Author Archives: Deb

Bamboo on the Internet for April, 2015 (and May)

A very late Bamboo on the Internet, but with some very fine excuses. Really. Some of them may even be translated into posts for this blog.

  • Two more items for a bamboo WTF category: Bamboo water. Yes. Water infused with an extract from bamboo leaves. Variously described with words like, “clean, fresh, bright, energising, sweet…” the creator has chosen to add cane sugar, unfortunately. Learn more here.  The second, and more perplexing bamboo product is Gucci’s Bamboo Fragrance. Presumably named for the bamboo shaped lid, not the top notes of bergamont.
  • furnitureThe bamboo furniture seen at the left is simplicity personified. Follow the link for a gallery of 14 more images.
  • I know how handy bamboo skewers are for fixing/supporting/balancing/holding, even though I’ve never used them as skewers. This model of the Eiffel Tower used over 200 of them.
  • Bamboo fences are very popular in northern NSW, where I was earlier this year, but how about a bamboo fence 11 kilometers long? Its part of a competition to promote the use of bamboo fences in Sabah.
  • Froute PodMore gorgeous, practical, and innovative ideas from Giant Grass, in Melbourne. It may be just the thing if you want to be an airbnb host and don’t have that extra room for guests. The pod is transportable and easy to set up with only 2 people.
  • Bamboo charcoal is now a trendy go-to ingredient for cocktails, according to The Drinks Business.
  • vietnam milan expoThe Vietnam pavilion for the 2015 Milan Expo features a ‘forest’ of bamboo-clad columns. More images and a story at arch daily.
  • Here is a lovely, and short, story about a Buddhist monk in Vietnam who saves rare bamboo species.
  • The Huffington Post recently published a photoblog featuring colourful bamboo and paper umbrellas.
  • pickled bambooSome food items of interest over the last two months include: a bamboo shoot and squid flavored with green leaf-bud miso dish from Asahi Shimbun; a recipe for pickled bamboo from a new book (available from Amazon) reviewed here; and, I was going to include a video called ‘bamboo cooking‘ but it turned out to be only a very poor interview to promote the bamboo water mentioned above. It’s so dreadful, it’s almost worth watching.

Bamboo on the Internet for March, 2015

bamboo prawnsBetter late than never? Bamboo on the Internet for this month is delayed by an abundance of delightful small and large adventures – none of which have anything to do with bamboo. To start, Bamboo Prawns, but not as we know it. Should you find yourself in An Nhon Town in the central province of Binh Dinh, Vietnam, you could pick up a pair for as little as US$16.

bamboo bikeNow that bamboo bikes are all the rage, the competition is fierce to gain an edge over all the other bikes on the market. Last month I wrote about a bamboo-flax composite bicycle. This month I’m bringing your attention to a bamboo-balsa composite frame with 3D printed parts. The bike has an inner layer of carbon fiber, followed by laminated layers of woven bamboo, a balsa core, another layer of woven bamboo, and finally a protective layer of resin.

Learn how to make fire with bamboo. The lesson starts at 4.45 minutes:

bamboo massageAnother must-have from Japan. Chris sent me a photo of a bamboo massage tool. It’s hollow, and he assures me it’s not as uncomfortable as it looks. (Thanks, Chris.)  Tattoos created with bamboo needles on the other hand, are painful. Read a first-hand account of a Westerner getting some traditional tattoos at Wat Bang Phra in Thailand. Interestingly, he mentions that invisible tattoos are becoming popular. Using sesame oil instead of ink, the tattoos still imbue the same protection as ink tattoos because the monks use the same process, design, mantra and powers as they do for ink tattoos.

winerackThis bamboo wine rack caught my attention for it’s sheer simplicity. But once you start looking at wine racks on Amazon, there are lots of different designs.

To finish up, here is another purely gratuitous image involving food. If you’re lucky enough to be dining out in Seoul, you’ll find the Spring Bamboo Delicacies special set at The Westin Chosun. bamboo shoots, bamboo spring

Bamboo on the Internet for February, 2015

The Georgio Armani Privé Paris Haute Couture collection spring/summer 2015 features bamboo motifs. There is a short video clip here.

I haven’t had the opportunity to see ‘The Tale of The Princess Kaguya’ yet. There are lots of very good reviews (and I haven’t seen anything from Studio Ghibli I didn’t like). DVDs of the movie are available on Amazon.

placematjpg placematsAlso on Amazon, these lovely looking bamboo placemats average 4 and half star reviews. Easy to clean and stain resistant, they say. What more could you want in a placemat?

 

CompositeBikeMaterials to compliment bamboo for bikes: A UK-based bicycle designer and manufacturer has fused flax with bamboo to produce a composite material that is as strong or stronger than carbon, aluminium or steel bike frames.  And the frame weighs in at just 3.3 kg. More interesting details here.

WoodPuckBamboo Qi wireless charger. It looks gorgeous. I want one. Amazon customer reviews are very favorable. You can read a Tech Aeris here, and buy one on Amazon here.

To finish off this month of Bamboo on the Internet I leave you with a lovely way to while away a half hour: The Intricate Process Of Making Arrows From Bamboo.

Modified Boucherie preservation treatment for bamboo

The Boucherie method or process for treating bamboo poles looks like a complex method at first blush. With a little thought, however, it can be a simple and straightforward way to protect bamboo from insect infestation and greatly extend the life of bamboo poles.

boucherie systemSimple searches on the Boucherie method commonly turn up treatment methods calling for an air compressor. But we don’t all have air compressors in our sheds. Also, after spending a day along side the innovative Lance of Bonza Bamboo, I have learnt that the initial set up of a Boucherie treatment process with an air compressor can be fraught with unexpected glitches compared with a simple gravity fed system. This post describes a simple modified Boucherie treatment developed by Lance using gravity and readily available garden and plumbing fittings.

Firstly, decide on the preservation liquid you want to use to replace the sap in the bamboo with. Lance uses an easily dissolvable form of borate (disodium octaborate pentahydrate). You might like to experiment with the Freemite product that was demonstrated in at Byron Bamboo last month.

20150206_114306_compressed_againSecondly, construct a manifold that has a garden hose fitting at one end and cuff that slides over the bamboo at the other end. The manifold needs to have a small release value (like a bicycle valve) incorporated in the design to release pressure . (Alternatively, you can probably buy a customisable manifold from Lance for about a hundred bucks. Contact Bonza Bamboo here.)

bamboo, boucherie methodThirdly, set up a drum, with a garden hose attached to it, at height. The drum will hold your chosen preservation fluid. The height will dictate the pressure you can achieve, and thus the time it takes to displace the sap. Janssen, in his book Building with Bamboo: a handbook, (on Amazon and eBay) suggests that a head height of 4-6 metres is adequate to get the preservation liquid flowing. Lance got about 6 ½ psi at a head height of about 5.5 metres. (This happens to be the reachable height from a ladder in the loft of his shed).

When this is all ready to go, cut the bamboo you wish to preserve. Fresh is best. Attach the hose from the drum to the manifold and attach the manifold to the bamboo. Then wait. Yes, it’s slow, but you can walk away from it without fear of blow-outs, poles blowing over in the wind, or anything else going awry. The system is easily expandable to treat up to 10 poles from the one raised drum.

On the day I followed Lance around his shed, it took about five hours to treat a four-year old, 4 metre length of B. oldhamii with a diameter of about 95 mm.

Bamboo on the Internet for January, 2015

A light month of things bamboo on the internet that got my attention, but here goes:

  • Firefighters_compressedNinja firefighters? Firefighters on a stick? Only in Japan: firefighters in Tokyo displaying their prowess on top of 6 metre bamboo poles.
  • BambooBikeIf you needed another reason to get a bamboo bicycle, this might be it: A bamboo bike that can recharge your mobile devices. It can run your on-board navigation system, and charge your smartphone, and one other device. Oh, they also come with a bluetooth option.
  • Also on Amazon are some very cool-in-a-clunky-kinda-way calculators.
  • Or how about bamboo grips for cameras? They are available for a range of popular digital cameras. Why? “improved ergonomics, increased protection, and a unique look.” And yes, you can buy them Amazon.
  • ModernTwist_compressedModern Twist: Contemporary Japanese Bamboo Art is an exhibition exploring the innovative shape bamboo art has taken since the mid-20th century. The exhibition is on in Florida until April 25 (2015), if you happen to be near by.
  • Taiwanese newspaper, The China Post, posted an article about bamboo artist Wang Wen-Chih and his most recent Woodford Folk Festival project. The 2013-14 installation at Woodford, Woven Sky, received such a positive response that he returned this year with some childhood friends from his hometown in Taiwan to construct Woven Cloud. He was assisted by 40 local volunteers. Cave Urban have some great images posted.

Treating Bamboo

bamboo borer beetleLast weekend Byron Bamboo and the Bamboo Society of Australia hosted a bamboo treatment workshop. Bamboo is fine strong material for construction but does need some kind of treatment to protect the timber against insect damage and infestation.

The two most common treatments are probably solutions of borax and copper sulfate. Copper sulfate can be purchased on eBay or Amazon, and borax is available on eBay. The workshop, however, focused primarily on the Indonesian product Freemite. Freemite is an organic pesticide and termite treatment. It contains neem, borax, chilli, camphor, and a number of other plant extracts. The product developer, Theirry, gave a lengthy presentation about the product and how his team use it in Bali to treat bamboo poles on a large scale. Solution left over after bamboo treatment is also used as insect spray and insecticide in the home and garden.

bamboo boucherie

Setting up for the Boucherie method

At the workshop it became clear that here in Australia the choice of borax or copper sulfate varied. Participants seemed to agree though that the simplest method of infusion was by transpiration. Little equipment is needed, just a bucket really. Freshly cut bamboo is placed upright in a bucket of the chosen solution and the natural actions of nature replace the sap with the treatment solution. Another method is the Boucherie method, where the sap in the bamboo is replaced by pressure. While not too complex, a special set up is needed.

transpiration method bambooIn Bali, the Freemite crew treat bamboo poles by submersing them in long, narrow concrete tanks filled with the Freemite solution. No experimentation seems to have been done there with the simple transpiration method. Perhaps because of the industrial scale of the operations in Bali. Some BSA members undertook to experiment with Freemite using the transpiration method. The resulting treated poles will be tested at the University of Technology, Sydney to establish how effective the transpiration method is using Freemite. Hopefully I’ll be able to share the results here in due course.

 

Bamboo on the Internet for December, 2014 – my picks

bamboo tripod, lock the gate, gloucester

On site at Lock the Gate, Gloucester

Bamboo poles are a very handy tool for practical folk needing a structure that is fast to erect. In Mumbai, India, street hawkers outside the railway station are using bamboo to circumvent restrictive by-laws. It is illegal for hawkers to sell their wares directly on the pavement as it hampers the flow of the 65,000 commuters that pass each day. Instead, bamboo structures are erected to get the wares off the pavement and facilitate a fast getaway, should one be needed.

On the other side of the world, in Gloucester, NSW, Australia, bamboo tripods are used to created instant gate blockades. The beautiful and rich agricultural lands around Gloucester are under threat from a fracking project. The tripods are fast to erect but difficult for police to remove once a protester is installed.

More practical (?) uses for bamboo: Miranda Kerr has an exfoliating face scrub made with bamboo particles. And yes, you can get it on Amazon.

pork and bamboo shoots, recipeRecipe for Pork and Fresh Bamboo Shoots, from the Northeast of India. Simple and wholesome – if you like your chilli hot. The raja mirchi called for in this recipe is a hybrid chilli considered one of the worlds hottest.

Also this month, and nothing to do with the internet, Life with Bamboo is on the move. I’m on the road, somewhere in Australia, in a small silver van. Bamboo farms may be visited. Bamboo events shall be attended. The next event is a Freemite Bamboo Treatment Workshop on 17 January  2014 near Byron Bay. Details and the registration form are here.