Step 3: Heat treat bamboo

Picture of 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.
foxes761333 years ago
Hey Ayasbek, I have some questions I'd like to ask about this project about "Heat Treating Bamboo".
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.
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.
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.
zakiuz5 years ago
 Do cut the parts before heat treat or do you heat treat everything and then you cut ?
Hello, please help! It seems i really screwed up picking my bamboo. Almost all the nodes have little branches sticking out. Is there any way you know i could get rid of them without ruining the looks of the whole thing?
try taking a sander to it- it could work.
ayasbek (author)  algodecolores6 years ago
I really don't know. Experiment - you will figure this one out. Trust yourself.
screemrhed96 years ago
how did you manage to heat the sections up without them popping? were they all drilled out or something?
ayasbek (author)  screemrhed96 years ago
poke holes in the nodes inside the poles! Sorry, that should be in there. Quite exciting when you don't do that....
ayasbek (author)  ayasbek6 years ago
I used a long, thin, steel rod - the nodes are actually really soft and easy to break.
cool, thanks man.
hey - what is the diameter of your bamboo tubing - main tubes, seat stays and chain stays? THANKS