So. What do you do with your bamboo?
That’s a question I would love to hear answered. In the mean time I’ll tell you what we do at Palm Beach Bamboo.
The answer depends on the bamboo! In general when you harvest bamboo canes for use in products or projects you want to follow a few simple rules. Never harvest less than 2 year old cane. If a cane is still vibrant in color, with few rubs or marks, it’s a good bet it’s too young. For the better wood, go deep! That’s right deep in to the clump, this is where you will find the older canes, perhaps even already dead. The already dead ones are great because you can start right away! Some people maintain clumps by cutting a keyhole shape to enter the center, after you remove the oldest cane this way, new culms will be encouraged to shoot in the center again.
After harvest set up a teepee or lean canes against a bamboo plant or tree branch and let the sun get to them a bit, don’t trim off the leaves! Best done in winter in Florida. Not the hottest part of the yard either.. After a couple of weeks, turn them green side out. After a another two weeks you can trim the leaves.
Cut the bamboo to lengths longer than what you need for your project. I like cutting on the node with a bamboo saw and turning over to the back to finish the cut. You can use a hack saw with the blade in reverse ( cuts on the pull not push ) to get close to a bamboo saw. Some people put tape around the cut area to avoid splintering.
Now find a place to let sit for a couple of months. Store horizontally ( not on the ground) , It should be dry, covered ( but with air circulation ) and of moderate climate (not in the sun ). There are ways of speeding this up but they involve fire and some skills, so do it the slow way.
For outdoor construction projects bamboo may need to be treated before this final drying stage.
So now you have beautiful dry bamboo, what do you make?
If the bamboo is dense and thick walled I think walking stick or staff, These item require the ability to take heavy use and a thin wall big chambered bamboo won’t do it.
Since I make Flutes that’s the next thing I look for is thin walls and long internodes ( the distance between the branches or "stops" in the bamboo cane). If I find nice thin walled canes they go in the flute pile to be cut into individual blanks, the pieces of a canes that are not good for flutes as "I" make them go to the next step which is Pan Flutes. Any cracked canes go into the winchime section. Branches and small pieces can be cut to make beads. Everything else can make compost or charcoal.
That’s what I do with them. What do you do? I know some people make small strips and weave baskets, there are so many uses. Go ahead and share. Comment on this blog or use our contact page or drop us a note on facebook Palm Beach Bamboo on Facebook
A Bamboo Plant and Flute Guy