How to cut bamboo

It is a very simple task to cut bamboo. The plant is hardy and difficult to kill as long as it has water. It does, however, have a tendency to splinter. When you are pruning, a splinter is not going to ruin your work, but if you are building something with it, split bamboo can seem like a disaster. Once your bamboo is cut to size, you can use it for all kinds of projects.

Step 1: Prepare the Wood

Depending on your project, you will need either green or dry stalks. Green wood is generally easier to work with. Heat the bamboo plants if the weather is cold, as this helps prevent splitting. Another useful tool to is masking tape. Place this where you wish to cut. The tape isn’t necessary in preliminary cuts or when trimming a plant, but it can still be helpful in preventing splinters. A sharp piece of wood in your finger tends to stop production, especially if you’re bleeding.

Step 2: First Cuts

The size of the bamboo determines how you should originally cut it. If it’s less than 1 inch in diameter, use a sharp pruner. If it’s more than 1 inch in diameter, use a sharp hand saw. The teeth must be straight so that you don’t tear the plant fibers. When you trim a bamboo plant, cut directly above the node. This helps eliminate unsightly stumps. Anything else you choose to do is up to you. Bamboo is hardy and can be cut into many different shapes.

Step 3: Final Cuts

Different projects require different cutting styles. These final steps are where the masking tape is most useful. If the fibers were to splinter now, you would have to begin again.

If your project is a small one, like creating beads, roll a sharp knife through the stalk. Be sure you are very slow and methodical. Don’t saw your way through. Once you have cut through you can remove the tape and continue with the project.

For a larger project you need to use a sharp handsaw and a table. Place the bamboo on the table with the part you want cut barely hanging over the edge. Hold the end of the stalk firmly on the table and saw the end off. Again, once your bamboo cutting is complete, you can remove the tape. Once all your pieces are cut, you may want to pre-drill holes for your final project. Cover the area with masking tape and slowly drill your way through. The slower you work the better.

Now that your bamboo is cut and the necessary holes are drilled, you can begin to put your project together. Good luck.

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Home » Articles » How to Cut Bamboo the Easy Way

I have been collecting bamboo for a new dome at the land, and hand cutting it was SLOW. Because of the effort I decided to try my weed-eater with the blade attachment with the blade pictured to the left.

This was found to be the easiest way to cut bamboo that I know.

I haven’t found a faster way to cut bamboo. Additionally, it allows me to cut the stubs of bamboo very close to the ground so that I don’t step on them and trip. A weed-eater with a saw blade is by far the best power tool to cut bamboo.

If you don’t have a weedeater, you should get one.

If you want more information on both the differences between a brush cutter and a string trimmer, as well as where to buy weed-based trimmers, I have linked to an article from toolsfreak

My Plan for the Bamboo

Once my bamboo dries out and stops shrinking I am going to cut rings of PVC and make hubs. This will allow me to lash the bamboo to the hubs to make a dome. Then I can temporarily cover and use as a form to pour aircrete. This aircrete will be made with my new aircrete foam gun so I can cast a small dome at my land.

Others have used the aircrete to cast slabs. The slabs are cut with homemade slicers made from 16 gauge steel sheet. This lets them cut out blocks that are then used to build domes. I plan to try that also. However, for now, I am trying to convince the wife that I need to cut mounds of bamboo so I can get way more than I “need” while it is available.

Then I can do lots of other projects, including making a small Da Vinci bridge with the boy. I know that using the weed-eater instead of a hand saw really helps with getting the wife’s help. Because it is the easiest method for cutting bamboo down my help stays around longer. Too many ticks, too much humidity, and too much effort makes my help go home too soon.

How to cut bamboo

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Fast growing, tough and elegant, bamboo covers walls, provides privacy screens and adds a vertical element to the landscape. And when the wind blows, the canes brush together, making gentle music. If you already have a bamboo plant in a pot or in the landscape, it’s simple to propagate by cutting sections of the stem and replanting them, a method called culm-segment cutting. The sections of bamboo develop new roots, creating a clone of the parent plant.

Cut a bamboo cane into sections containing two to three nodes, the places along a bamboo cane where the leaves grow from. Look for the bamboo to flair out and have a slight division in it to find a node. You’ll want to do this with a bamboo cane that’s at least 1 to 2 years old and 1-inch in diameter so that it’s hearty enough to propagate a new plant.

Cut as many culm sections for replanting as bamboo plants you want to grow. Each section will grow into a new plant. Add a couple extra to make up for potential loss, rot or failure to set root.

Cut the foliage off the culm cutting with a pair of clippers.

Dig a hole in the ground or fill a 6-inch nursery pot with potting soil.

Plant the culm section in the soil with one or two node covered. Position the culm cutting so that it is vertical or at a 45-degree angle in the pot or planting bed.

Keep the soil damp by watering when the top of the dirt feels dry to the touch. New growth should appear within one month.

Things You Will Need

6-inch pot (optional)

Potting soil (optional)

The best time to transplant bamboo cuttings is in the fall at the beginning of the rainy season. Take advantage of the wet months to get your bamboo cuttings started. If you plant in spring or summer, keep the culm sections well watered. Don’t let them dry out or the roots are likely to die or simply fail to form.

True bamboo is part of the grass family Poaceae. There is another plant frequently grown as a house plant called lucky bamboo. It’s not bamboo at all. Don’t get this confused with regular bamboo or your cutting and planting efforts will not work.

When making cuts, do so at a 45-degree angle. Also, you can apply rooting hormone to the base of your cutting for quicker growth and beeswax along the top to protect the freshly cut top of your cutting.

Warning

Look for clumping bamboo types. Running bamboo spreads quickly and is hard to contain. Clumping bamboo does spread but more gradually than running types, and it’s more naturally contained.

Always sanitize your shears with a solution of 1 part bleach to 9 parts water before cutting bamboo to prevent spreading disease or pests to exposed, freshly cut stalks.

How to cut bamboo

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Although bamboo can be a lovely addition to a backyard garden, water feature or driveway, it is a terribly invasive plant. This means that yearly maintenance is required to control it, which involves cutting off canes. Whether you are maintaining an ornamental stand in its natural state or designing something a bit more complicated, you’ll need to know how to cut bamboo.

Bamboo Growth Habits

There are over 1,200 types of bamboo, suited to a wide range of temperature and climatic conditions, but they can be divided into two basic groups: running bamboo and clumping bamboo. The latter grows off a single base, and while it grows wider every year, it generally will stay localized in one place. Running bamboo, however, grows off of below-ground rhizomes and can therefore spread to other places in the yard quite easily if not contained.

Cutting the Top Off

Removing the top of bamboo will not result in cane regrowth, but rather in new leaves growing from the cut. These leaves provide energy to the plant’s underground system, allowing it to sprout new canes. Therefore, cutting a stand of bamboo down to the ground won’t eradicate it — stalks eventually regrow, but from the base rather than from cut canes. To prune, choose the oldest third of your canes and remove them at ground level once a year.

Where to Cut

Although there is no need to worry about damaging your bamboo no matter how you cut it, aesthetics require you to take into account where on the cane you make your cut. Choose a joint on the stalk and cut just above it, as everything left above a notch will wither and die back to that notch. If you are simply cutting canes down to the ground to get rid of bamboo or for yearly pruning, this isn’t an issue.

Designing With Cuts

Because bamboo reliably grows new leaves from the top of cut canes, you can design with bamboo by strategically placing your cuts. If you’d like to turn a clump of canes into a “tree,” tie them together with garden twine and then cut all the tops off in the same place, allowing leaves to make the top bushy. You could instead cut a row of canes in a zigzag pattern, where leaf regrowth would decorate the top in an interesting pattern.

Some people love bamboo, but far more people loathe it. That’s because they plant this fast-growing, fast-spreading monster as a screen so they can’t see their neighbors. Then in about two weeks, they can’t see themselves either. Bamboo comes up everywhere, until they cry in desperation to Grumpy, “How can we kill this damn bamboo?”

Well, it’s easier than you might think. But to understand why, you need to know a little more about it. Bamboos are giant, woody grasses. Some are clumping and cause no problems. But most are running, spreading rapidly underground by thick rhizomes — sometimes as thick as your forearm — torpedoing unseen through the soil. From the rhizomes grow canes, called culms. Giant bamboos are the fastest growing plants on Earth, even faster than kudzu. Some culms can grow four feet a day!

Starting each spring, culms grow to their full height in about 60 days and grow no taller after that. Culms with small root systems may grow to 10 feet. Culms with large, established root systems may grow 70 feet tall. Individual culms live for about 10 years and are then replaced by new ones.

If bamboo has taken over your yard, the knee-jerk solution is to get a tank of Roundup and spray those suckers down! This will not work. You may kill the top growth, but that huge root system will sprout again next spring.

What you need to do to kill bamboo is to take advantage of the fact that new culms only sprout in spring. They look like the tips of asparagus spears. Wait until they’re about a foot tall and either cut them off at the ground or push them over with your foot. It’s easy. They will not grow again.

Then cut all mature canes to the ground. If your neighbor has bamboo, make sure he does it too. Every spring, watch for new culms sprouting in spring. Push every one over. If you and your neighbor keep doing this, eventually you’ll starve the root system and the bamboo will die.

Let’s talk about fences. Those wired, posted or any limiting border you have between the garden or backyard of your house and the outside world around it. It does not matter how you do it or which materials you use for accomplishing this. The idea is the same: Making a boundary that can also look good.

There are so many materials you can use for doing your fences. Normally wood is the most used one, and for good reason. Depending of the kind of wood you can have just functionality; or you can also improve the appearance of the areas around your home.

One of those kinds of wood used for fencing is bamboo. Bamboo can give that nice-looking presence that not only pandas would love. But the biggest worry is cutting them, given their strength. We are going to check how to cut bamboo fencing and see if it is that difficult at all.

Can you use just bamboo for fencing?

You have probably seen those wooded fences in movies and TV series from America, where just by hammering some pieces of the same cut wood to the floor around the garden and backyard is done. Not so fast with bamboo. Why is that? Can you use just bamboo for fencing?

In reality, bamboo can’t be used alone in the fencing. While it may look so cool, the features of this kind of wood does not give it that much strength to the elements, and may actually cost you more if you do not add some reinforcements and protection.

If you are asking how to cut bamboo fencing, you may be aware that, while by itself the bamboo is really tough, it can break at certain point. This is not the kind of behavior you want for the fencing that would be around your house.

Also, when elements attack, been these the rain, UV light from the sun, and pests, your nice bamboo fence could be weakened even more; at the point to make it brittle in a matter of time. You would need some type of treatment and the backup of another material to improve this situation.

What materials can be used for bamboo fencing?

When it comes to these types of fences, there are many materials that can be used for bamboo fencing. These materials can help to give the bamboo fence some support and make it even sturdier than already is. While you would know how to cut bamboo fencing later on, these materials are recommended to compliment the job you are trying to do.

First up, good old fence panel boards can do the trick. You could use any kind of wood, but you can use your typical wood for fences (the one that normally would be painted white and hammered to the ground, just like in the movies). The idea is to create a kind of slot where you would insert panels of bamboo screwed together to one of these.

You can also make use of a chained fenced as an anchor point; but, you would be pretty much set up by using the metal posts in between each of the links. However, if you are using mostly wood to give support, you may require some soldering work to make use of the metal posts. This is a way to reuse an old fence without throwing all to the garbage bin.

How to cut bamboo for fences?

And now, into the main point of this publication. Not make mistakes, bamboo is still wood and can be cut. However, you may be wondering what is the best way to do it. How to cut bamboo fencing?

The best way how to cut bamboo for fences is by lining them up like panels you would assemble together. The idea is to use something big and straight like a piece of wood or metal; this can serve you as a ruler to make measurements and guide lines where to cut.

After having everything marked up, you could use your typical saw to cut the bamboo sticks continuously or one by one. This should be pretty straightforward since, as said before, bamboo is just like another kind of wood of many that exist… But one that pandas really like.

When you get every piece of bamboo cut to size, you can then proceed to assemble the panels by securing certain amount of bamboo sticks to one of those pieces of wood that slot that were mentioned before. Using screws or nails and grouping them together should do the trick.

After that, is just a matter of measuring the supports that would hold these structures. As an idea, this would look like a slot that can sustain these bamboo panels. Make sure to secure them after mounting them on the supports to improve strength.

Finally, let’s treat them against the elements from nature, pollution and pests. Using the chemicals and other products needed for this task, you can prolong the life of your bamboo fencing for many, many years. And since is bamboo, maintenance is low and fairly easy to do if you need to.

Conclusion

It may look like a lot of work (which it is if you have not done this before); but following the steps and recommendations you would know how to cut bamboo fencing, and mount it all around your house backyard and garden.

Remember to take your time measuring and marking the exact points where you are going to cut the bamboo sticks. You could use an old piece of metal or wood to mark these lines. It all depends on your perfectionism also; the fence it does not need to be as straight as you think. It is bamboo after all.

And finally, when everything is set and cut with a saw, you can mount it forming panel that can be secured by screws or nails. Those can be supported by stronger structures made from fence wood or metal.

How to cut bamboo

Q:

I’d like to build some small projects from bamboo, but I’ve heard it’s difficult to work with. Do I need special cutters for sawing and routing bamboo?
—Andy Gomez, Norcross, Ga.

A:

You can use your regular blades and bits, Andy, provided they have sharp carbide tips. Although technically a grass, dried bamboo cuts much like a dense hardwood. There are a few things to be aware of, though, before working with the stuff.

How to cut bamboo

First, because of its long, stringy grain, bamboo splinters easily, especially when cutting or routing across the grain [opening photo] or when routing edge profiles [Photo above]. To minimize this, rout with sharp, clean bits in shallow increments ( 1 ⁄ 8 ” or less). When crosscutting, use blades with 80 or more teeth and back up the exit point with a miter-gauge extension to prevent grain tear-out [Photo below].

How to cut bamboo

Also, similar to dense-grain hardwoods, bamboo burns easily from friction, so maintain steady, almost brisk, feed rates. Finally, fresh-cut edges on bamboo can be razor sharp: Ease them with 180-grit sandpaper to avoid cutting yourself.

Phecda

ArboristSite Lurker
  • Jun 7, 2016
  • #1
  • Aside from renting a skid steer or trackhoe, or tearing up the property with our dozer.

    Chainsaw? Seems like it would be hell on chainsaw chains

    IyaMan

    Addicted to ArboristSite
    • Jun 7, 2016
  • #2
  • Remove bamboo -do you mean to cut it down, or get rid of it permanently?

    If its permanent, you gotta get out all the roots (use a shovel and pick, or backhoe, not a chainsaw). If roots remain, it’ll likely come back next year. But if continually for a few years you constantly cut out all the sprouts before they get too high, you may eventually kill the root (since no photosynthesis can happen), but depending on the breed it can stay dormant for quite a while. I don’t know of any weed killer specifically for bamboo, but maybe some guys here do.

    (and good luck with the roots, they’re not very deep, but can be nasty and long reaching. Best to thoroughly soak the soil so its softer)

    If just cutting it down, it’ll depend on if you want to keep/use the bamboo or just trash it. And how big around the bamboo it is. I’ve cut very big bamboo with a chainsaw (up to 5 or 6 inch diameter), but you must be careful about it pinching the blade (watch how it leans). It can pinch tight and differently than a tree, and can quickly/dangerously rip off the chain from the bar. Just cut the lean side enough to break through to the hollow center (or not at all), then do a deep back cut about an inch above, letting it fall away as you do so. You may get partial barber-chairs (though not very dangerous like a tree) if the lean is heavy, so keep your face out of the way. Also, using a chainsaw can ‘explode’ the fibers in that area, possibly causing cracks a couple feet up the trunk, so if harvesting it for use, be careful about that (or use a handsaw).

    However, new/sprouting bamboo will cut super easy. I often just slice it on a downward angle with a nata (like a small machete) if only a few pieces.

    I do not recommend using a chainsaw if cutting large, tight clumps of thin bamboo. If they can’t easily fall away if the branches are tangled, so you have a high risk of pinching and/or pulling off the chain.

    And if there is a lot of bamboo to cut for harvesting, there are special chains made for bamboo (smaller teeth with one on each link).