Learn About Bamboo
Bamboo for Specific Uses
Crafts & Building
There are many ways to use bamboo culm wood. Some uses have long historical roots, and some uses you will probably think up yourself. The limit of bamboo as a craft and building material is defined only by your imagination!
To list just a few uses: bicycles, houses, baskets and other woven objects, fences, chopsticks, garden and tree stakes, bridges, artwork, furniture, arrows, beehives, musical instruments, kites, ladders, paper, flooring and other laminated products, scaffolding, stilts, bridges, brooms, crutches, toys, fishing and punting poles, pens, water wheels, windmills and many, many more. Did you know that the very first light bulb Edison invented used a bamboo filament?
Over 1 billion people in the world live in bamboo houses. Bamboo buildings have proven to be exceedingly earthquake proof because of its strength and flexibility. Here in the United States, testing is still being conducted so that it can officially be included as an acceptable structural material in building codes. Some bamboos have a tensile strength of 28,000 per square inch, vs. 23,000 for steel.
The techniques for building with bamboo are somewhat different than for milled tree wood. Bamboo Sourcery occasionally offers bamboo building and crafting workshops. If you would like to be notified of our events and helpful tips, please sign up for our newsletter. We also carry a few how-to books that focus on bamboo building, crafts, and Japanese fence making, and more here.
Temperate bamboos that are particularly good for woodcraft (though one can find multiple uses for just about any bamboo!) The linked species below are available at our nursery, and thrive in Northern and Central California.
- Bambusa textilis (all forms)
- Phyllostachys angusta
- Ph. bambusoides (all forms)
- Ph. heterocycla pubescens edulis “Moso”
- Ph. makinoi
- Ph. meyeri “Meyer’s Bamboo”
- Ph. nigra, ‘Bory’ and ‘Henon’
- Ph. propinqa
- Ph. rubromarginata “Red Margin”
- Ph. viridiglaucesens
- Ph. viridis (all forms)
- Chusqueas gigantia (has solid culms; exceedingly strong/flexible)
Note: There are a number of sub-tropical to tropical species used for woodcraft which don’t grow well in Northern California, and therefore we do not carry them.