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John Nausieda
(Meander) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Bamboo on 02/07/2011 18:33:54 MST Print View

While I can't recommend this story since it is sketchy in the details there may be some promise here in combining bamboo with hardening resins. I grow Black Bamboo which is about 20 feet tall in mature culms. When I was in China I commonly saw child carriers made from bamboo for mounting on bikes. If you have need of some I may be able to provide it. Shipping is a trick. I'm in Portland Oregon

Edited by Meander on 02/07/2011 18:34:25 MST.

drowning in spam
(leaftye) - F

Locale: SoCal
Re: Bamboo on 02/07/2011 18:44:48 MST Print View

Have you used any of your bamboo for backpacking?

I know bamboo is pretty strong and versatile. My grandmothers house was made out of it, along with several other structures on the property. My relatives learned of other uses for bamboo during the war.

Brian Austin
(footeab) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Bamboo on 02/07/2011 18:50:45 MST Print View

Yup, for strength to weight ratios you can't really beat wood. The problem is attaching to it correctly. Just like in composites. That and it rots...

All bamboo is not equal.

From wood flooring research I was doing for houses I was finishing, I found out that the time of year you harvest said bamboo had a distinct effect on its material properties. How hard it is and also how brittle. I don't know off hand which part of the year is which. I would guess early summer verses late summer and however that translates into the ol' PNW. My grandparents had bamboo and we used it all the time for all kinds of projects that didn't need 2x4 construction as flat is easier to attach to than round.

Have you noticed this while harvesting your bamboo? Maybe we don't have a long enough growing period? As I recall from my very minor minor "harvesting" days is that early summer it was very supple, and late summer/fall it was actually hard. Old memories and the fact we might have waited a winter to harvest as well.

John Nausieda
(Meander) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Bamboo on 02/07/2011 19:17:08 MST Print View

It's all pretty intricate. When I was in China for a year I studied both Lanterns and Kites as traditional and evolving folk arts. I went to Weifang which is one of the hubs of traditional kite production. They used at least at the time Timber Bamboos from regions very far South. They essentially plane away everything but the outer mature structure which I would equate with hardwood in a non-grass. No fluid flow there. In my situation it took 25 years to grow the black from root cuttings. My stands defy the logic of local experts who proclaimed them impossible as they had no irrigation in our dead hot desert summers. I have a great respect for the growth logic of bamboo as I do for many plants and trees-my gig.capable of leaping 20 feet under concrete and between buildings . It is still the regular scaffold material in China even when building skyscrapers. The internet amplifies all of this . There seems to be lots of structural /building information the more Southern you get in World Climates.
BPL seems to stop at wood, metal, carbon fiber, and rolled foam. You can train bamboo and wisteria into ovals .

Edited by Meander on 02/07/2011 19:21:10 MST.

Steven Paris
(saparisor) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Bamboo . . . bicycles on 02/07/2011 19:36:57 MST Print View

Totally off subject, but these Calfee bikes are beautiful:

@John: River City used to have one on the floor, if you are ever curious to see one of these. : )

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Bamboo . . . bicycles on 02/07/2011 19:44:57 MST Print View

OMFG! I so want one of these bikes!

Lucky for me my birthday is right around the corner!

Daryl and Daryl
(lyrad1) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest, USA, Earth
Frame Idea on 02/07/2011 20:34:52 MST Print View


Bamboo could easily replace the carbon fiber frame in my pack. Go to MYOG forum and look for 2 ounce pack frame thread. All one would have to do is make sure the ends of the bamboo pieces were 3/8" or less so they would fit into the 1/2" nylon barbed fittings.

For larger bamboo one could move up to larger fittings.


Derek Goffin

Locale: North of England
wooden bike rims on 02/08/2011 02:19:50 MST Print View

I have some heirloom 1950's state of the art track wheels for tubular tyres, with wooden rims, very light for the time.

Troy Ammons
(tammons) - F - MLife
Re: Bamboo on 02/08/2011 07:07:56 MST Print View

Found a really site on how to build a bamboo backpack a few years ago.
It was in english, asian person in the photos.
Looked like maybe Malaysia or Thailand.

It had a triangular frame, but now I cant find it.

Michael Biondo
(MikeBiondo) - F

Locale: Missouri Ozarks
Bamboo Spars on 02/08/2011 10:27:12 MST Print View

Hello folks,

Another of my little diversions is making bamboo flyrods. For those not familiar, a bamboo flyrod is made by hand planing 6 strips of bamboo into tapering, equilateral triangles, then glued together into a hexagonal shape. This glue-up/lamination makes them extremely strong.

Non-tapering spars for a backpack frame could be made in the same fashion. Probably not as light as carbon fiber though...


Troy Ammons
(tammons) - F - MLife
Bamboo on 02/08/2011 10:40:16 MST Print View

I was going to get into that and got the correct Stanley planes and sharpening stones etc.

Never got the steels, so everything is just sitting.

In Asia they use bamboo as reinforcing in concrete. Supposedly it has the same thermal expansion ratio as concrete.

They also use it as for scaffolding, and when in hong kong I saw some amazing bamboo scaffolding. Supposedly you have to have a special license to build bamboo scaffolds
in hong kong.

Pretty amazing material

Michael Biondo
(MikeBiondo) - F

Locale: Missouri Ozarks
Bamboo on 02/08/2011 13:38:46 MST Print View

Troy, there are quite a few sites out there that detail the construction of wooden planing forms - much easier, and less expensive to make than steel forms.

There is even a rodmaking technique that does not require any forms at all...Google "PMQ" or "Poor Man's Quad"

If you have any question, feel free to ask...


John Nausieda
(Meander) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Bamboo on 02/08/2011 19:17:58 MST Print View

A fly-rod is easily worthy of such technical refinement as glue-ups etc, but total overkill for something like a pack frame.A bicycle frame endures lots of loading forces and failure at speed is a real issue. What is promising about Bamboo for backpacking is how cheap it is, how easily it is split, how easily it could be wrapped with fiberglass cloth and resin, how easily it could have it's cavities filled with fiberglass resin. As far as fitting into a flange of a size -no big deal since it tapers. When I was in Beijing I studied with a lantern-maker . We were using new techniques. Bending split pieces over a soldering iron instead of an alcohol lamp, and most interesting creating strong joints by wrapping them with thread or string and then flooding the joints with super glue. And here I am talking curved three dimensional shapes. There is also little impact from bamboo. It is hard on cutting tools as it dulls them rapidly , but when cut while green it is pretty easy to work with. And you can train it into shapes. If my Mountainsmith ghost didn't already have a good hoop I'd use it there. But I think I'll try an external frame . I still love the one I have from the 70's. I've never been into hiking poles but I may cut a few to experiment. I can just burn them if they don't work out. Ideally we would all be hermits hiking through bamboo forests where spare parts were everywhere, but then we'd also be near to starving to death too.

David Passey
(davidpassey) - F

Locale: New York City
Re: Frame Idea on 02/08/2011 19:20:31 MST Print View

I have used green bamboo wands to create a hoop frame similar to the ULA circuit. I thought it worked great.