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how do you bend bamboo in an arch or "U"


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#1 tpotier

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Posted 21 November 2005 - 09:42 PM

I have collected bamboo the variety "Golden", characteristic is closely grown joints about one inch apart near the ground level.

I have been told that this variety can be bent in an arch or "U" such as to form walking canes. The technique described to me is the use of heat to the surface , making it like rubber. All I have been able to do is turn them into flaming torches.

Has anyone done this before?

Thank you,

timothy

#2 EdgarFigaro

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Posted 21 November 2005 - 09:47 PM

I would have thought you'd wanna steam it like you would wood.

Another way I've read is to soak it in water with fabric softener added to it, and then just see how it'll bend.

Not sure if heat directly on it would work.

I don't really know, I'm just telling what I know about wood =P

Brother had a catalog by a guy who made wooden fighting canes and he would just bend then after soaking in fabric softener and I would think warm/hot water.

Do post your findings once you manage to do it though =]
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#3 Tim Crocker

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Posted 21 November 2005 - 11:46 PM

I've seen it done with a complex steam system that included boiling water in a container vented into a tube that contained the cane and a small outlet. It looked dangerous to me and didn't stay to watch the end product. The best way to bend it includes the use of anhydrous ammonia which is just straight toxic. I've seen it kill a man, and it wasn't pretty. The research is up to you.

Edited by Tim Crocker, 21 November 2005 - 11:49 PM.

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#4 Jeff Pringle

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Posted 22 November 2005 - 12:57 AM

Dry heat is the way to go if you want your material to be stable after bending, say the luthiers. The way the bowmakers do it is to spin the wood over the heat source, gas or electric hot plate, that way you can get it up to a few hundred degrees without scorching it. I bet putting it in the oven might work, too, but I've never done that. When the wood gets hot enough, it starts moving.
I don't know if you could do a u-turn without multiple heats, though.
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#5 EdgarFigaro

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Posted 22 November 2005 - 10:04 PM

Something I read in a wood magazine for steam bending that's a nice little tip is to buy plastic tubing, don't remember the original use, but it's like a roll of tubing made from plastic sheet. You can cut the length you want, tie off one end, place your wood in it, and then fill the tube with your steam and tie off the one open end, and then start bending using forms clamps etc. Having it tied off kind of holds in the steam longer, so gives a little longer working time. Least that's what the article said.
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