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Bamboo as a building material


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Hey folks, I'm looking around for wood for my second build, and bumped into bamboo. First I was looking at it for the fretboard, and I'm pretty sure it would be suitable for that. Started searching around and found some archived threads showing that there are companies building sticks completely from bamboo. 

The material in question is:

https://www.designholz.com/product/Solid-Wood/Bamboo/Bamboo-black-board-Schokoboo-Schokowood-121x40cm-17mm.html

https://www.designholz.com/product/Solid-Wood/Bamboo/Bamboo-board-caramel-121x20cm-19mm.html

I'd laminate stripes of the light and dark one for the neck (building a neck through again) and for the wings I'd laminate a 14mm dark board on the bottom, to a 14mm light board in the middle and something more natural for the top that would be 5-7mm. So all together I'd get 33-35mm thick core, and again, I'd go the same way like my last build, and contour it and make it thin around the edges so even with the bamboo density, it shouldn't be too heavy. 

So the question is, do I need to take anything else into consideration when it comes to the neck? 

http://stick.com/instruments/sg12/ 

Looking at this, I'm pretty confident it would hold up the tension of 6 strings without having some wild deformations. 

8mpj5Tf.jpg

Some rough sketches in paint, it wouldn't be headless, I just couldn't be bothered drawing the headstock. So yeah, build #2 is officially starting :D 

Edited by Gogzs
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There's quite a lot of guitars available made of bamboo even from big names like Yamaha.

For testing get a cheap cutting board.

This is going to be interesting!

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Yeah, I have a cutting board and when I knock on it it sounds very bright, could be interesting, even tho, in the end the pickups are mostly responsible for the sound from what I've seen, but that's not the point of this debate.

I also know the dark boards are light boards heated so they get dark, it doesn't change the properties, just aesthetics. I'm just wondering how I should lay the grain to get the most out of it for the neck, but seems to be no problem if the grain goes in the direction of the neck. 

Looked also into the Yamaha ones, they had 2 acoustic models, interesting... I'll probably be ordering the material in the upcoming days and go for it... I'll have a really stylish cutting board if it fails completely haha.

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  • 5 months later...

To bump this a little, as I'm about to pull the trigger on a few bamboo boards and some purpleheart (it'll be that dark roasted bamboo + purpleheart + golden hardware). 

Anyway, question is, does anyone know if I can use normal wood glue with bamboo, and how well it'll bond to wood? Technically it's grass and not wood, but the same fibers are at play basically, so I don't see why wood glue wouldn't work. But if anyone has some experience or more knowledge, I'd be thankful, info online is a bit contradicting. 

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def some more radical ideas going on here... love that.  the other day I saw a guy take an actual taxidermy fish and put it in epoxy as a guitar body... don't know if it was a tone fish... but it did look pretty kewl!  rawk on.

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On 10/15/2020 at 10:15 AM, Bizman62 said:

Did you find this: https://www.woodworkersjournal.com/glue-bamboo/

To me that makes sense.

Many other bamboo gluing questions I found were about gluing it on concrete as a flooring material in which case flexibility is required.

Found exactly that and it made the most sense, yeah. Some did suggest epoxy, and yeah, most answers were gluing bamboo to concrete :D I'll go with wood glue and yolo it.

The only change since my initial plan is that the core will be purpleheart, sandwiched between two dark bamboo boards. So when I contour it the purpleheart will be sticking out on places. Neck will be laminated bamboo with sheets of purpleheart veneer inbetween, going for the "racing stripes along the whole body" look again.

@mistermikev and @curtisa that story sounds a bit fishy, but I'll believe you :D 

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Test joints on scrap pieces indeed!

On another search I found further comments about using or not using Titebond for bamboo or bamboo+wood. One was about fishing rods and another about archery bows. There was both success and delaminating stories, however one must bear in mind that both rods and bows are designed to bend and release and the normal Titebond isn't flexible.

Based on the cutting boards and other bamboo household items I've seen, there's plenty of pores. For example Ebony looks much more solid, yet Titebond works well enough.

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Yeah, I searched the forums for "bamboo" but didn't see any mentioning of glue. It also doesn't make sense for me to go to IKEA and buy a bamboo cutting board and try gluing it, the boards I'll be ordering from designholtz could be manufactured in a completely different manner and not react the same as the cutting board from IKEA. 

I guess sometimes next week we will find out how rosewood glues to bamboo and we'll go from there :D 

@Workingman I'm mentioning bamboo boards from IKEA specifically because they feel pretty raw and not epoxy filled. They even sell oil for keeping the board conditioned, so I assume there are open pores and it's not just bamboo submerged in epoxy.

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  • 1 month later...
On 11/26/2020 at 6:09 AM, verhoevenc said:

Side note: the extra piece that was left over and hung out in my barn unfinished molded up FAST. Weird material... likely won’t use it again.

I have a Ikea bamboo tray that has been sitting on my porch (away from the rain) - it also molded up after a month or two. I think it might have something like raw linseed oil as a finish.   

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