When you think of bamboo — the largest variety of grass — your first mental image would probably be that of a bamboo-made hut on a Pacific island or a popular décor in Tiki bars.
But bamboo is quickly becoming much more than that. Bamboo (Bambusa spp.) is an extremely strong and durable wood that can be used for furniture, flooring and paneling, and is excellent for a wide range of woodworking projects
“It has beautiful character, takes stain well, and is very stable,” said Ron Shapland, Northwestern Regional Manager at Rockler Woodworking and Hardware. “It’s a real dense wood and holds up well against moisture.”
Rockler is one of only a few retail outlets in the United States that carries engineered bamboo lumber; after harvesting, the wood is stripped and laminated together. Boards are ¾” thick x 11-7/8” wide, and cost $15 per board foot. Bamboo is the Rockler Wood of the Month in September.
One of the benefits of using bamboo in woodworking projects is that it’s an environmentally friendly wood, Shapland said. “Bamboo is the fastest growing woody plant,” he said. “There are many varieties of bamboo in either endogenous trees or giant grasses. While a hardwood trees takes 25 to 30 years to grow before harvesting, bamboo is harvestable in less than a year. The harvesting does not damage the plant, which produces more timbers.
“It’s been very popular with our customers for making cutting boards, panels for kitchens, and small boxes,” Shapland added.
Bamboo lumber is available at all 34 Rockler Woodworking and Hardware retail stores. For the store nearest you, call 1-877-ROCKLER.