Monday, June 6, 2011

Traditional (or non-chemical) methods of Bamboo Treatment

These are ancient methods widely used for centuries by villagers and artisans in countries where bamboo grows, and often the skills are passed on from generation to generation.
The most commonly methods used are smoking, white-washing, storage in water.

Bamboo treated by smoking
Smoking is carried out in chambers. Heat and toxic agents produced by smoke destroy the starch in bamboo making it immune to insect attack and also blackens the culms.

There are, in Japan, bamboo houses older than 100 years. The smoke from the kitchen (fireplace without chimney) spreads throughout the house and thus preserves the bamboo structure from any attack.

Baking over open fire:
Bamboo culms are baking over fire after applying oil on the surface of green round bamboos. This causes rapid drying of the outer shell and induces partial charring and decomposition of starch and other sugars. This method is very useful for simultaneous straightening of bamboos in round form.

White washing:
Bamboo culms are painted with slaked lime, thereby prolonging their lifespan by delaying and reducing the absorption of moisture while being a repellent against insects.

Soaking in water:
Bamboo soaking into runing water
 Freshly cut bamboo is stored either in water ponds or in running water for 3-4 weeks to leach out starch. This process protects the bamboo against insects. When stored in water basins, water must be changed frequently to avoid fouling.

Although traditionally treated bamboo shows increased resistance to insects and fungi attack compare to the freshly cut culms, these methods do not however provide complete satisfaction in the long term.

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