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woven bamboo subsititute for fiberglass cloth Answered

I spent a lot of time in the Philippines and saw that they use woven bamboo mats to make the walls of houses. While at the hardware store I saw fiberglass resin and remembered the wired.com article about the guy and the bambo bike. This got me to thinking if there was a way to use woven bamboo mats as a subsitute for fiberglass cloth. Mainly because I am cheap and not for environmental concerns. maybe hand woven bamboo mats laminated together for plywood, or use as a boat hull? maybe housing material?



10 years ago

. A couple of things I would investigate:
  • will the plant fibers hold up to flexing well enough?
  • will the fibers rot, even when encapsulated in resin?
Tool Using AnimalNachoMahma

Reply 10 years ago

Neither of those should be an issue Nacho, some of the materials used in boatbuilding are cedar strips, plywood and endgrain balsa, as long as the epoxy coating is contiguous, rotting won't occur and bamboos flexibility is well shown by it's use as a scaffolding material. The two things to check would be weight, both before and after epoxy application, fiberglass used in boat building runs from around 2-16 oz/square yard before adding in epoxy and the bamboo may absorb more epoxy making it heavier. Also it would need to be tested for "wettability", I tried using some epoxy soaked hemp rope for a detail on my canoe, but the epoxy just beaded on the surface because the rope had been treated. So short answer, yes, but do some tests first. oh and epoxy is UV degraded so everything needs to be varnished.