Author Topic: Best method for drying bamboo quickly  (Read 507 times)

Offline bdsmith1

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Best method for drying bamboo quickly
« on: December 28, 2019, 08:51:31 AM »
Hey guys,

So I've found some local bamboo and I've started processing it.  I've heard about the pitfalls, but there aren't too many instructional type posts that I've found. I've heard bamboo likes to check and curl when drying and kiln drying it exaggerated that.  I've gotten it to the point below, but I would love to be using it in a few weeks. Is that possible? Can I get it there without damage?

Thanks

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Online Eric Krewson

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Re: Best method for drying bamboo quickly
« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2019, 09:20:00 AM »
Split green like you have it has a tendency to cup as it dries, flat turns into a tight "U". Some does some doesn't, mine always did. I have processed a bunch of bamboo and found it is best to leave the trunk whole and use a hoe handle to punch out all the nodes inside so air can flow through the bamboo and dry it. When the trunk turns tan it is ready to use for bows. Sometimes I super glue the ends to stop checking.

I am drying this batch now;

 

Offline bdsmith1

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Re: Best method for drying bamboo quickly
« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2019, 09:31:15 AM »
How long does it usually take for the whole trunk to dry?  I've kept mine in the shop and it tends to stay green unless it's outside. I think the sun is what changes the color in bamboo right?  I find a lot of "dead" bamboo that's pretty tan when I'm out. Is there any issue with using it as long as it isn't checked or too blemished?

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Online Pat B

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Re: Best method for drying bamboo quickly
« Reply #3 on: December 28, 2019, 10:04:12 AM »
Use only fresh, green, mature culms(canes). Bamboo will deteriorate quickly once it dies. And yes, the sun will bleach out the cane and I don't think the green color will last anyway.
In the right conditions the cane should dry in a month or so but longer is always better.
Make the most of all that comes and the least of all that goes!
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Online KenH

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Re: Best method for drying bamboo quickly
« Reply #4 on: December 28, 2019, 10:13:11 AM »
There IS no short cut to drying bamboo.  TIME is the key.  Be patient Grasshopper.

As mentioned I leave the fresh green culms whole and punch out the nodes before racking and drying. Some species of bamboo are naturally tan in color; some green, some black; some mottled.  Don't worry about culm color except when harvesting and then cut only mature new culms (not the old dried dead culms) twice as large in diameter as you think you'll need.   
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Offline bdsmith1

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Re: Best method for drying bamboo quickly
« Reply #5 on: December 28, 2019, 11:13:44 AM »
Good to know.  "Slow is smooth, smooth is fast" is the motto. Do you use a fan for air flow?  Any insects to worry about? I live in GA, so the summer heat will probably check it if I don't keep it inside anyways. I'm just worried about storage space. I'm in a phase of mass material prep right now, so I can spend some time building outdoor storage if it would be ok to keep it in the shade under a lean.

Thanks

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Online KenH

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Re: Best method for drying bamboo quickly
« Reply #6 on: December 28, 2019, 12:55:57 PM »
Shaded and dry would be good.  Certainly don't need anything special.  Sealing the ends will definitely Help.  Don't need a fan, but you do need to make sure air can flow through the tubes.
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Online Eric Krewson

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Re: Best method for drying bamboo quickly
« Reply #7 on: December 28, 2019, 04:39:10 PM »
My thought is if you stand it up right with the nodes knocked out the clum will form a natural chimney and cold air from the ground level will warm slightly up the trunk and keep the air moving.

I store mine in an unheated corner of my shop. My bamboo is very dark when I start the drying process and turns tan as it dries.


Offline hunting badger

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Re: Best method for drying bamboo quickly
« Reply #8 on: December 28, 2019, 04:58:29 PM »
How big of a culm do you need to make backing for 1 1/2" bows?

Online Roy from Pa

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Re: Best method for drying bamboo quickly
« Reply #9 on: December 28, 2019, 06:07:16 PM »
3.5 to 4 inches diameter

Online Flem

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Re: Best method for drying bamboo quickly
« Reply #10 on: December 29, 2019, 10:45:17 PM »
Did you grow that Bamboo, Eric? That looks like quality stuff.

Online Eric Krewson

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Re: Best method for drying bamboo quickly
« Reply #11 on: December 30, 2019, 08:51:29 AM »
No, there was an old guy across town that started it in his backyard, I would buy it from him for $15 a culm, his patch was about 1/2 acre and spreading. This bamboo is mandrake or giant timber bamboo.

Anyway, the old guy died, I wondered what happened to his place. I saw an ad on craigslist for free bamboo and recognized the place in the picture as the old guys. I immediately called about the bamboo and the new owner told me it was an old ad and that they had bulldozed the patch. He said I could go over and salvage anything I wanted to out of the burn pile.

It was heartbreaking, once beautiful bamboo up to 8" in diameter broken and splintered in a burn pile about 60' long and 10' high. Had I seen the add earlier I could have cut a lifetime supply of standing bamboo for every bowmaker I know of. This is the best bamboo I have ever used for bow making.

I salvaged some sections out of the burn pile but it had been out in the weather for a few months, the top was tan the bottom was green. It appears sound and strong but I am reluctant to use it.

Here is what I salvaged, it has since seasoned to an even tan color.

« Last Edit: December 30, 2019, 04:11:14 PM by Eric Krewson »

Online Flem

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Re: Best method for drying bamboo quickly
« Reply #12 on: December 30, 2019, 11:00:10 AM »
Damn, thats a sad story. Hate to hear of folks just trashing good materials. Thats the kind of Bamboo you can build with. I was thinking about growing Bamboo, but the large stuff don't like the cold. That and I was surprised how expensive it is to buy the little shoots that can be shipped.

Offline bdsmith1

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Re: Best method for drying bamboo quickly
« Reply #13 on: December 31, 2019, 09:02:50 PM »
Dang. Sorry to hear that. If you need any boo, I wouldn't mind sending any your way as soon as I get the process worked out.  Should have some good stuff in a month or so. 

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Online Eric Krewson

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Re: Best method for drying bamboo quickly
« Reply #14 on: January 01, 2020, 08:55:37 AM »
I have more bambo than I will ever use, most of it is flattened, thinned and ready to go. This is an old picture, before my last batch was worked up.


Offline bdsmith1

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Re: Best method for drying bamboo quickly
« Reply #15 on: January 01, 2020, 10:54:32 AM »
And that's all I want in life haha

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