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 Post subject: secrets
PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2012 3:00 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jun 14, 2012 2:47 am
Posts: 6
Location: Providence RI
I'm trying to start a bamboo tool business here in Rhode Island and I'm vexed by the growth of microorganisms on the two strips I use for my rakes. these are not lawn type rakes but the kind one would rake a sand trap on a golf course with. Yet, with bamboo rakes of the lawn type i buy in a store, i can leave them out in the elements, on the lawn, seemingly forever, and the tines remain free of mold or fungus. there must be some treatment that they undergo. i have asked my bamboo supplier and they suggested soaking the strips in baking soda and water. i tried this, didn't work. anyone have a hint for me how to locate the secret of mold, fungus, mildew free bamboo when exposed to the elements? thanks, hank


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 Post subject: Re: bamboo preservation
PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2012 5:21 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 09, 2009 1:11 pm
Posts: 356
Location: Midwest, USDA Z5 / AHS Heat Z5
hmccartin wrote:
there must be some treatment that they undergo.


There are some very effective and toxic chemicals to treat lumber that prevent rot. For example, a greenish tint suggests chromated copper arsenate which has been used for decades, though no longer allowed in the USA for most residential uses.

Multiple means may be considered for preserving bamboo. As starches and sugars in the bamboo act as nutrients for undesirable pests, harvesting bamboo timber in a season when the plant stores less of these nutrients enhances preservation. Freshly harvested bamboo can also be precisely heat treated to drive off oils and resins that serve as nutrients for pests such as mold.

If you feel the need to resort to chemical preservatives, pressure and heat can apply them effectively. Lacking pressurized equipment to infuse a chemical solution, you might instead soak the fresh bamboo for a number of days or weeks. So too, certain chemicals should only be used for bamboo that is expected to stay dry as such chemicals will leach away and become ineffective as the bamboo gets wet.

Perhaps a surface treatment such as an anti-fungal sealant may be suitable for your application. This helps protect the bamboo from the effects of both water and mold.

hmccartin wrote:
i have asked my bamboo supplier and they suggested soaking the strips in baking soda and water. i tried this, didn't work.


Rather than baking soda, I've read of borax used as a preservative.
I've never tried this though.


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 Post subject: Re: secrets
PostPosted: Sat Aug 23, 2014 5:53 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jun 14, 2012 2:47 am
Posts: 6
Location: Providence RI
thanks for the great advice, jd. yes, it's years later, but just now working on process to preserve strips. After washing I'm applying a whey protein based 'poly' finish that is marketed as a deck or other outdoor wood finish; seals for water and provides uv protection. It seems to meld with the waxy, almost slimy layer on the inside walls, and when it hardens they seem to form a single coat. Of course I've abraded the surface carefully. I also tried epifanes spar varnish with some mineral spirits and extra tung oil. That, also, seems to mix solidly with the waxish material. Wondering why. BTW, washing cleans the white, waxy, powdery substance from the skin. I wonder if this white stuff and the clear layer inside are akin, chemically.


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 Post subject: Re: secrets
PostPosted: Sat Aug 23, 2014 6:34 pm 
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Joined: Sat May 11, 2013 2:27 am
Posts: 192
Location: E. TN, USA
Try a mixture of water/propylene glycol and borax. One cup borax per gallon liquid (that seems to be all that can be disolved). The glycol helps the liquid to penetrate wood. You can get prop glycol at Walmart, hardware and auto stores; used as antifreeze for RV water pipes. About $4-5/gallon in the US; completely non-toxic (unlike ethylene glycol), but beware that they might mix other things in that are toxic.

Not just shooting from the hip. Some form of this is what they use for mold treatment. http://www.domyownpestcontrol.com/borac ... -1265.html. Might want to do a little research along this line before trying, as I can't admit to having studied it in depth (much less applied it).

Please report back if you try it.


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 Post subject: Re: secrets
PostPosted: Sun Aug 31, 2014 8:13 am 
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Joined: Fri Apr 09, 2010 2:20 am
Posts: 246
i have spent many hours and lost money on this subject. not for rakes, but for other things.

biggest thing: get the moisture content down to 10% and keep it there for a week. this will allow the "bound water" (hint, try to google that + bamboo) to escape. it will also see if your piece of bamboo will survive the stress and temper it for stress-cracking.

second biggest thing: make the bamboo less attractive to insects and mold than other things they can choose from. it's a big buffet for them, what tastes the best? drill the nodes out with a long drill bit, then soak it in your poly or outdoor solution - should be fine. just make sure the moisture content is in check -before- doing this (that single piece of advice cost me much money in a learning experience). otherwise, bamboo will actually shed off your poly or outdoor solution. quite fascinatingly unfortunate to experience.



cheers,
tb

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Terra Bamboo
300 acre Bamboo Plantation Project
Focusing on Henon, Moso, Robert Young, Rubro, Vivax and Fargesia


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