bamboo work - bamboo work; bamboo work - See also basket work.
Bamboo is known as an "Endogen," each new layer of wood being formed within the old layer and not outside it, consequently the outside is the oldest and hardest.
Those who work in bamboo regularly may have noticed that it is liable to split at the ends, if not cared for, a split sometimes working up the whole length if not attended to. This is usually the result of stocking the bamboo carelessly, and not protecting the ends. The best plan for keeping a stock of bamboo is by erecting upright wooden partitions say 4 ft. 3 in. high, by 2 ft. 9 in. wide, along the floor of the workshop, spacing the partitions such a distance apart as to take the different lengths of bamboo. By this plan the ends are not left unprotected. Further protection can be afforded by making light wood frames covered with. roofing felt to rest on top of the partitioned spaces, the felt being cut larger than the frame one way so as to hang down a little way in front of the racks. On no account ever make bamboo racks nearer the ceiling than can be avoided, as the heated and dry air is injurious to the material.
The principal arts in bamboo-work are jointing and bending, and the former is the chief of these two. In fitting two pieces at right angles, as Fig. 1, first with a half-round fine rasp or coarse file hollow out the end of a to come neatly against b, then fit a straight grained piece of wood tightly into a, as Fig. 2, and with a brace and bit bore a hole in b, to take this plug or dowel tightly. Have some hot glue ready, remove the dowel from a, and after gluing it, drive it tightly home into the hole in b. Now glue the exposed end and put a on to it and tap home gently with a hammer. Remember that for lasting work there are at least two essentials, viz., tightly fitting dowels and hot glue. It is also the best plan to always glue both surfaces that are to come together, not letting a glued surface come against a dry surface. Thus the dowel has glue put on it, but, in addition, the bamboo should be glued where the dowel is to touch. Some consider this as essential as anything in good gluing. Should a be of thinner stuff than b, it can be glued direct into a hole in b without a dowel, but as glue does not hold well on a hard polished surface, the end of a would then have to be roughened with a file to take the glue properly.
To make a joint at an angle such as Fig. 3, the same plan is resorted to as with Fig. 2, but as it is difficult to make a clean good-fitting hole in b at an angle to receive the dowel in a properly, it is usual to strengthen this joint by a screw passed through after the joint is glued and dry.
To make a joint at right angles as Fig. 4, first saw, then rasp the ends to make an accurate mitre, and then make an angle dowel with the grain in the wood as Fig. 5, and glue this in soundly. A cheaper, that is quicker, way, is to first plug the two ends of the rods soundly, then saw and rasp the mitre, and glue together like the angles of a picture-frame. This by itself, however, is not strong enough for bamboo, and a screw must be used to strengthen and keep the joint secure. Where a cross joint has to be made, as Fig. 6, the dowel after being carefully fitted to the two ends is soundly glued into the middle piece, as shown, the ends being glued on afterwards.
To bend bamboo, drive a large staple into a bench and then bend it down flat, as Fig. 7, so that its loop projects beyond the bench, as shown. This is all that is necessary except an atmospheric or Bunsen gas-burner, or methylated spirit lamp, with which to heat the bamboo. Do not apply the heat to one precise spot but heat about 6 in. or 8 in., then gradually bend it by pressure on the projecting, end. Always bend between knots, but if the bend must come where a knot is, then notch the knot with a saw-cut on the side that will be inside the bend. Bend gradually, heating and cooling more than once if much of a bend is wanted. In cooling, keep the pressure on the projecting end, then cool with a rather wet cloth or sponge.
Bamboo-work is made up in flat sections, these being allowed to dry and become hard before they are joined up to make the whole article. When joining up, the whole can, in most cases, be " cramped " up by winding two or three thicknesses of stout string round, and should the string be difficult to get tight, pass a stick under one of the strings and twist it round until the required pressure is obtained. As an example of bamboo-work, Fig. 8 is given, this being a fire-screen of neat appearance. The centre can be filled in with whatever material may be preferred.