The use of bamboo wood, although it may seem that way to Westerners, is nothing new. It has been used in some areas of Asia for infinite uses, since there is knowledge.
Only in the last few decades have European and American professionals started paying attention to this wood and learning about its many virtues.
Features of bamboo wood
The first thing to say is that the bamboo wood does not come from a tree, but is a grass, which brings many changes in relation to what we are used to.
Color. The bamboo wood has a light color, almost white, of course, but it is common to find it after having gone through a roasting process, which can give it much darker tones.
Because it is a grass and not a suitable wood, bamboo does not have sapwood, heartwood or growth rings.
Density: Although it may seem, it is not a light material, depending on the species, we are facing densities ranging from 500 kg / m3 at 850 kg / m3 at 12% humidity. If it were a forest we could say that we are facing a heavy forest.
Toughness. According to the scale of Janka (scale that classifies the woods according to their hardness and shock resistance), bamboo has a greater resistance than oak and much greater than pine or spruce, woods very common both in the manufacture of furniture and construction. Between 1410 and 1610 lbF .
Durability: The durability of bamboo exposed to the outside is limited. It can be attacked by fungi and insects.
Moisture resistance. Among the characteristics of bamboo we find a resistance to humidity superior to that of many woods, although not as much as some tropical ones, such as ipé.
Stability. Bamboo has excellent stability, that is, it does not deform over time or with work, provided it is properly dried.
Workability: By carpentry standards, bamboo is not necessarily difficult to work with, but depending on the species, it may require special care. Bamboo fibers tend to crack when cut transversely (adhesive tape on the cut line is recommended to prevent this type of tear). In addition, bamboo is very rich in silica, from 0.5% to 4.0%, which is almost entirely in the outermost layers of the stem, so care must be taken when processing the wood. Suitable saws are recommended and it is suggested to sand the surface instead of brushing. Bamboo sticks and ends well.
Price. Because it is a very fast-growing species and is found in so many different areas of the planet, it is cheap wood. Sometimes, the price may seem high, which is usually due to import costs or the type of processing to which it was subjected.
Use of bamboo
The possible uses of bamboo wood are very wide. From the manufacture of furniture and utensils, to the manufacture of construction scaffolding to the manufacture of pallets or parquets.
While in the West it was difficult to find works made with bamboo until a few years ago, in Asia it is used to make houses, bridges or even temples.
It is normal to find it in the usual formats, for example on boards or slats of different sizes and thicknesses. Therefore, any professional in the world of wood can use bamboo wood normally, as if it were another material.
One of the uses that this wood has been receiving most is to manufacture of parquet or pallets. This is because it allows a highly resistant, economical floor that requires little maintenance.
There is a growing demand for bamboo by companies and individuals interested in the environment and the conservation of natural resources.
For uses related to wood, bamboo can be used in the manufacture of textile fibers, to control the erosion of the territory and even as food.
Ecology and bamboo
Bamboo is a grass with an important presence in many areas of Asia. We can also find it in many other areas of the planet with the exception of Europe, where there are more than 1000 different species. One of the most striking qualities of this plant is its rapid growth, which in periods of 5 to 6 years can reach 25 meters in height and 30 centimeters in diameter, it is not necessary to reach these dimensions for its exploration. To reach these sizes, many other tree species need 20 years or more.
It does not need to be reforested, as an herb grows easily anywhere and naturally. It will also continue to grow after extraction. Therefore, there is no risk of overexploitation.
Another interesting feature of bamboo is that during its growth phase it absorbs several times more CO2 than many other species. What makes it a carbon sink (natural carbon deposit) very important.
How do you get wood if it’s an herb?
After the plant is felled, the outer layer (green bark) is removed and each stem is cut longitudinally, leaving a kind of circles. This is opened and stretched, so that small strips appear that after going through a drying process join to form larger strips.