I'm working on a design for a glass piece and was searching for Bamboo
pics, and came across a few links to Bamboo Buildings, and related design
innovations. Since sustainable architecture has been a topic here, I
thought I'd post a couple links that I found interesting:
I know that, in the tropics, huts and scaffolding are commonly built of
bamboo because it's plentiful there (esp. teh large species), but I've
never thought of it as something to use for other (as in, more "wester")
types of housing.
Some of the buildings are interesting, but I'm wondering whether there is
data re: whether bamboo building methods could be adapted to cooler
Yeah, strength to weight ratio is good. Not expected to last long of
course, and difficult to treat. We have a stand in the back yard. Goes on
growing, never gets irrigation. This is the 'dry' tropics, and the soil
is poor - saltpan clay with dune sand and shale underneath. We keep it
because it looks nice - a little bit of "Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon".
I've tested it with the local termites and as expected they go straight
up the interior hollow cores. Spectacular in a fire - if the segments
haven't already split, they explode. People next door burnt some once and
the police were called - gunshots reported from up to 2km away :-)
Here in Oz it's reprocessed into flooring boards, but I am yet to be
convinced. Costs a bomb and is not particularly durable - easily damaged
by stiletto heels and the like.
troppo19 aka Martin Clark
Inknow that the exterior surface is very hard, but I geuss that it's low
permeability doesn't translate to longevity as a structural element...
OTOH, tho', isn't exposed wood pretty much the same? What would the
situation be if giant bamboos (some of them develop a dimaeter greater
than that of most of the wood I've seen used for building houses...) were
usedto replace teh "stick" part in "stick built" houses? Being protected
by sheating and so on, would it not last as long as wood? Or is the main
probelm that it can't take nails, or some other quirk of the material?
Babmoo grows so much faster than trees that it seems <?> like it ought to
be a potential material that could ease some of the stress placed upon
For the yard, yeah, I have some Clumping Bamboo myself, one only gets to
about 15' (about 4.75m??) tall and the other about 25' tall. If I had a
large yard, I'd go for some of the ones that get twice as tall (or more).
Fr a yard/garden, I like the movement and sound of it - even the
slightest breeze can set ti off. ((For similar reasons, I also have soem
tall, glaucous cultivars of native Switch Grass - the foliage alon is, so
far this year, about 6.5'.)) Mine have yellow stems, which I don't liek
a lot in and of themselves (I lean towards silvers, blues, greys, and
whites), but the most attractive (IMO ;) ) bamboos get way too large for
my lot :(
What if the bottoms were set into cement or otherwise sealed? Can the
termites still chew easily through the outside? Can they get through it
more easily than they can get through wood?
Well, I hope that is neve tested in my yard =:-o
THat sort of product is also in the US. I'd've considered it, had it
been an option (I don't wear, or permit, shoes in the house, so heels of
any sort aren't a problem) but it wasn't an option. I haven't looked at
many prices, butI'm not sure that, locally at least, it's more expensive
than hardwood or laminate flooring, tho' I'd have to check. THe otehr
aspect, tho', is that it wouldn't really fit in well with the "neo-
pseudotraditional-pseudocontemporary-mishmash" that nearly all houses
these days seem to be. I prefer something that's more creative, but
there's little, if any, land near any sort of employment (or grocery, or
hospital, or so on) which hasn't been bought up by developers. WHich is
a differnt issue, of course...
But looking at how places are built, I have to wonder whetehr large-
diameter bamboo might not be a possible replacement for, or adjunct to,
standard building wood? Maybe the joining methods are problematic? I
don't know whetehr bamboo can withstand being nailed or even screwed.
Never actually tried connecting bamboo structures together other than by
the traditional method, eg vine lashing. This is time-consuming even if
the vine is plentiful, but helps to prevent splitting, provides a torsion
It's not that hard to make durable particle board out of sugar cane
residue (bagass). Just requires a bit of natural or synthetic rubber, a
small amount of tepol and a press. So bamboo has to have potential as a
fibre base at least.
Went out to have a look - no, they leave it alone unless there's a split,
But the experiment was flawed - there was some untreated pine in the same
area, and that's what they prefer. But termites are unpredictable
critters. Around here they seem to be able to work through hair-line
cracks in concrete slabs. In one case, they went up the frame and ate the
paper covering to the gypsum board ceiling. A few years ago they started
on the underground electricity cables - main supply stuff out in the road
reserve. No issues yet with mass-concrete post bases. With these, they
track up the concrete upstand and are easy to see.
The best protection seems to be vigilance, or a drum or two of the stuff
you're not supposed to use any more ...
It certainly splits if you hit it with a framing gun, and sometimes the
nails shoot off sideways.
The bamboo building websites don't seem to show how the stuff is joined
I noted what you said below about it slitting under a nail gun, and nails
tending to slip and fly off. Now I know ;)
OTOH, maybe strapping...? As you noted, those websites (with the bamboo
buildings) didn't seem to go into the joining methods.
They do make fabric out of it, as with wood. It's very soft to the
touch, not as sticky in humidity as silk, much more supple than linen. I
assume there are also bamboo-based paper products. Versatile stuff.
Them and ants. They don't know enough to give up - if one doesn't make
it, there are billions more behind it. Termites and ants are also
significant pests here (Gulf Coast area).
Oh, joy :p
But, given their difficulties with intact bamboo, it'd be something if it
was more adaptable to differnt building techniques. I guess it's alerady
Too bad :(
I'll try to remember to look into it more - it's IMO an interesting idea.
OTOH I'm a bit of a worry with a nail gun. Shot myself twice so far,
fortunately only with brads.
So I did a Google search - "joints in bamboo"
(ENG)_BAMBOO_JOINTS.html [messy link]
University of Florence - bamboo joint research
Shows the whole process - Indian technique. City University London.
Some fairly heavy construction, eg reo stirrups mortared into the voids,
bamboo as permanent formwork.
University of Aachen. Several pdf files
There's some fairly elaborate joints, but some that look do-able, eg
making the connectors out of short bits of hardwood, stiffening the
hollows where bolts go through, and if in doubt - bog it.
My kind of building :-)
That sounds like something I'd do =:-o
I haven't yet graduated beyond a staple gun ;) Haven't done anything so
large that I couldn't use a plain hammer, esp. with the mucked up wrist
- I leave that to the pros ;)
THose are all cool links, thanks! I hadn't searched that ebcasue I'm
still up to my ears obsessing over trying to learn enough electronics to
build a new kind of solar-recharged garden/yard/tabletop LED lamp - I've
gotten into doing the stained-glass (I mentioned that some time back
IIRC) and am building a large-ish (8"X8" and 10.5" tall) item as my
Prototype - I sarted off with only a small amount of very vague
information (on the level of "resistors rest; capacitors store"), so
I've been puring through books an donline-resources, as well as tech
datasheets for all sorts of components, and I got to where I'm listing
all the required components so I can order them (like, two of each ;) )
and try to build the actualy prototype light.
To quote monty Python: "My brain hurts!" <LOL!>
So, I didn't get to search - but I saved your links to my desktop for
later perusal, ebcasue I think that this is an interesting idea, using
Bamboo for building. Some fo the designs are way cool, others are tidy
little cottages, and I'm interested in seeing the entire spectrum from
one to the other.
((I'm generally interested in modern adaptations of ancient materials.))
"Bog it"? Is that like "making it up as I go along"? <g!>
As a person who tends to hypercomplexificationalize(R) things, I can
vouch that there is much to be said for occasionally stepping back from
ANyhoo, thanks for those links, I will go back and read them more
For now, off to Digikey.com before I forget what I was up to ;)
I took a class in copper foil recently, and decided that it suits me better
than does lead came, mostly because I tend to perfer more "fussy" work (the
first class I took, back in 1993 or therabouts, was Lead Came).
Pics - yikes, I have to upload my whole website still - I keep getting
sidetracked. OTOH, so far, I don't have a lot to put up in terms of the
glass. I like doing it a lot and fully intend to get my work rate up to
where I can sell some things, but I first have to get my grinder-station up
and running (I have to build a small "enclosure" to control the splatter,
because I don't have a studio space I can mess up ;) ) and I've been
sidetracked by the SOlar Light part. I've polled several people and
potential sales venues, and *all* had a big complaint about how dim solar
lights are - at least, the commercially available ones. SO I've been
studying up one electronics, and looking into all sorts of parts and
techniques, so as to get to where I could design and build a prototype High
Brightness solar-charged battery-powered light (i.e. giving off about the
same amount of light as eitehr a 20-25 watt incandescent (small fixture) or
a 40 watt incandescent (larger fixture or colored class) (currently tryign
THat being said, once I get some photos online, I'll let you all know <G!>
Stylistically, I prefer what I call "stylized realism" - I work on getting
the overall identifiers corrrect in terms of shape/proportions, and how the
subject interacts with gravity, but done so in a a pen'n'ink/Japanese print
sort of way.
How about yours - copper foil or lead came? Design style, subject
preference, etc.? Photos?
This spring I designed a showcase for antique goblets and dishes to be
placed in a window on Beacon Hill. The shop keeper wanted exceptional LED
lighting, but there was very little space. The electrician purchased 3 LED
"puck type" battery powered lamps (about $20 each), and rewired them to a
light actuated switch. Those lights are plenty bright! Shop owner uses
rechargeable AA batterys, which last about 2 weeks to a month (depending on
the season) and get changed when the display is changed. The whole system
materials cost less than $100. Now if you could hitch those rechargeables to
a solar charger, such as is sold for recharging i-pods, you would have a
good system. Think outside the box!
I looked int those - great item, but IIRC they draw too much power for what
I'm trying to do. But LED brightsness has gotten impressive overall!
Now, you can even get what's called "warm white", but I haven't seen a Warm
White that also pumps out lotsa Lumens.
So far, I've collected three "example application circuits" from the Maxim
website (I suppose one could make some sort fo case for this being at least
*sorta* related to things architectural <g!>):
- how to use 2 ICs (MAX866 and MAX to generate 5V from low-voltage Solar
- using a battery pack controller DS2715 (between the above, and the
batteries) to charge from 1 to 10 NiMH AA batteries (I chose NiMH becaus
ethey're readily available, less susceptable to "memory effect" than
NiCads, and *much* l;ess expensive than Li-Ion)
- using an LED driver (MAX1848) to drive four or six whte LEDs (non-Puck,
just the regular 3.2V-3.4V, 20 or so mA types).
OTOH, I got the thought a couple days ago that maybe I need to look for
"Solar Christmas Lights"...<L!>
The main "catches" in what I want to do are:
(1) I want to crank out as many lumens as possible (since all the potential
customers etc. polled, including myself!, have all complained about the
dimness of existing solar lights), whit itself could be solved (possibly)
by adapting a Solar Christmas Light string;
and The Biggie,
(2) I want to be able to charge the batteries as fast as possible from the
solar cells, the reason being that current lights are pretty much dependent
upon receiving a good 8 hours of bright.clear sunlight, which just doesn't
cut the mustard if the weather is not perfectly clear, and/or the days are
shorter (as in, during Winter);
(3) I'm trying to keep the cost down (not "cheap", just not excessive).
THe problem, of course, is that when I started this project, *ALL* I knew
about electronics was that "a resistor constricts energy flow <ahem...>",
and "there is some set of formulae that relate volts, amps, resistance, and
IOW, next to Nill =:-o
So I'm trying to design a circuit without really knowing what th eheck I'm
doing, because, although I technically "should", I'm not going back to
college to try to take a full course in the topic...
So it is, as the saying goes, "a real trip". THe battery-charger circuit
is especially troublesome, because the Application Notes describing
"typical switchmode appliction for a 3-cell NiMH stack" state that certain
resistor, etc., ratings are for 600mA, but the App Note for the "generating
5V" circuit describes the output as being "5V at 500mA", and deos not
specify how many mA have to be *input* (tho' it creates those 5V from an
input of between 0.8V and 4.5V).
So talk about a "crash course"...especially from someone who barely passed
the second semester of Physics, and at that, back in 1979 - Yikes =8-O !
I can't decide whether it's clever, or just plain psychotic <LOL!><LOL!>
Meanwhile, finished INtroductory Glass Fusing/kilnforming. Fascinating,
the results can be beautiful in the right hands, but I have a very long way
to go (esp. re: my glas scuttign technique) before jumping in to the
expense of a kiln - my instructor rents kiln time starting at about $60 per
piece, becsue the energy to do it is so expensive, but i might give that a
try first - well, after I get better at designing and 'cutting', since
designing for hot glass is rather different from designing for copper foil
(itself differnt IMO from designing for lead came).
OTOH, if I can actually manage to pull all of this together (Cu foil,
fusing, lighting), the possibilities are astounding - I can imagine solar-
powered fused-glass installations, for example. Or something like what you
described, addin in solar-recharging for those batteries, and incorporating
that lighted window feature with various artistic glass techniques... It
kinda gets me all sortsa excited <G!>
I had to buy an air-nailing rig to add plates and strapping to a hardwood
frame - part of a wind speed upgrade. The wood had been aging for 50
years and was extremely hard, way above the required stress grade, but
the studs were only cross-nailed to the bottom plates. Only 110 psi and
hardened nails would do it - pre-drilling would burn the best drill bits
every 3-4 holes, and there were 114 studs to do. Great tool for putting
together benches, saw frames, fixing wobbly garden furniture. Just press
the trigger until it stops wobbling :-)
LOL - yeah my knowledge of electronics gets a bit vague after the 807
valve. Two of each for two lights? Or because you might drop or break
Yep - also "builders bog" aka two-pack fillers, that black/white stuff
used by plumbers for joints in iron pipe, or a shot or two of
Indeed there is. I go for "visual stress grading" as a final check. If it
looks right, if it doesn't move when you swing on it - it's probably
Recently looked at a sewer line laid with full laser levelling. Real
quick/smart process. But something was wrong. Ok - check with a $10
spirit level - the pipe was laid to an exact and constant grade - but to
That's too ambitious for me ;) ((Also, over the the past 30 years, I
spent 22 as a renter, with short periods of ownership interspered through
that - haven't lived in any place long enough to actually have to do any
sort of significant repairs/upgrades.))
I'm working on designs for 2, 4, or 6 LEDs per lamp/lantern/thingie,
depending upon the LED brightness I can get, the size of the individual
items I make, and the material (clear textured versus actual stained
(colored) glass). The prototype is just rectangluar, but what I want to
do is combine my 3D modeling software, and my unwrapping software, to
build some less-usual shapes, such as a twisted hexagonal column, and so
WHen you know your materials well, I think that it prob. becomes almost
It's a whole house, shifted to a new site. Built by the State Works
Department in 1953 - delivery dates were marked on some of the beams. My
3 sons + others have been living in it for 4 years, and so far they
haven't managed to break anything major - even the fitted carpet is ok.
I'd certainly recommend an air-nailer. Framing guns are heavy and might
be hard to handle if you have a bad wrist, but a brad nailer or finishing
gun is easy enough. With a bit of practice the nail heads counter-sink
neatly and disappear with paint or a dab of wood filler.
All that gear, the expressions on everyone's face - you never have a
camera when you need one ...
I've seen recycled items (wood, bricks, and so on) in pictures, and from
what I've seen, you can get things that are just way beyond what's
currently available, and/or quite a unique look. I think that such
recycled items are things one can use onyl when one has a place custom-
designed, and at that, by someone who knows how to get hold of recycled
GOod to keep in mind. I have a small staple gun that also deals with
brads, which is quite useful, espcially since it's useable either Righty
or Lefty (I use either/both for most things). Not an air-gun tyupe, just
a spring-loaded thing, but still good for little projects ;)
Crazy stuff. But proof that there is a difference between having info,
and knowing how to *use/integrate* info ;)
(1) becasue I'm generally interested, as I mentioned, in modern
adaptations of ancient materials and techniques (including things like
(2) not everyone has cheap lumber readily available - bamboo will grow
pretty much anywhere (some types like a lot fo water, others grow where
it's surprisingly dry) and, being a species of grass, it tends to grow
rapidly, so for many areas, it might be a viable alternative to wood,
growing readily where suitable lumber trees do not.
Lumber in many areas, tho', remains quite expensive.
Why?? Both their circumstances, and their perspectives, are different.
If you only do things becaue "that's how they've always been done",
you'll never discover anything, or create anything new. Invention is not
merely having information or even technical know-how - people who've made
significant discoveries typically have all the same info as everyone
else, but they look at that info from a new perspective, with a creative
mindset (and ignore the naysayers who claim that thsi or that "can't be
done, or is "a waste of time" becasue one "should" do things the same way
"they've always been done" - which makes no sense at all, sonce *someone*
had to come up with those older methodologies in the first place, IOW,
*invent somethign new*). Fleming didn't discover penicillin merely
because he was the only person to ever see a mold contaminate a Petrie
dish and kill the bacterial culture on it - rather, he was the first
peron to *pursue the reason*, the first to look at is as more than merely
an error to be discarded; same with Kekule and the discovery of the
hexagonal carbon ring. And so on. A large part of invention and
creativity is to realize that there is a difference between reinventing
the wheel, and looking at the wheel from a new perspective that
adapts/expands it's useage to something new.
Pathetically, for every person who askes "what if...?", there are at
least 100 naysayers who will call said person an idiot =>:-p
I'm not a construction designer, so obviously I don't know those
specifics. THat being said, if something like Giant Timber Bamboo (hardy
to about 12 degrees F, height to 75', diameter to 7", low water needs -
pic: http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/showimage/44914 /) grows locally and
quickly, why *shouldn't* it be cheaper if planted for production? Also,
if it's local, the shorter distance of transportwould be a savings
(including a savings of pollutants). As for specs, the question is more
of a design/architectual question hinging upon a knowledge of the
material and its properties, not a delivery question (since, given how
bamboo grows, there would be a number of cane-sizes available at any
given time - IOW, same as with tree farming).
Bamboo has some properties that wood does not , mold resistance being
one of them, flexibility another, weight another, but besides that, it
grows quickly, is easy to propagate, as mentioned above toleratees some
extreme growing conditions and there is a kind of bamboo and large grass
appropriate to almost every climate and soil and weather condition.
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.