Introduction: Bamboo Fence

This is my bamboo fence. I hope you like it. It took a couple months, but anyone super committed could finish this on a weekend. Steps with many pictures below.

Step 1:

Go ahead and dig your fence posts and get that mess in order. I went every 6-7 ft which resulted in 13 total panels.

Step 2:

Find where you like your joist hangers. I just followed the contour of the land. Yet I staggered the completed panels. It's easier to start at the high right side. As mine slopped down right to left.

Step 3:

I put mine at the far back side to account for the width of the bamboo posts

Step 4:

I put one 2x4 in the joist and leveled out to be able to set up my next joist holder

Step 5:

Bottom one

Step 6:

Now to make the cut. I just eye it out and mark a line

Step 7:

Step 8:

Those fit beauty.

Step 9:

You want to secure the stringers (horizontal 2x4's ). I used cheap fence panel boards. You only need them to keep the stringers secure and well in place

Step 10:

I'll cut them short on that red line

Step 11:

I got on the back side of the fence to secure the stringers

Step 12:

Perfectly secure

Step 13:

You can now remove the entire panel and bring it to your work station.

Step 14:

2 sawhorses will due perfect as a good work area. Lay flat with the stringers exposed on top.

Step 15:

Depending on how thick your bamboo is will determine your screw size. I went with self drilling exterior screws. They worked very well and saved a lot of time from predrilling

Step 16:

Pick a side and put a screw in on both stringers on that side. I chose the left side because the ground naturally sloped that way a bit. My finger is my measuring tool to keep both screws at the same distance

Step 17:

Both screws in. Time to get some bamboo.

Step 18:

Choose any boards you like. Obviously some will be bent this way and that . Non of that bothered me much, it depends on your OCD.

Step 19:

I tend to grab just a few at a time to get the boards in as tightly as possible. Switching posts around will be inevitable.

Step 20:

Fully packed in. Not too worried about the hight right now, just getting them tight

Step 21:

At the very end I leave a near equal distance from the opening bamboo post.

Step 22:

Looks good

Step 23:

I always take my time on the first post I screw in. "Measure twice, drill once". Start on the last post you laid out.

Step 24:

First post screwed in

Step 25:

All the posts screwed in

Step 26:

Same for the bottom stringer

Step 27:

Find a heavy straight tool so you can keep a straight cut line. This thing worked perfect.

Step 28:

Ready to be lined out

Step 29:

Line drawn.

Step 30:

Pull out your trusty saw and cut it straight.

Step 31:

Same for the bottom side. I have my bamboo posts at 64-66 inches, depending on the slope.

Step 32:

Lovely

Step 33:

Finished panel

Step 34:

Placed the completed panel into position.

Step 35:

Fits nicely

Step 36:

Remember to screw it in

Step 37:

Fill in the side gaps with a precut fitted bamboo post and drill it in

Step 38:

All your panels now put up.

Step 39:

Now add some cheap flat paneling to cover the exposed holes do no water can get in. This should add many extra years to the finished panels

Step 40:

A great feature is working around trees so they can not only live, but add beauty and feature.

Step 41:

You should be fully done. Hope this helps with your bamboo fence project.

Comments

author
snaganna (author)2014-12-07

you could slit longitudinally into two halves so that the fencing area would have been doubled, by laying on flat surface butting surface between bamboo halves & panel boards, which also increases fitments rigidity

so that bamboo Diameter dimension remains same & fencing coverage area become double

author
kshea19 (author)snaganna2015-11-22

Yes. It does expose the bamboo to elements (instead of sealing tops and bottoms, and yet your definitely halving the bamboo demand

author
kshea19 (author)2015-11-22

Very nice. I can see saving pine lumber with a roll of thick galvanized fence wire (even barbed). Thanks for your step by step.

author
mmays1 (author)2014-12-14

Cone ton-- I am going to do that. It's easy to remove the entire panel and do iy

author
cnorton16 (author)2014-12-06

Living in Hawaii, where the weather is much more forgiving, I Strongly suggest that you "Pre Treat" your Bamboo with a UV Outdoor Clear Glossy (or Satin) finish Varnish BEFORE assembly. Know that if left untreated, your Beautiful Bamboo Fencing Will quickly degrade and weather badly to all moisture, rain and the harsh elements. (it's easy to do: wear rubber gloves, Use a Large new Kitchen sponge, dip in Varnish/Laquer and sponge mop on Both sides of all Bamboo pieces Before assembling) -let dry before you assemble fence....worth this extra step! ;-) Nice directions and photos btw. -Aloha.

Driveway.Planters.AFTER.jpg
author
Olivia (author)cnorton162014-12-13

I like how you accentuated your driveway cracks with paint and flowers. :)

author
DavidKeithGee (author)2014-12-12

Awesome, I love this project. I really like that you incorpirated the tree into the fence.

author
foobear (author)2014-12-09

gorgeous! best use of the step by step format I've seen yet also

author
bencreative (author)2014-12-08

Looks great. However, may I suggest coating your finished fence with a waterproofing and UV protective finish? Bamboo is a great material but it is susceptible to breaking down quickly when exposed to UV light and dampness. It is also a favorite home for ants and other wood boring insects. I live in Bali Indonesia and although bamboo is becoming more popular as a building material untreated and exposed Bamboo breaks down quickly. With the heavy wet season rains and high intensity sunlight of the dry season untreated and exposed bamboo structures here aren't expected to last more than a year or two. When used here for construction it is important to include large overhangs to protect the Bamboo from direct sunlight and water damage. The bamboo is also treated with pesticides inside and out before use and then clear-coated once installed to increase longevity. When protected bamboo can last at least 5 years and under ideal conditions and yearly maintenance can last upwards of 10 years. Of course longevity, treated or untreated, will depend upon the climate where you live.

Wishing you many years of enjoyment out of your fence,

Ben

author
chifin (author)2014-12-07

Just adding another tip for long lasting outdoor wood fences/projects. On your vertical panel pieces to strengthen the stringers - don't screw or secure the wood through a knot in the panel wood. Over time this can easily become a point of weakness as the knot dries out (and possibly splits and falls out). Leaving that section less strong.

author
snaganna (author)2014-12-07

you could slit longitudinally into two halves so that the fencing area would have been doubled, by laying on flat surface butting surface between bamboo halves & panel boards, which also increases fitments rigidity

so that bamboo Diameter dimension remains same & fencing coverage area become double

author
eyewalk (author)2014-12-07

There's a heap of bamboo work done here in Thailand, but a lot of it doesn't last long so it's treated like a 2nd-class material. Pity, because it's so beautiful and versatile!
Since pre-treating has already been raised, I'd like to suggest that termites and boring beetles are going to get into your bamboo right away if left un-protected, BUT even if you don't have these insect pests, mold is still going to rot it away quickly. So if you're going to protect your bamboo with any kind of varnish or lacquer, you can first give it a really good scrubbing to get rid of any surface mold (and there is always surface mold). Let it dry before coating with any sort of "paint" and this will relp it not to rot from the inside.
Of course, there are many other ways to treat bamboo (baking/smoking, soaking in flowing water for months, soaking in chemical bath such as borax, lime, or even urine, etc.) but for exteriors that will get rained on, you'd probably still want to use a lacquer on top of anything else.
Also, screwing and nailing bamboo causes it to split if it contracts onto the metal, then water, mold, and pests can get inside. For screws, it's a good idea to pre-drill holes bigger than your screw thread but smaller than the screw head, so that in essence only the head holds the bamboo on.

Hope that's useful information.
Now, an aging bamboo fence is also a thing of beauty, no denying that, but it all depends what your goals are for longevity ;)

author
hartmannsclass (author)2014-12-05

Good job. For myself, before assembly, I cut each bamboo stick flush with one of the joints and had that as the upper end side. I didn't want 500 tiny water reservoirs for mosquitoes to breed in and to lead to wood rot. I clamped on a straight edge before screwing on each stick. The bottom edge was ragged as I worked. Once finished, I marked and cut the bottom edge even. t didn't matter where the joints were on the bottom since water wouldn't pool. You might think about drilling a drain hole on the back side on the sticks that have a large water reservoir on the upper side. This might keep the top from rotting. I'd use a large-ish diameter drill bit since it will clog up with organic material. I bet it looks nice.

author
mmays1 (author)hartmannsclass2014-12-06

I will be topping off all of these with panel boards to keep the water out. Just didn't get to that stage when I took the pics. I may add the final pics when completed

author
londobali (author)mmays12014-12-07

Was also going to comment about the mosquito pool.. :)

On our fence we flushed the bamboos down, and let the top varies a little to create a rather natural look. But we dont have too much bamboo stock so we can't do it like hartmannsclass..

We've been doing two things to take care of this:
For taller fence that we cant see the top, we drill drain holes at the back side, lowest point of the top open-cell.

For short fence (the pet fence) we poured concrete to fill up the top chamber, makes them nice flat topped. But if we had bamboo's to spare, we'd do it hartmannsclass's way, much nicer.

It's been 3,5 years now and both fence are still pretty solid.
They weren't treated at all.. just naturally dried bamboo. And we're in the tropics, lots of rain, strong sun..

A couple of points that we had to take slow was to make sure that the bamboo doesn't split when screwed. And we dont have much choise on what kind of screws to use, the ones they have here cracks the bamboo 98% of the time. We had to peel out a little of the outer shell (bark??) or drill a loose pilot hole on front side of the bamboo wall, the back side wall doest crack as the screw manage to 'drill' the wall from the soft inner side.

author
Ilan Voyager (author)2014-12-07

Nice work. Is your bamboo treated?

Without treatment bamboo which is a grass, not a tree, is decayed by fungi and insects in a very short time, in South East Mexico in less than 3 years the non treated bamboo is rotten and eaten by termites and other wood eaters.

Hartmannsclass has rightly pointed the fact of cutting the bamboo flush with one of the joints or knots. I'll add that these knots must be sealed totally; another technique used in Colombia is to fill the extremity with a plug (cement, resin, or another material).

As Cnorton16 said the bamboo must be protected. I use an oil as it doesn't peel or crack, easy to clean with a stainless steel soft brush for swimming pool, and to re-oil. My personal recipe is soya oil, with zinc naphtenate (2% of zinc metal of the total weight of the mix, it acts as dryer and anti-fungi) and 5 to 10 % solid paraffin as water repellent. Varnish can be added to the mix but it doesn't appear to improve the quality. Color can be added. It dries very well and last about 3 years in tropical humid climate. It's a poor man recipe, in Mexico the wood protectors cost 3 to 5 times the USA price after importation...

I treat the bamboo with borates in a solution of 200 grams of sodium octaborate per liter of water (20% solution) or when octaborate is unavailable with a mix of 60% borax/40% boric acid and dissolved in water at 110 gr to 200 grams per liter. There are different ways to make the treatment but this post is already too long. You'll find in Internet plenty of documentation.

author
robotmaker (author)2014-12-06

very nice job , i love bamboo have all over my front room walls , plus table and sofa and made a large stereo and tv cabinet all from bamboo most of it I buy online and have it shipped

so I guess my next project is to build your fence

author
plantprof (author)2014-12-06

Looks great! With the small forest of bamboo in my backyard that has kept me supplied me with enough bamboo for things I've needed or made, this has been one project I've put off too long. Thanks for the inspiration. I'd have to position them so the nodal diaphragms act as caps, as was suggested elsewhere, to keep water out. Did you treat them to keep the boring insects out that make small holes and fine sawdust after their eggs hatch and the larvae bore through the stems? Has that been a problem? How many screws did it take on average per panel and were those self-drilling screws adequate so that you didn't have any splitting problems? Really nice looking fence!

author
Ninjarooster (author)2014-12-05

Beautiful! It turned out really well! Now if only I had bamboo...

author
sillydunn (author)2014-12-05

Just wondering what is the cost of the poles in your area? Nice project!

author
mmays1 (author)2014-12-05

salmonfood- no. In fact those were left in the elements for nearly 4 years

author
Wired_Mist (author)2014-12-04

SOoooo much better then Chain-Link ! Looks like it really nicely fits in with your yard.

author
salmonfood (author)2014-12-04

Did you do anything special to dry or preserve the bamboo prior to construction?

author
mmays1 (author)2014-12-04

I guess you could have. Good onserva

author
SphereX (author)2014-12-04

Good use of bamboo. Like the look. Enter Wood Contest, you got my vote.

author
Stan1y (author)2014-12-04

Could you have flipped the pannel over and used the top and bottom rails as guides for the saw?

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