Working with Bamboo
This section is dedicated to working with bamboo and DIY construction techniques. All previous posts, questions and answers, articles, pictures and videos about working with bamboo are listed here for your convenience.
Building Bamboo Fences
I have been working with bamboo for around 20 years. I've built numerous structures for Quindembo Bamboo Nursery on the Big Island of Hawaii. Their nursery used to be located in a drier part of the island but now they have moved north where it rains more often.
Before when I set posts I coated them with a waterproof substance such as Henry's roofing tar and set them in the ground. This technique has proven to be effective lasting 20 years and counting but now that the nursery is in a rainy climate, the ground is soft soil and perpetually moist and I'm dubious about setting bamboo in this, even with a waterproof membrane.
I just finished building a cool little outdoor bathroom where i used polycarbonate roofing as wall panels sandwiched in between bamboo halves and capped with bamboo. This worked out well but it was on a deck. I fastened the bamboo to the deck by making wooden inserts and screwing them to the deck first then placing the posts on top.
This next project I have is a couple of small fences and I'm hoping to make it more affordable. People think that bamboo is going to be cheap but it's actually quite labor intensive with everything being custom fitted as well as the harvesting, trimming and finishing. Anyway, I was thinking of driving steel fence stakes into the ground and filling the culms with mortar mix and acrylic additive and setting them over the steel stakes so that the bamboo is off the ground six inches or so.
Do you have any ideas about setting free standing posts in or above the ground that's quick and easy? Are you laughing?
Vonda K replied:
I'm just a grandma so I may not know exactly what I'm talking about... Can you stick them into a piece of PVC that you have put cement/ mortar in and if it sticks up a bit you could put paint on the PVC to match the Bamboo... What do you think about this?
Jairo Acero replied:
You can try used plastic bottles instead. Make sure to leave them at least 3 to 4 inches above the ground. Place some mortar inside the bottle so that it will hold the pole upright. Cut the top of the pole as close as possible to the node so it cannot collect rain water (or it may rot). If you like to do some additional work, try to burn/stain the outside of the poles with a butane torch, it won't change the structural properties.
Karl In Seattle replied:
I have used steel 4x4 supports; they have a seat for the 4x4 and bolts to tighten the 4x4 into the seat. They also have a 24 inch tapered base that allows one to pound the support into the ground. I then split my timber bamboo and covered the 4x4 with the bamboo splits. The 4x4 also allows one to attach the horizontals easily.