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Bamboo flattening? Answered

Complete noob here, but is there a way to flatten bamboo (easily)? To make panels, I mean. Do you just slit the tube open and heat bend it, or what? I'm asking, b/c I was thinking of making either a carrying case, or an actual cover (replace the glossy plastic) for my Wacom Bamboo tablet out of bamboo. Just wondering if that seems feasible or not...?



9 years ago

I once chated with a man who was making bamboo music instruments in bali, here is what I remmeber : -Put the bambo in boiling salted until you can shape them easily (salt in the water help drying the bamboo) -Flaten it with something very heavy (he used big stones, but he certainly could not afford expensives tools) -Let it dry under sun (Bali sun is hot, maybe hoven is better elsewhere) -Put is over fire to make it became shinning and hard -Cut, sand, glue, the borders, then sand the top I never took the time to try it myself, don't know if it is easy to do. Please, make an instructable if it works :D

Bali, eh? When were you there? I actually found it fairly cool compared to some places in Indonesia that I've visited/lived. And you ask me why I don't know how to work with bamboo, having lived in South-East Asia? B/c I never really thought about it... till now.

Quick look at my notes : to make bamboo floor, they take the larger possible bambo, they cut it in 10 almost flat strip, cut and sand to make linear an flat pieces, then glue pieces together on 2 layers to make panels.. In my notes, I did not write anything about bending the bamboo, only cutting and sanding (maybe "sanding is not the good english word, they use a blade, a bit like a razor, to flattent the pieces)

Bamboo will reshape with heat. I warm bamboo skewers over a candle to bend them for the dihedral of small kites, but they blacken at the bend that way. I would try (thinking off the cuff, here) splitting the bamboo in half down its length (making two "half pipes" if you will), then lay it in a tray, pour boiling water over it, give it a minute or two to warm through, then whip it out, lay it curve-up on a flat surface (such as a chopping board) and press down with something hard, smooth and heavy (say, a pile of books or bricks on top of another chopping board). Leave it to cool and then see what you've got. It may be worth dremelling out the inside of the half-bamboo before flattening, get rid of nodes and excess pith, anything that could obstruct the flattening process.

Better yet would be using a steamer from the kitchen as a steaming bender, since immersing the bamboo can scupper it ever so slightly... One thing I imagine may be helpful would be taking a bandsaw and slicing very small slices off and making a cover that way, mounting on the existing cover then framing buttons and screen with perpendicular sections.

Yeah. Okay. Sounds like a good idea. It might be a while before I can start on this (money issues), but I'll post back if you all are interested. Maybe I'll make an -ible if it works out. Thanks again.

Well do a few experiments, it mightn't work for this but it would be a cool thing to figure out anyway, laptops seem like prime targets for this aswell...

Did you hear about the ASUS laptop that was going to be built completely out of bamboo? They only made it part bamboo, because they couldn't resolve some overheating issues (or something like that). So I dunno about using it as the ONLY material for laptops, but it'd be kinda fun to for at least part of one. Question: Is it possible to use a mold to help shape bamboo? It seems like it'd be theoretically possible, but, again, I'm not sure how feasible it'd be and if it'd work as planned. Any thoughts/ideas?

>Is it possible to use a mold to help shape bamboo? I would not try to make a mold without, or I would make several thin layers of bamboo and glue them together in the mold (making some plyywood). If I jsut want one layer, I'd try to do a 1 inch high piece of wood, then carve the shape I need in it.

Or even take it a step further and use a heat gun to flatten it little by little.

Drying it out may cause it to snap in to bits though, especially if moistened beforehand.

I'm not an expert on the specifics of bamboo, but if you use hot, humid steam (redundant?) and steady, even pressure, it sounds like it outght to work.

Okay, thanks. That seemed like something I should try. I looked on a bamboo crafting site and didn't see anything about it. Maybe I'm just blind. Thanks again. Now to just find the supplies and whatnot before heading off to college...