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Old 19-05-2011, 20:23   #16
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Re: How Does Bamboo Hold Up ?

There are over 1000 species of bamboo. Some grow as much as 10 feet overnite!

Some are very durable. The big bamboo bar in my basement was built in Singapore in 1955. It's been dragged all over the world, and is still solid as a rock.

If you're planning to use bamboo for a marine application, it would be good to know something about the properties of the various species.


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Old 19-05-2011, 21:52   #17
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Re: How Does Bamboo Hold Up ?

Read The China Voyage by Tim Severin to see how not to make a bamboo raft--they had to be rescued.

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Old 19-05-2011, 23:47   #18
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Re: How Does Bamboo Hold Up ?

If you're interested it's a subject that has been debated at length elsewhere. bamboo planks - Boat Design Forums

People have taken different approaches with different results. I'll wait till my own experiments are complete to form my opinion.
Bamboo is a complicated material to work with for cold molding. Most people are using momo bamboo, a giant variant, to get stock large enogh to plane out small planks for cold molding. The exterior skin must be removed as well as the soft interior culm. Getting enough straight even stock planed out for cold molding is a big enough job most people consider it prohibitive, but I'm still playing with some jigs. A good source for momo helps. I'm also still playing with airplane scarfs and finger joints to make getting long straight planks easier....
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Old 20-05-2011, 00:49   #19
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Re: How Does Bamboo Hold Up ?

Glenn Tieman's Wharram designed "Child of the Sea" has bamboo spars. There are several pictures here ...James Wharram Catamarans - Photo albums.
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Old 20-05-2011, 01:13   #20
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Re: How Does Bamboo Hold Up ?

I replaced the timber on my swim platform 3yrs ago with bamboo planks.The boat is in the water for 9 months of the year. When I fitted the planks I gave it 3 coats of clear finish which lasted the first year. By the time it comes to haul the boat for winter the bamboo is very dark with mould. This just pressure cleans off and I recoat with clear.Splinters are not a problem. The bamboo planks are approx 5 inches wide by 3ft 6ins long. Would I use it again probably not.For the first couple of months after recoating it looks great but soon looses its finish.
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Old 20-05-2011, 02:57   #21
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Re: How Does Bamboo Hold Up ?

i have used bamboo for poleing out genoas on 2 circumnavigations,light and strong,but needs pickling in/under salt water when first cut to kill the borers.
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Old 20-05-2011, 08:17   #22
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Re: How Does Bamboo Hold Up ?

Dimensional lumber made from bamboo fibers is starting to become available. The bamboo is chopped into splinters. It is then treated to remove starches and sugar. The resulting fibers are put in a mold, compressed to several thousand pounds and injected with resin. The result is a very hard, stable plank. I saw 2" X 4" X 8' planks for sale on the internet for $8.00 plus shipping. It has a high silica content so insects don't like to eat it. It is also hard on cutting blades, like teak.
Bamboo plywood is also available.
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Old 20-05-2011, 08:33   #23
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Re: How Does Bamboo Hold Up ?

My latest sport is stand up paddle boarding.
The board I use is a Tahoe SUP. The top is made with bamboo instead of fiberglass. The board is made with epoxy resin. They call it bamboo tech.
Very similar to cold molding but with a foam core. Not very rugged but very light. The 14 ft board weighs 30 lbs.

Check out the Zephyr model. Lots of fun.
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Old 20-05-2011, 12:26   #24
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Re: How Does Bamboo Hold Up ?

Atoll had a very good point. If you take your freshly cut bamboo and put it in seawater for a couple of weeks the bugs will stay out of it and it'll remain strong. Yes, on the use of spars. It is a truly remarkable plant for some purposes but it just doesn't seem to justify all the work to get an 8 ft. 2x4 that sells for $3.97 at home depot.
I love bamboo for what it is but don't want to make it into something it isn't meant to be.
I have a friend who has used it to build daggerboards for catamarans and it looks and performs great but it is a labor intensive and expensive thing to do.

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