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Author Topic: Bamboo split before I even got it in  (Read 9340 times)

taralynna

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Bamboo split before I even got it in
« on: May 08, 2008, 12:25:17 AM »
I tore apart my pond so that I could install a bamboo fence on the West side of it.  The pond is torn apart, the waterfall is torn apart, concrete footings are poured and ... the bamboo is split.  UGHHH!  I thought it was supposed to last 5-7 years !  Now what?  I am so frusterated.  I did everything I was supposed to.  I pre-drilled the holes, used galvenized screws, put a tarp over the bamboo.  The poles are not even split near the screws. 

What can I do?  Does anyone know if the iron bamboo is better?  Any ideas why I got 3 months instead of 5-7 years out of this bamboo?  (It purchased in a roll, stained and treated).  UGHHH!

don

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Re: Bamboo split before I even got it in
« Reply #1 on: May 08, 2008, 11:17:32 AM »
That is the  nature of bamboo.  It can be unpredictable - especially if it isn't cured.  Sectioned bamboo does not split as easily.  I "pre-split" bamboo poles down the side I want split. This takes the tension off the other sides while curing.  Timber bamboo has a thicker wall, but takes longer to cure.  When I use thick-walled bamboo for piping, I split it, carve out the membranes, install a copper pipe and tie it back together with copper wire, then cover the wire with black palm rope.

Is it so bad you can't still use it?

taralynna

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Re: Bamboo split before I even got it in
« Reply #2 on: May 08, 2008, 04:32:05 PM »
The fence is useable,  though some of the bamboo split badly. What I'm concerned about is that once installed, its going to be very very hard to replace it.  I assumed that because the bamboo was already splitting the life of the bamboo would be much shorter.  Am I mistaken?  Have I bought badly cured bamboo or is this normal?

bamboo

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Re: Bamboo split before I even got it in
« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2008, 08:18:16 PM »
The bamboo lasts about as long either way. Bamboo splits to relieve tensions that occur when it dries. Because I grow my own I can replace pieces that are very ugly as needed. Slow drying it in the shade might ease the splitting a bit but not all of it.
Today I had bamboo shoots from the newly emerged culms that showed up where unwanted, mmmm.


Tom

gardesignr

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Re: Bamboo split before I even got it in
« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2008, 01:04:09 PM »
It has been my experience that bamboo goes through a life cycle from new culm to dead culm in around 5 years. Culms that are not 'mature' enough split easily, and dead culms do as well. Culms that are 3-4 years old seem to resist splitting best. I talked to Yama about this and he agreed. If you are cutting the bamboo yourself, you can keep up with the relative ages of the culms rather easily. If you are buying it from someone else, though, you have to trust that they know what they are doing. Also, the 'thick-walled' bamboo varieties seem to resist splitting better than the thin-walls, as Don pointed out. I have also found that the screw holes should be large enough that the screws only just fit their holes. I think it reduces some of the tension placed on the bamboo that results in splitting, whereas tightly-fitting screws exert too much outward pressure.

These are my personal observations ... can anyone else concur? ben

don

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Re: Bamboo split before I even got it in
« Reply #5 on: May 19, 2008, 04:01:31 PM »
Ben, I agree.  Three years is the desirable minimum age.  But some varieties only last three.  And, yes - ALWAYS predrill holes in bamboo. I like tacks when you can, but when you have to, make sure not to drive screws too deep and split it anyway.  :'(

cocobolo

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Re: Bamboo split before I even got it in
« Reply #6 on: October 25, 2008, 10:54:44 PM »
OK, here's a reply from a carpenter.  Retired.
With the bamboo split already, obviously there is not much you can do.
However, when you go to drill and nail the bamboo, rather than screw it, use a galvanized finishing nail.  A very small hole and a very small nail will do.  Just as the head of the finishing nail reaches the outside of the culm - STOP!  Don't nail it up tight.  As with may things in carpentry, it is always that last hit that does the damage.  Leave it just the tiniest bit loose.  Just a paper thickness.  If there is no pressure on the culm, it stands a far better chance of not splitting.  Think about that for a minute and it will make perfect sense to you.

bamboo

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Re: Bamboo split before I even got it in
« Reply #7 on: October 28, 2008, 10:15:23 AM »
I would like to suggest using stainless steel siding nails which have about the same diameter as a galvanized finish nail but do not rust or stain and have a larger head. If you put a piece of tape on your pilot drill as a guage you can also predrill 3/4 the length of the nail and then the final taps will set it firmly enough as the nails are ring shanked.

cocobolo

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Re: Bamboo split before I even got it in
« Reply #8 on: October 28, 2008, 09:48:43 PM »
Good point Bamboo.
Of course, the actual size of the nail will depend on the size of the culm.  Fortunately, bamboo is quite light, so it does not take too much to hold it.  I use the smallest possible nail, usually about twice the length of the culm width.  I.E., a 3/4" culm, 1 1/2" nail.  I know that is not the general rule for nail length, but in this case it seems to work....at least for me....so far....
What length are your siding nails Bamboo?  About 2 1/4"?

taralynna

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Re: Bamboo split before I even got it in
« Reply #9 on: November 04, 2008, 12:55:06 AM »
We pre-drilled the holes and used screws that flared on the end.  The screw threads did not go through the bamboo they were for screwing into the 4x4.  The flared heads are what held the bamboo to the 4x4, by not allowing it to slip off.  As for the bamboo it was wired together by the sellers in a roll.  I just needed to attach it at the top and bottom to my frame.  The spits didnt seem to be because of the drilled holes.

Ltfuzz

  • Santa Cruz CA
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Re: Bamboo split before I even got it in
« Reply #10 on: November 04, 2008, 01:00:17 PM »
Hi,
I installed bamboo as a structural reinforcement on my dobashi style bridge four years ago. I drilled all of the holes slightly larger than the galvanized roofing nails I used. There has been no splitting under considerable traffic. The nails are not real pretty, but they have been a good solution to the problem and the bamboo addition between logs gave the bridge a huge boost in structural strength. It eliminated almost all of the previous "wiggle". Here's a picture.
Dave

cocobolo

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Re: Bamboo split before I even got it in
« Reply #11 on: November 04, 2008, 11:46:44 PM »
Dave:
I can't quite see how you nailed the bamboo on.  Did you put nails through the bamboo into BOTH adjoining logs?
That would seem to me to improve the strength, no doubt about it.

Ltfuzz

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Re: Bamboo split before I even got it in
« Reply #12 on: November 05, 2008, 01:37:26 PM »
The nails are alternating into adjacent logs. I have put some arrows on the picture showing the direction of the nails. They are still very tight and the bamboo around the nails has shown no sign of deterioration.
I got the bamboo from a neighbor's yard. He had removed it all from his front (an area of about 8 by 20 feet) and put it in the street. I cleaned it up and kept it for a couple of years before I decided to use it to strengthen the bridge. Funny, I remember thinking, "you just can't throw all of that away!".
« Last Edit: November 05, 2008, 01:39:27 PM by Ltfuzz »

cocobolo

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Re: Bamboo split before I even got it in
« Reply #13 on: November 05, 2008, 05:11:18 PM »
Yes, that's what I thought you did.  Good thing your neighbour chucked it out!

 

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