How to Cut Bamboo

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Bamboo is a very versatile material and can be used for a range of projects and uses. It is used for food, for clothing, for furniture, for livestock feed, for fences as well as simple garden stakes. It is the fastest growing woody plant there is, with some species growing feet per day. If you are so fortunate as to have a culm, there are a few guidelines for cutting it to prevent it from cracking or splitting.

Things You'll Need

  • Fine toothed saw or sharp pruning shears
  • Masking tape
  • Stable work area
  • Decide how wide of a stalk you want to cut. If you are cutting a small piece around 1 inch thick or less, you should be able to cut it with a sharp hand pruner. If the blades are not sharp enough, though, it will crush and splinter the ends.

  • Use a fine toothed saw to cut stalks larger than 1 inch. A sharp saw will make quick work of your harvesting. Just make sure the saw teeth are straight and not flayed outwards or it will tear the fibers instead of slicing them.

  • Tape the bamboo stalk with masking tape for final cuts in a project. This will help hold the fibers together as you cut through them. A number of different electric saws or hand saws can be used for this as long as the sawing teeth are fine and close together (40 per inch).

  • Position the bamboo stake on a hard surface with the area that needs to be cut just off the edge. Make sure you support the end you are cutting off if it is extra long. This will keep the wood from bending and possibly cracking. Also, cutting the wood while it is green seems to lessen cracking.

  • Heat the wood before cutting, especially if it is cold outside. If it is 90 degrees outside, then the wood should be warm enough, but on the other hand, if you are working outside in 32 degree weather, then there is more of a chance the wood will split.

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