(Frequently Asked Questions)


What is Tonkin Bamboo?

Tonkin Bamboo is the common name for the bamboo that is primary bamboo stake for staking plants around the world. It is characterized by a thick wall and smooth nodes. The stakes are fairly straight and tan in color(color can vary slightly from pole to pole) and the nodes are fairly far apart. It tapers slightly from top to bottom(not uniform in diameter top to bottom). It only grows to a maximum diameter of about 2-½. It is the ideal stake for staking plants although is has many other non agriculture or horticulture related uses. It is used in our fences. Bamboo is a natural product, no two pieces are exactly the same.

What is Moso Bamboo?

Moso Bamboo is characterized by it’s thickness, minimum diameter is 2-½ and maximum diameter is 6-½. It has a fairly thick wall. It is fairly straight (that doesn’t mean perfectly straight) although it may have some slight bends to it. The nodes are closer together and more pronounced than Tonkin Bamboo. It is very strong and you cannot bend anything over 2-½ easily. It can be split in half. No two pieces are the same! The color is tan but the color may vary from pole to pole. The taper varies for pole to pole. It will have some scratches on the pole. At the nodes there is a thin membrane that sections off the bamboo. It is hollow between the nodes. Moso bamboo is the primary bamboo for making bamboo flooring.

Why Use Bamboo?

First, bamboo is not wood. It is actually a grass but it has unique properties unlike wood.

It is the only natural renewable wood like resource in the world. It is a environmentally “green” material.

Since bamboo is a grass you do not kill the plant when it’s cut. Like grass it grows back on the same stem. Tonkin bamboo can be harvested every three years and it grows up to 40-60′ during that time. Moso bamboo is a little slower growing but it can be harvested every 5 years. Protect the earths trees, use bamboo! Besides all of that it is the world’s most versatile wood product. It is used in hundred of different uses from decorative to structural building to flooring to household items to scaffolding.

Will Bamboo crack?

Yes, more than likely it will crack. Almost guaranteed to crack over time. If the bamboo is split there is a much less likely chance that it will crack. Poles under ¾-½ are less likely to crack than poles larger than that in diameter. We do not guarantee against cracks ! We cannot guarantee that it won’t crack in transit. It you are needing a crack free pole, then we cannot ship that to you. It may not have cracks when we ship it but it may develop them in transit or after receiving the item. Most crack are hairline splits although sometimes there will be larger cracks that split the bamboo open. We try and pick nice poles when you order though. We don’t ship poles that we would not use ourselves and we take pride in selecting good poles to ship.

Can you bend Bamboo?

You can bend smaller diameters up to 1½ but you cannot get it to hold in that position. It will snap back straight once release of pressure to bend it. You cannot boil it to make it flexible or heat it with a flame to make it bend. It just won’t bend and stay that way.

Is the Bamboo dried?

Yes, the bamboo has been dried. All the stems and leaves are cut off. The color is tan. We don’t have naturally green bamboo.

Will Bamboo have bugs?

All our bamboo comes from China and is fumigated in China before export and then again when it reaches the U.S. Although we cannot guarantee 100% that your bamboo will not have bugs it is extremely unlikely. If it did have a bug, it would be the kind of bug that would only eat bamboo and not other woods.

Is Bamboo hollow?

Bamboo is hollow between the nodes. Bamboo under ½ is hollow but filled with a pith like substance and the hole inside is very tiny. There is a thin membrane that grows across the bamboo at the nodes but this can be knocked out if you wish with a thin pole or pipe or anything else you can get into the hole.

Is Bamboo easy to cut and split?

Bamboo is fairly easy to cut. We recommend that you use a fine tooth blade for cutting to reduce fraying of the end where it’s cut. You can split bamboo. Bamboo over 3” is much easier to split than smaller diameter bamboo. Bamboo under 3” will be best split with a table saw.  Normally,  bamboo will split very straight on the split from top to bottom. We can split the bamboo 3” or larger at a cost of $2.50 per split pole.

How is Bamboo measured?

The diameter you see in the product pages are measured from the thick end of the bamboo. Therefore the bamboo will be smaller diameter at the top end due to the taper. On occasion some poles will not have any taper but this is rare.

Can Bamboo be stained or painted?

Bamboo does not take absorb stain well. The exterior of bamboo is similar to plastic and it is not porous except at the nodes or if it has been roughed up with sandpaper. You can paint bamboo although most people would rather have the natural look of this beautiful product.

How long will Bamboo last?

If you put the bamboo into the ground, it will last up to 2 years, then it will rot off at the ground level. Above the ground the bamboo will last many, many years. If outdoors in the elements it will likely last more than 10 years. It is naturally rot and pest resistant. I’ve never heard of termites eating bamboo. If you do not treat the bamboo with a water sealer or urethane outdoors the bamboo will naturally lose its tan appearance and become a grayish color over time. Indoors, bamboo will last forever. You do not have to treat bamboo if you do not wish to. Treating it won’t necessarily prevent it from cracking either.

Building with Bamboo?

Because bamboo is round and hollow it is more difficult to build with it. If you are building a structure and want to have that tropical or Asian look, then we recommend you just build your structure or frame with wood and cover it with bamboo.

Attaching Bamboo to walls, ceilings, or other structures?

You must predrill a hole in the bamboo where you want the fastener to go. The hole you drill must be larger than the fastener shaft you are using. If you do not do this, you will crack the bamboo! Do not tighten down the fastener too hard as you will crack the bamboo. You can then use some decorative twine or rope glued or wrapped over the bamboo where the fastener heads are to cover them to give it a finished look. You can also glue bamboo to structures with some heavy duty adhesive like liquid nails.

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