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InfoBambu - Treating

According to Ximena Londoño from Colombia the main key to obtain good bamboo poles is when and which bamboo you cut. In winter bamboo stores energy in rhizomes to put up new shoots, and the culms have less sugar, which is insects and fungus food. In south hemisphere winter is in middle of gregorian year.

Bamboo age is very important. Young culms with 1 to 2 years can be used for basketry and weaving, because they are soft and flexible. Mature culms with 3 to 4 years are ideal for construction, they are strong and have resistance.

Popular beliefs points the wane moon as the best moon phase to cut bamboo poles, when they would be more insect resisting. But this has no scientifical evidence.

Best day time to cut is few hours before sunrise. After cutting you may leave the poles in same place, supported by its neighbors, for 2 to 3 weeks. While they dry, they also say goodbye to its fellows. Further treating methods can use heating, putting under water, smoking, etc...


Cut culms stay wet for some months. Easiest way to dry is let them rest supported on a wall protected from rain and sun, from 1 to several months, depending on climate.

Fire helps achieving fast results, even in cold and wet climates. Johan Van Lengen, from Instituto Tibá, wrote in his book "Manual do Arquiteto Descalço": "we dig a shallow hole and involve it with bricks. Bamboo must be put 50 cm (20 in) above fire. To dry well, we must turn the poles once in a while. With this method bamboo wall becomes stronger, but be carefull!! Strong fires can open and deform poles."

fire drying pg. 354 - Johan Van Lengen - "Manual do Aruiteto Descalço" - Ed. Tibá
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