Step 3: Heat treat bamboo

Sometimes being impatient pays off!

The bamboo I bought was green and freshly cut. I realized that it would have to be dry before I could use it but I wanted to use it right now! A brief interweb search tought me that bamboo can be heat treated. So I busted out the trusty old blowtorch and got to work on some test pieces.

Holy cow, heat treating bamboo is amazing. Steam and water literally spews out the ends. Sorry I don't have a picture of this (I was using both hands and recently broke up with my girlfriend so nobody was there to take pictures).

Practice on a few pieces first. The trick is to heat the bamboo evenly and slowly. The two step process worked best for me. The first step is to turn the green sections to a light brown. The second step is turn the light brown sections to a dark brown.

I also had a few dry pieces (already light brown) and only treated them once to get them to a dark brown color.

Another thing, I only did one section at a time (from one node to the next).

Heat treating turns relatively soft bamboo into a super hard material. It is incredible. My wood saw had no trouble cutting the green bamboo but I had to use a hacksaw to cut the treated bamboo.
<p>It looks great, but I honestly like the alternative bonding solution in the last pictures. Yours looks a bit messy, but also original, so I guess it's down to personal taste.</p>
<p>great job</p>
Name 'Not just for smoking' as in , Hemp is;
<p>This looks great! I have to try this one</p>
Where did you get all the dropouts joints from?cut out from an old bike or did you make them or did you order them?
Those dropouts were cut out of an old BMX. Now I get all my dropouts from these two:<br><br>Paragon Machine Works (www.paragonmachineworks.com)<br>or <br>Nova Cycle Supply (http://www.cycle-frames.com)<br><br>Hope this helps.
Thanks yes your thread have been very helpful. ..and thanks for the two websites.
so after you wrap the joints of the bike in the hemp, can you sand it down to make it look nicer? the calfee bamboo bike joints are really really nice and clean-looking. How can i get that look?
Thats what Im wondering. It is almost as if the hemp and stuff was melted into a single material. But you are right- it is a much more appealing look.
<p>It's my understanding that, besides being very careful to wrap the joints as tightly/neatly as possible, Calfee overbuilds the joints, grinds them down, and does a final epoxy on the cleaned up surface. The overbuild is important, because it allows you to improve the aesthetic without reducing the strength of the joint. Just don't grind all the way through the overbuilt parts and it should be fine.</p>
After further analysis it seems calfee probably did hemp and then fiberglass on top of it. The fiber glass could be sanded and I think that couldve made that look.
I would be careful with sanding through any of the hemp fibres, that is where the tensile strength of the joint comes from. The epoxy provides a matrix that helps to evenly distribute the forces throughout the joint but the fibres need to remain intact to provide any tensile strength. Chris's idea of a layer of fibreglass on top for cosmetics and some protection is often how fibreglass is applied. This is why carbon fibre must not be scratched, its structural integrity is severely compromised if any fibres are broken. This is a great project, I'm excited to try it with carbon.
I think the author intentionally had the joints look fibrous. If you soak the hemp cord in epoxy, once you put it all on the frame it should fit a lot smoother than in these pictures. And you will definitely be able to sand it down, it just won't be easy. Once the epoxy has cured the hemp/epoxy matrix acts like any laminate in that it is a relatively homogeneous material. It should be solid throughout.
<p>Fun project. Thanks for the help.</p>
Here is my finished bike, with a step by step writeup <br>http://www.cameronbrown.ca/blog/2013/09/bamboo-bike-build-part-3-final-touches/
It must be lighter than usual bikes. Nice work.
Hi~ <br>I've a little Q: <br>How's ur bike now~?
I have stopped riding this one. My other bamboo bike has been sitting outside under a tarp for over a year now and still rides and feels great.
In response to: <br>&quot;ayasbek (author) says: Jan 6, 2009. 4:10 PMReply <br>Wow! Looks good except for that one thing! I am so glad you got this far. Here is an idea - try get a different fork. Do you have a local frame builder you can speak to who could make you something? There are many old steel forks that have a good amount of rake/drag or whatever the offset from the headset is called. Another idea is to get a 650 wheel (sometimes called triathlon wheel). It is smaller and may allow you to ride your bike. It would also give you a super track star look but will lower your bottom bracket a bit. Either way be careful. If you really want to remove the hemp epoxy I think I would try a hacksaw or grinder. Chemicals seem like a bad idea.&quot; <br> <br>Getting another fork with more rake is not a good idea. It may solve the problem of your wheel hitting the downtube, however the bike will have terrible steering characteristics. Bikes have a property called &quot;trail&quot;. Trail is the distance behind the steering axis that the front wheel contacts the ground. Modern bikes with comfortable steering generally have a trail around 2-3 inches. In your picture above, the bike has close to zero trail. If you put a fork with more rake on that bike, you would end up with a non-existant or a negative trail. This would result in a bike that does not want to ride straight. In fact the fork will try to flip 180 degrees before it will go straight. Using a smaller front wheel would result in the same problem
I think It is not a very good idea to build a bike frame of bamboo because It&rsquo;s impossible to assure strong and safe joint sticks, especially in the headset, one of the most stressed pieces. I have seen more than once headset breakages and I can assure that the consequences for the drivers have been horribly serious, they hit the pavement with their faces,&hellip;&hellip;. noses, jawbones, teeth smashed. I think this is not a matter to play with.
properly treated bamboo has a tensile strength equal to or greater than mild steel.
<br> Yeah, bamboo bikes are awesome. Make sure to build your lugs strong and use Tonkin or Iron bamboo or you may have problems.<br>
I plan to substitute top tube top tube of my steel bike with some bamboo of about 1&quot; diameter (I could make it 1.25&quot; if necessary). If I use iron bamboo of about 1&quot;diameter, does anyone know if drilling out the center with, say, a 3/8&quot; drill would weaken it too much? That would leave walls of about 5/16&quot; or 8 to 9mm. I have read that walls of hollow bamboo should be a minimum of 3mm.
Of course the only sure way to know is to test it. <br> <br>But I've used bamboo with ~4mm sidewalls and it's been fine. Be gentle when you drill, if you push too hard it might splay the bamboo apart and crack. I've had trouble with this before. <br> <br>Also be careful to let the drill find its own way down the hollow or you might drift too far to one side.
snotty - Your last sentence - drilling down the hollow - makes me think that maybe you don't know that iron bamboo is not hollow - it's the only species that's solid. I have already drilled hollow bamboo without a problem. Actually, when it split, I simply wrapped it with carbon tape. I used a pair in place of the steel chain stays. It has taken quite a pounding on some very rough roads without a problem. <br> <br>But I would like to experiment with iron bamboo because I can make them into any diameter I need with a wood lathe. I'm thinking it would be OK to drill them to take weight off, but I was just wondering if anyone has had experience with this. <br>
Ah yes. For some reason I thought iron bamboo had a little hollow area. I must be thinking of some other type.
Yes, that's a bamboo wind turbine in behind me there: <a href="http://www.instructables.com/id/Wind-Turbine-Blades-from-Bamboo/">http://www.instructables.com/id/Wind-Turbine-Blades-from-Bamboo/</a>
Where have you bougth your hemps? And whats important to look at when I buy them?
Ebay! After some research, i believe you want the &quot;bast&quot; as it is the strongest part of the plant, i.e. search &quot;hemp bast fiber&quot; and you should get a few hits. I have had trouble sourcing hemp in its non twine form.
Hello, <br> <br>My name is Martika Jenkins. I represent a team of undergraduate students from engineering and business backgrounds in a course called Affordable Design and Entrepreneurship. We are working with an Alabama community development non-profit, HERO, who has started a new venture manufacturing bamboo bikes. This is the first time that I have heard about them and am looking to talk to bamboo bike riders/builders to learn more about them. <br> <br>From your profile, I can see that you have some experience working with bamboo bikes. I am looking to talk to you to better understand bamboo&acirc;€™s strength, durability, and potential. <br> <br>If you are willing to share your experience, my email is mjenkins2@babson.edu. <br> <br>Hope to hear back! <br>Martika
Uh.. Where did you get the hemp? Untangling hemp ropes? Cough cough.
Hey Ayasbek, I have some questions I'd like to ask about this project about &quot;Heat Treating Bamboo&quot;.<br>I was wondering what tools you used for the project, and how you used them. I would like to experiment, but due to my finances, my experiments would also have to be useful, because I don't have enough money to buy bamboo in bulk amounts, and use some of it only to ruin it because of experimentation. <br>I've been trying to work on a project of my own as well, but not making a bamboo bike, it's actually to make shafts for Arrows for my bow. So I'd like to know more. Otherwise, I have to do a search and destroy all over Goggle just to find a dealer in my local area just for Heat Tempered Bamboo.
Hope it's not TOO late, but B2 sounds like a fine name...fits your description of a stealth bomber, and you can just say it stands for bamboo =D
hey there,<br> amazing job you did there, you have my greatest respect.<br>We were thinking of trying to build one in our bicycle cooperative, but the fella we are getting hemp from needs to know what kind of hemp fibre we need, how thin, and how clean, and also of course how much.<br>I was wondering if you could possibly help me with some advice?<br>how much did you use on one bicycle and what sort of hemp were you using?<br>look forward to your help<br>
Out of curiosity, how much does it weigh?
The Woody
So if you were to build something out of either green or heated bamboo, which would be the easier to work with? mainly with flexibility and hardness.
How did you get your bottom bracket shell out of the bike? Most of the bikes I have looked at have their bottom bracket shells welded on.
can this be used to make a hardtail mountain bike?
Calc for blog cred...:P<br><br>Cool idea, but I'd be very afraid to ride it, myself. Even if a professional built it :P
Fear is scary stuff eh. Seriously though; I made a bamboo bike really badly and it broke in lots of places but it never fell apart. It just got wiggly.
Could you use a second metal piece under the seat that you put at the bottom? It seems like it's the same angles and it would be sturdier.
The Bambicycle or The Bambike. Yeah...
i have seen a frame break and the rider got a huge gash across his stomach from where the top and bottom tubes attached to the head tube... it wasn't pretty D-8
No offesnse, but I built one, and it shattered.
<a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.ridepanda.com">http://www.ridepanda.com</a>You should also check out what some guys from Colorado are doing at <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.ridepanda.com.">http://www.ridepanda.com.</a> Their company, Panda Bicycles, looks like it's making some sweet bamboo bikes with steel lugs. <br/>
Neat! I live in Colorado Springs! I may be up for a field trip. I wonder if there is any way to do the spokes in smaller bamboo?
Never mind! If you look at the calfeedesign.com website, you see that very thing done in Africa. It makes for a stronger back wheel that can carry larger loads than the standard wire spokes. 8&gt;)
For the headset, perhaps you could cut one so that there are nodes at either end to increase stiffness. There are more nodes located at the bottom of a bamboo culm than at the top. I'm not sure how thick the walls of the headset you tried was, that could help too. Some other people sprayed expanding form successfully to increase stiffness to the seat tube.
Hey everyone I have found the large majority of 'how to' sites lacking in specificity. I am putting together a <b>blog with a lot more detail and experiments</b> together come check it out at <a href="http://bamboobike.wordpress.com/" rel="nofollow">http://bamboobike.wordpress.com/</a>.<br /> <br /> There are a lot of pictures and good details on how to choose materials, how to miter better, even how to make a hemp fiber head tube etc. Hope it is helpful.

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