Using Bamboo

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Forum topic by BentheViking posted 01-05-2012 04:07 AM 6139 views 1 time favorited 21 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1782 posts in 3904 days

01-05-2012 04:07 AM

Topic tags/keywords: bamboo

I work at Lumber Liquidators and we sell quite a bit of bamboo floors. Just wondering if any one out there has used bamboo in any projects. Where have you found it to use? Was it just flooring boards that you used in a project or was it regular lumber? Just wondering how it works or if anyone has any thoughts on using/obtaining bamboo that is not flooring.

-- It's made of wood. Real sturdy.--Chubbs Peterson

21 replies so far

View a1Jim's profile


118309 posts in 4917 days

#1 posted 01-05-2012 04:46 AM

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 4414 days

#2 posted 01-05-2012 04:55 AM

If you go to my workshop pictures you will see the workbench I made with a bamboo flooring top. I’m very happy with it.

I don’t have a picture, but I once made a clock with bamboo.

The only bamboo I have used is left over flooring. The only issue is that, IMO, you have to hide the edges. The top surface has been well treated and has a great look. The back and edges do not have that same look.

I think bamboo is a great product to work with in some applications. It is very tough and durable.

We have over 1000 square feet of bamboo on floors in our home.

I don’t know this as a fact, but it seems like bamboo is less likely to move with changes in temperature or humidity. I’ve never notices a problem with our flooring or the work bench top.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View BentheViking's profile


1782 posts in 3904 days

#3 posted 01-05-2012 05:27 AM

Rich I’m glad to hear that you like your bamboo so much. Judging from your work bench it appears you have horizontal natural bamboo which like vertical bamboo is softer than red oak, though is significantly better than RO in terms of its stability. stranded bamboo on the other hand is roughly 2x as hard and stable as RO. Looking at end grains of vertical and horizontal bamboo you can see that they are an engineered/laminated product. When you have stranded bamboo it looks much more like a solid product and you would probably not have any issues in terms of a bad look on the edge to hide.

Still seems like everyone is just re-purposing flooring. I looked up bamboo on wikipedia. there was a section about using it in construction and furniture, but i didn’t see much info that was too helpful. I wonder if it is readily available as lumber in asia? Any asian LJ’s out there? What about californianians? if anyone domestically could get it I bet it would be them.

-- It's made of wood. Real sturdy.--Chubbs Peterson

View usnret's profile


184 posts in 3848 days

#4 posted 01-05-2012 08:41 AM

I made some cutting boards from 1” bamboo that was used for stair treads that are not finished. It looks really good. Machines easily and sands pretty good. I also put in a bamboo wood floor that looks really nice.

-- Chief Petty Officer USN(RET) 1991-2011

View BentheViking's profile


1782 posts in 3904 days

#5 posted 01-09-2012 05:09 AM

horizontal and vertical bamboo is laminated so it probably uses a fair amount of adhesive. stranded is shredded bamboo that is boiled down, but I’m not sure if it dried out into a solid or if they use some sort of adhesive to hold it all together.

-- It's made of wood. Real sturdy.--Chubbs Peterson

View funchuck's profile


119 posts in 4397 days

#6 posted 01-09-2012 06:17 AM

I used bamboo to make fly fishing rods before. You have to be prepared to get a lot of nasty cuts though. For some reason, it takes a little longer for them to heal. I bought actual bamboo (not the flooring). They were around 3” diameter, and I split it lengthwise so I had 8 (I think) full length pieces. Then, I used a block plane to get them to the desired dimension.

The bamboo is pretty thin (about 1/4” to 3/8”), so you’ll probably have to layer them or something, if you want to build furniture, or, maybe use it like a veneer. I got my bamboo from butler bamboo in Santa Ana, CA. Since I work near there, I got to hand pick it too.

-- Charles from California

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1782 posts in 3904 days

#7 posted 01-15-2012 08:01 AM

guess this is answering my own question a bit but I was just watching house crashers on HGTV and came across this company called teragren that makes a ton of bamboo products (all in the us of a). looks like mostly they do flooring, panels, coutertops, and veneers. but on the show they made a slat accent wall using a panel cut down into strips. I’m sure they are probably pretty expensive and crazy heavy, but hey im sure we’ve all used expensive and heavy materials before. At least its environmentally friendly! Also it appears as if they have access to dealers in most parts of the country for anyone that might be interested

I do have to say though I have been wondering a number of my original questions regarding locating and or using eucalyptus since we recently started selling a few floors made from that.

-- It's made of wood. Real sturdy.--Chubbs Peterson

View Tokolosi's profile


678 posts in 3695 days

#8 posted 01-15-2012 10:01 AM

I have experimented with some bamboo floor salvage. I probably did something wrong (or had the wrong blade) – but all the pieces I cut burned so bad on the edges that they were unusable. Smells really good when it burns though.

-- “There is nothing like looking, if you want to find something. You certainly usually find something, if you look, but it is not always quite the something you were after.” ~ JRR Tolkien

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1533 posts in 3701 days

#9 posted 01-15-2012 10:24 AM

The tops, sides, and backs of these pieces are 1/2” T&G bamboo flooring.

-- Clint Searl....Ya can no more do what ya don't know how than ya can git back from where ya ain't been

View BentheViking's profile


1782 posts in 3904 days

#10 posted 01-15-2012 03:10 PM

clint bamboo or not that is an awesome piece both in design and execution. what are the other woods that you used?

-- It's made of wood. Real sturdy.--Chubbs Peterson

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1533 posts in 3701 days

#11 posted 01-15-2012 05:07 PM

@Chubbs – Thanks for the compliment. The frame is dye stained red oak, the upper drawer faces are spalted maple, the lower drawers are spalted beech, and the slider panel is patinated copper. The finish is NC lacquer.

-- Clint Searl....Ya can no more do what ya don't know how than ya can git back from where ya ain't been

View Tomj's profile


204 posts in 3721 days

#12 posted 01-16-2012 01:58 AM

I have used bamboo in bows. I got into woodworking making bows/ laminated bows/selfbows etc.. I agree with everything you Bentheviking said. When it comes to making bows bamboo is considered natures fiberglass. It is very strong in tension (works well on the back of bow) and not so much in compression. Just like different woods have different strengths same goes for bamboo. Some bamboo I wouldn’t use for furniture and especially not for bows. I have never made any furniture with bamboo though I know the Japanese prefer to use Madake A.K.A Japanese Timber Bamboo for furniture (grows to 72’ and 5-6” in diameter) it is very strong and easy to work with because it tends to grow very strait. The second that is usually used in bamboo flooring is “Moso” it is the largest of any bamboo growing to 75’ tall 7-8” in diameter. It is also the bamboo typically used for scaffolding. Bamboo does like to suck up moisture it needs to be sealed well. I myself have some Japanese timber bamboo growing in the backyard, although it most likely will not grow to it’s 72’ because of the climate here on Long Island.

View MrsN's profile


988 posts in 4866 days

#13 posted 01-16-2012 02:36 AM

I have made some cool things from pre-made bamboo cutting boards. The HomeGoods sore near by was clearancing out a bunch and I bought them all for way less then a piece of oak that size.

I just looked to see if the projects had been posted here, but I haven’t posted them.

Here they are

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226 posts in 3708 days

#14 posted 01-16-2012 05:23 PM

Hey MrsN, nice cutting board projects! Whats the process?

-- Ken --------- never try and put 5 lbs. of tenon in a 3 lb. mortise.

View hnderson's profile


4 posts in 3656 days

#15 posted 01-23-2012 04:24 AM


I had the same questions about bamboo. Here’s Wickipedia’s story about Bamboo flooring. It suggests that bamboo flooring uses less glues (usually urea formaldehyde) than some other flooring but also suggests that an overlooked eco concern is transportation as it mostly comes from China.

Here in the pacific Northwest, there are a few bamboo growers. I wonder if it would make sense to purchase local bamboo, process it and then use it for woodworking projects.


-- [email protected]

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