turning bamboo into dimensional lumber opens up many more possibilities in it's use.

By happenstance, I saw a part of a DIY program on the telly last night and they were making a dog house (from plywood). Then what they did was got a whole bunch of old worn out skateboard decks from who knows where and cut them in half and used them as shingles over the roof and sides of the dog house. Very funky! What they mentioned, as they cut up these skatebords was a precaution, donning eye protection, due to various types of core materials sandwiched in the layers of materials used to make these skateboards.
... which brings me to the question of whether you plan to make this from solid bamboo or plan to add another core material.
I imagine it would be possible to make it from bamboo alone, with multiple layers of laminated bamboo, and I guess the best thing would be to experiment with the laminating process and see what strenght of board you can come up with.
Bamboo strips can be laminated vertically IIIII or layered horizontally ===, and possibly both methods could be employed.
The big question is ... what is the maximum size thickness and width of strips that could be obtained from the largest diameter of your bamboo, and how much material would you need to plane off of these strips to achieve squared strips suitable for glueing together.

The first criteria is to select mature poles to work with - not the fresh green looking poles, but if possible culms that are around 5 years old.
Age isn't the only factor that makes a culm stronger as it also has to do with growing conditions, amount of branches and leaves growing on the culm and how much sunlight it received during it's lifetime. After you handle and experiment with materials of various age and quality you will notice culmparable differences, and be able to know what is obtainable and select the best material for your project.

Quote:
Is there an article on how to prepare the bamboo into strips?
Here's a link to some pics at the workshop gallery on Splitters and splitting bamboo
You could use any number of tools ranging from a hatchet to a cleaver.
A thicker blade opens up the split better.
Splitting is easier if the nodes have first been punched out with an iron bar or length of rebar, but with smaller diameter bamboo they are harder to punch out.
The radial splitters make easy work of splitting, and with a blade it is easiest to split the bamboo in half, then in half again and so forth.
It requires practice to guide the split where you want it to split and also depends on the grain of each piece of bamboo on how well it splits.

Quote:
Do I have to dry the bamboo first, then split? If so how long to dry?
Though bamboo can be dried first prior to splitting, it is easier to split it when it is green and also it will dry faster and more evenly after it has been split. It can dry naturally at room temperature within a couple of weeks, and this could be speeded up.

Quote:
How does drying affect the strength of bamboo?
Bamboo hardens and stiffens as it dries.
This is an interesting question as to whether heat tempering or speeding up the drying temperature in any way increases the strength or stiffness of the bamboo.
See also this thread discussing Heat Curing / Tempering Bamboo
This is an area that needs more research.

This is very interesting project. Take pics.

Mark
Mark Meckes - www.bamboocraft.net

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  #6  
Old 8th March 2007, 01:37 AM
minibamboo
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: China - Shang hai
Posts: 12
Hi andrew

We are a bamboo skateboard decks manufacturer in China, can we talk about it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by andrew3 View Post
I've been toying with the idea of making a longboard skateboard out of bamboo, but have no idea what kind of bamboo one would use or how to prepare/work with bamboo. I have looked over this site for a while and it looks like there is alot of information to get me started. Thanks for your help.
-Andrew
See images. Skateboard size is 31" X 8"
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  #7  
Old 8th March 2007, 02:01 AM
Mark Meckes
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: USA - Texas, Austin
Posts: 2,374
Hi minibamboo,
This site caters primarily to recreational hobbyists and artisans, but you are welcome to explain the procedure that you use to make bamboo skateboards.

Mark
Mark Meckes - www.bamboocraft.net

My Photos: Gallery
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  #8  
Old 8th March 2007, 02:55 AM
Mark Meckes
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: USA - Texas, Austin
Posts: 2,374
minibamboo, I have attached images you provide with your above post.

Mark
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  #9  
Old 25th August 2009, 01:44 PM
daltse
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Coventry, England
Posts: 2
Hi,

Im a pupil at Rugby school, england and i've decided to make a Bamboo longboard for my A level design project.

I can't find any information on making bamboo longboards on the internet so I was wondering if anyone could give me any information or photos of the manufacturing process?

Any info at all would be greatly appreciated!
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  #10  
Old 25th August 2009, 02:45 PM
CaroleMeckes
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: USA - Texas, Austin
Posts: 1,302
Quote:
Originally Posted by daltse View Post
Hi, I can't find any information on making bamboo longboards on the internet so I was wondering if anyone could give me any information or photos of the manufacturing process?
You might want to start with using some already made bamboo flooring. That would eliminate you having to figure out how to make the flooring - which is an involved project -
Carole
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  #11  
Old 26th August 2009, 06:54 AM
daltse
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Coventry, England
Posts: 2
i guess you are referring to removing the process of making vertically laminated bamboo and so i presume that bamboo flooring works well for longboards?
do you know of any suppliers where i can get a decent deal on some bamboo?
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  #12  
Old 26th August 2009, 07:07 AM
CaroleMeckes
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: USA - Texas, Austin
Posts: 1,302
Most business that sell carpet also sell bamboo flooring (at least here in the US) so try checking with some local flooring companies.

If you want to try to make it totally on your own, try splitting the bamboo and glueing the splits together.

Carole
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  #13  
Old 29th September 2009, 04:02 AM
skatebamboo
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: HANGZHOU,China
Posts: 1
100%bamboo Skateboard

I have developed a 100% bamboo skateboard no maple involved!great shape and pop.I work directly with the research center and factory,now we have got it just right and can assure you this board is a great ride! for more info contact me at skatebamboo@gmail.com
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  #14  
Old 14th February 2011, 10:23 PM
gigi_herang
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: indonesia
Posts: 1
Quote:
Originally Posted by skatebamboo View Post
I have developed a 100% bamboo skateboard no maple involved!great shape and pop.I work directly with the research center and factory,now we have got it just right and can assure you this board is a great ride! for more info contact me at skatebamboo@gmail.com
i am a newbi about make sk8board...
can u tell's me more detail about processing bambo0 sk8...

plsss and very pleaseeee....
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