Bamboo Plywood: The Making and Reasons to Opt for it

Bamboo has emerged as a solution to the many challenges posed by wood and other materials, when it comes to flooring and decking needs. With more and more people gradually recognizing the importance of conserving vital resources of this planet, bamboo is no doubt the best fit of the lot.

Over the years, hardwood has been chosen by designers and homeowners to make the look of their house stand out. Now that bamboo has arrived, particularly the ‘Moso Bamboo’ species, it requires no mention that most have made a beeline to avail the same. Its contribution towards climate change and environmental protection, besides going easy on the pocket are few other reasons why people choose this plant.

Reasons for choosing bamboo

Bamboo is ‘technically superior’ in more ways than one. Here are reasons why it’s a hot favorite at present:

- Bamboo has a great tensile strength than cold pressed steel

- Among the number of solid woods available currently, bamboo’s stability is far beyond comparison. So, there’s no need to fight with those planks for making it the way one wants

- Bamboo is an extremely renewable plant. It takes a maximum of 4-5 years for reaching maturity, compared to solid woods, which grow till they reach 60-80 years

- Despite being a grass with rhizome root system, bamboo doesn’t break easily. The sustainability factor is so good in this plant that most proffer not to look beyond it

- The solid bamboo that comes laminated is hard as red oak and the strand woven varieties are hardest

The plant at present

With over 11000 varieties of bamboo available all over the world, there’s wide variation in sizes and utilities. Most of them are common in Asia and South America, but one specifies species is a native to the US.

If you check to see, a large number of bamboo plywood is made from the ‘Moso’ species, characteristic of China. This is largely because the bamboo has a chute with harvestable height extending till 35-40 feet in three to four years. The root system is also spread out, so when harvested, it continues to grow without being replanted.

The making of bamboo plywood

Once the bamboo plant reaches a height of 35-40 feet, it’s harvesting is done to take out all forms of pests or imperfections, if any. Then it’s cut into slats that are treated with borate solution for killing those pests. Later, it’s kiln-dried to a moisture content ranging between 6-9%.

When the drying process is over, the slats are planned, inspected and graded to use as the surface or a substitute material. Next, the slats are glued along the edges for making a single-sly panel. Laminate sheets, at least two or even more should be joined with the adhesive in the hydraulic process.

Availability of plywood

Bamboo plywood is found in two colors primarily- natural and amber. The natural one is the standard color of bamboo at eth very time of its harvest. Once the heat is applied during the drying and after, the sugars in the bamboo get caramelized to lend an amber shade. The darkened sugars then coat the entire material through the strip and not just the surface.

Comparison between bamboo and hardwood

The demand for hardwood isn’t over. In fact, architects, designers, contractors and builders have access to few products made of timber, which are certified by Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). However, they are way too costly. In this regard, it will be worthwhile knowing how bamboo surpasses wood in certain respects:

-Strength and endurance

Tensile strength of bamboo is about 28000 per square inch as compared to steel that’s about 25000. The plywood is made of several layers of bamboo strips and kiln dried, smoothened and finally laminated along the edges for creating a single sly panel. Once the multi layers get cross laminated and heated under pressure, the bamboo becomes stronger and stable than even oak.

-Design flexibility

Bamboo plywood has an advantage of being cut sanded, nailed, fixed and plugged using traditional woodworking tools, providing exceptional stability. Even in size options, bamboo scores over its wood counterparts by several notches.

If seen carefully, bamboo plywood is the perfect alternative to hardwood for both indoor and outdoor design projects.

Bamboo Plywood: The Making and Reasons to Opt for it