Bamboo bulletin board

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Project by Kindlingmaker posted 04-10-2009 05:39 AM 7651 views 2 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Bulletin Board: overall 51” wide, 36” high
Board 36” wide, 24” high

I had an inspiration! That is where I possibly should have stopped. My wife and I shop at Trader Joe’s and they sell a very nice Charles Shaw Merlot for $2 or “Two Buck Chuck” as it is usually called. I have saved wine corks for some time, (another story), and had large jars filled with them. The wife and I thought about making a bulletin board with them, that’s where the inspiration floated through my head like a second glass of wine. The idea was to make a bulletin board using only Charles Shaw corks and using bamboo as the framework and giving it to Trader Joe’s since they have that tropical theme in their store. Now living on the high desert there is no bamboo so the search began and ended with a 9 hour round trip drive to a store that only sells bamboo. The store is located within a mile of the Pacific Ocean and all the green trees and moist air was a delight but that should have been the biggest clue. When the bamboo arrived home it had come from 90% humidity to 4% humidity. Have you ever heard bamboo explode as it instantly dries? For several weeks and still today the bamboo is drying, shirking then splits with an explosive sound like a small caliber gun going off, (I ducked twice). I had to work carefully and quickly before the 10 foot long by 2 inch diameter pole became toothpicks. (Oh, I should say here that I bought 10 poles, a minimum buy.) I had to figure out how to dado cut the poles so the birch plywood would slip inside, (the main board), and how to cut the corners of the bamboo frame so they locked together like the logs of a cabin. This is where I should have given up for the second time. Using the table saw I did a test plunge cut then a rip. Ever feel that you should not be doing something when you are in the middle of doing it and you can not stop? I found that ripping one side of bamboo that it relieves a lot of built up stresses and recreates that really loud explosive sound as large cracks develop where I am holding on to it!
For the locking notches for the frame corners I went to the band saw. I didn’t have to clean off the saw table of the small pieces of fall offs because the same thing happened as with the table saw, the bamboo relieved itself of stress with that explosive sound and the pieces blew off the table. (Hummm maybe I could patent this…)
Assembly of the frame at the same time as the birch ply back board was another sign that I should have quit while I was behind. All it took was TiteBond III, Epoxy, Clear Silicon, Liquid Nails and 100 yards of hemp cord saturated with the TiteBond III. If it wasn’t for the hemp cord the whole thing would have come apart during another round of shrinking explosions.
Since wine corks are round I decided to trim one side flat so they would glue easily to the backing board and show the name on the up side. For this I made a little jig and started cutting them on the band saw. Quickly I found out why others use zero clearance plates on band saws as the slivers of cork plunged down inside the saw works and started making a lot of noise. Heavy aluminum tape does not help close the gap as the tape was hit by the cork and it too was drawn inside the saw works. (I thought to myself, “It’s still not too late to stop this project”.) After several hours of cutting corks, (Did I mention how many corks are needed for a bulletin board? Answer, 520 for 2×3 foot board) and with cork slivers and dust everywhere I counted them. I was short a half a dozen corks. This is when I had to make a decision whether to wait for a few weeks to drink enough wine or start the drinking. I said to the wife, “We need to do this for the good of all woodworkers everywhere and to finish the project” and so the bottles were opened and the sacrifice of drinking began. Has anyone ever glued corks on a board as a bamboo framework is making exploding sounds while getting rather drunk?
Next morning a bit of miracle happened, opening up the shop and looking at the finished bulletin board it looked rather good or at least through blood shot, burry eyes and a throbbing headache.
I called Trader Joe’s and told that I had made them a bulletin board and rather excitedly they said please bring it in and we will hang it in our store. MickeyD and I are headed for the store and will present the bulletin board to them.

A safety note: It is our hard fast rule that no one is allowed in the shop, including us, if they have had any alcohol when there is a machine running or going to be run or those scary sharp hand tools are in use.

About 4 weeks have passed. Trader Joe’s hung the cork board above the manager’s desk after adding some wooden letters to it saying “Palmdale’s Young Artist Series”. I am very please that they gave the board such a nice place in their store and for a good purpose. The back of the board has MickeyD’s and my name on it along with; the back of the board can be seen through the front window of the store.

-- Never board, always knotty, lots of growth rings

7 comments so far

View Dan'um Style's profile

Dan'um Style

14193 posts in 5445 days

#1 posted 04-10-2009 07:00 AM

Neat posting … the project came out really nice. ...

I 2nd your last statement … BOOZE and woodworking are a SAD combination

-- keeping myself entertained ... Humor and fun lubricate the brain

View Big_Bob's profile


173 posts in 5171 days

#2 posted 04-10-2009 07:11 AM


Nice work! Woodworking is about having fun! And this project looks like you two have enough fun to make it all worth it. Just think if Trader Joe’s likes this maybe they can give you enough wine to make a bulletin board for all their stores.

-- Bob Clark, Tool Collector and Sawdust Maker

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


24657 posts in 5138 days

#3 posted 04-10-2009 09:17 AM

Kindlingmaker, sounds like you lived up to your name, you must be knee deep in bamboo kindling ;-)) Great story about mis-adventures in woodworking. I had to cut some falling over bamboo along our fence line. Never being one to throw anything away, I stuck it in the shed to dry. I wonder how explosive it will be?

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View rtb's profile


1101 posts in 5175 days

#4 posted 04-10-2009 03:22 PM

A wonderful tale with a lot of lessons included not the least of which is the last. I can do enough stupid things sober. My rule also includes driving. If you have to drive don’t drink not even ‘just one’. Oh yes its a great looking board and must have taken hours.

-- RTB. stray animals are just looking for love

View Spoontaneous's profile


1340 posts in 4792 days

#5 posted 04-15-2009 05:46 AM

The board IS pretty cool, and the story makes it even better.

-- I just got done cutting three boards and all four of them were too short. (true story)

View learnin2do's profile


891 posts in 4313 days

#6 posted 03-23-2011 01:02 AM

That looks impossible….

-- ~christine @ used2btrees

View Dan Hux's profile

Dan Hux

577 posts in 4836 days

#7 posted 04-03-2011 04:39 PM

great story,,I laughed and laughed..great looking board,,

-- Dan Hux,,,,Raleigh, NC

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