Bamboo – A grass you can use like wood but grows up to 50x faster
In North America and Europe, soft woods and hard woods have traditionally been used for house framing, flooring, and doors as well as for making furniture. The problem with using trees for construction is that they take 20-100 years to mature which means that vast tracts of land must be committed for many years between harvests of the wood.
An excellent alternative to using hard woods and soft wood lumber is to use bamboo.
Unlike hardwood and softwood trees, bamboo grows very quickly and can be harvested in only a few years as they grow up to 3-4 feet/day (1.5-2.0 inches/hr)), with growth rates of 3-6 inches per day being common due to a unique rhizome system and is dependent on local soil and climate conditions.
Bamboo is already important to East and South East Asia where it is used in gardens, as a building material, and as a food source. Bamboo can survive in diverse climates from cold mountains to hot tropical regions Bamboo already occurs in the south eastern United States and there are a number of species that can be grown in the northern USA and Canada . There are already 35 species of bamboo that can be used for pulp and paper instead of trees. Bamboo grows in many sizes from small one inch diameter poles to large 12″ diameter bamboo which grows 100 feet (30 meters) tall in only 3 to 4 years. tree free toilet paper
Treated, bamboo is a very hard wood that is both lightweight and very durable, and can be used in making or building houses, fences, bridges, toilets, walking sticks, canoes, tableware, furniture, chopsticks, food steamers, toys, bicycles, construction scaffolding, as a substitute for steel reinforcing rods in concrete construction, hats, and for martial arts weaponry, including fire arrows, flame throwers and rockets. Omachron has developed a series of environmentally safe treatments to preserve bamboo for use in construction.
Harvesting bamboo for wood requires care to select mature stems that are several years old, as first-year stems, although full sized, are not fully developed and are not as strong as more mature stems.
Bamboo can also be carved for decorative artwork, and can be made into flooring. Bamboo flooring is made by steaming pieces flattening them, gluing them together, and then sanding and finishing them. The only caution about bamboo is that it is easily infested by wood-boring insects unless treated with wood preservatives or kept very dry.
Bamboo can be used to make paper and the fibers can be used as yarn and fabrics. Bamboo fabric is soft and has claims of natural antibacterial properties. Clothing, bed sheets, and towels made from bamboo are a great natural item and available at Omachron OnLine [http://www.omachrononline.com]. Bamboo has gained increasing popularity in the culinary world as a material for cutting boards, as they are hard enough to withstand years of knife abuse, yet more forgiving to the knife blade, causing less damage to the edged utensils over time
You can plant bamboo in your own back yard throughout much of North America and the wood and fibers can be used for everything from small building and carving projects to simple fencing, decoration, and making paper and crafts with your kids. For more information subscribe to Omachron OnLine.
Some skateboard and snowboard deck manufacturers as well as surfboard builders are beginning to use bamboo construction. It is both lighter and stronger than traditional materials and its cultivation is environmentally friendly. At least one snow ski manufacturing company, Liberty Skis, now uses bamboo construction for these reasons.