Introduction: Hide Wires & Cables With Bamboo From a Tiki Torch
I hid the cables leading to my digital projector with bamboo. The cables go up a post to the ceiling in my timberframe house, and I wanted to disguise them with something wood or natural, not the plastic stuff they sell in the stores. I poked around my basement and came across an old bamboo tiki torch. Perfect. The inside diameter was 1". These vary, so if you go purchase one for this project, try to find one with a diameter that will cover your wires. I have also seen bamboo poles at garden centers and in the garden section of discount stores. If you have bamboo growing in your area you are lucky. It's a wonderful material to work with.
You will need:
Bamboo tiki torch or bamboo pole
Step 1: Saw the Torch Part Off
Be sure you remove the fluid first!
I used a handsaw and I left a several inches for the torch so it's still usable.
Step 2: Split the Bamboo in Half Lengthwise
If you look at the bamboo, you will notice there is a straight side and a slightly bent side. This is how the plant grows. Decide which side looks best. I decided to go with the bent because I thought it looked the best.
Splitting the bamboo lengthwise is the tricky part. Ripping a dowel or in this case, bamboo, on a table saw is very dangerous. Any slight movement while you push it through will create kickback and send it back at you like a spear. A band saw would be safer if you have one, but you will need to build a jig to keep the pole straight.
The best technique is to split bamboo lengthwise as described in detail on this website. Use a machete or a sharp knife, and a mallet. Brace the bamboo against the bottom corner of a wall, place a machete where you want to split, and tap it lightly with a mallet. Be sure to use a mallet and not a hammer so you won't damage the machete. The bamboo splits easily. Rotate the bamboo periodically if the split starts to veer to one side. The website above explains this in greater detail. I suppose a big sharp knife would work if you don't have a machete.
If you know of other techniques to split bamboo, please leave a comment. And please be safe.
Step 3: Chisel the Inside Joints
Wherever there is a joint on the outside of the bamboo you will find it is solid on the inside. Remove this with a chisel. It's easy to remove and only takes a minute
Step 4: Measure and Cut the Bamboo to Size.
Bamboo is easy to cut so you can do this with any type of saw.
Step 5: Choose a Nail and Drill a Pilot Hole
I chose a 1" wire nail and I drilled pilot holes on each end with a 1/16" drill bit.
Step 6: Bundle the Wires Together
I used twist ties, but you could use tape, zip ties, string or whatever you have. It will help with assembly. I did it every 12" or so.
Step 7: Install the Bamboo
Place the bamboo on the wires. Insert the nails all the way through so you can be sure you are not going to nail through a wire. Tap it on with a hammer.
Bamboo is a wonderful material to work with. If you have other ideas let me know.