Preparation of the Bamboo Material

Spltitting Bamboo

Because the bamboo grain is smooth and straight, the bamboo can be worked on by "splitting".

1. What does "splitting" mean? The difference between "splitting" and "cutting" is that when splitting the bamboo, it is torn according to the natural grain, but it is not cut with the blade (see Figure 6-2).

2. The three steps when splitting the bamboo (see picture 6-3):
(1) notching
(2) spliting
(3) slicing

3. The splitting tools
Although the thin bamboo can be split with conventional knives, you still need special tools to split thick bamboo properly. Besides the traditional splitting knife with wide wedge-shaped knife backs, we can also make bamboo knives ourselves. You look for a steel plate about 5mm thick and 50-60cm wide and about 200mm long. The plate should have a 15mm diameter hole at one end. The used spring steel plate of a car, for example, is well suited. With a grinding wheel you grind one side of the steel plate so that an angle of 45-60 degrees is created, until you get a sharp knife edge. Then you look for a steel rod that can be inserted into the hole of the knife and has a length of 300mm. With this self-made bamboo knife you can easily split bamboo with a diameter of less than 160mm (see picture 6-4). The pampered Western kte builder may of course also get special bamboo knives made of chain steel folded umpteen times. You may get it from specialized Japanese knive-dealers (maybe very expensive).

4. Prepare the bamboo raw material
The cut natural bamboo poles should first be processed into bamboo slats, then you can use them. The preprocessing steps are listed below:
(1) Cut off the foot part and the tip part of the raw bamboo.
(2) Cut into pipe pieces of 1-1.5m.
(3) Split each piece of pipe into eight equal-width slats.
(4) Tie 10 slats together in a bundle.


Copyright 2002 ff: Hans P. Boehme