is Versatile Bamboo
truly is a remarkable renewable resource. It is a centuries
old material that has been and continues to be used
by over half the world's population for applications
as varied as food, shelter, fuel and clothing. These
applications make bamboo a vital non-timber, non-petroleum
resource. With a tensile strength superior to steel,
it is one of the most versatile and durable natural
resources in the world.
is Sustainable Bamboo
plays an important role in the reduction of timber consumption,
environmental and forest protection, poverty alleviation,
and sustainable development of rural economies. It is
the fastest growing canopy for the re-greening of degraded
lands and releases 35% more oxygen than equivalent timber
Bamboo is a highly renewable material. It is one of
the earth's fastest growing plants. Bamboo needs no
replanting, grows without fertilizers or pesticides
and is harvested from controlled stands with an astounding
growth cycle of three to five years. Bamboo is not a
wood, but a species of grass. There are more than 1200
species of bamboo in the world. Moso (Phyllostachys
pubescens) is our preferred species for its versatility,
renewability and beauty. Importantly, Moso bamboo is
not a species consumed by the panda. Bamboo offers vital
economic and ecological benefits to the lives of millions
of people worldwide; providing food, fuel, housing,
furniture, artisan products, and soil and water conservation.
at a Glance
enduring, fast growing and truly renewable resource, it
needs no replanting.
A high-yielding, viable replacement for wood and petroleum
economic and ecological benefits including soil and water
conservation, jobs, numerous product applications and
food- more then 1000 documented uses.
Amazingly short growth cycle, it can be harvested in 3-5
years versus 15-20, typical for many hardwoods.
The fastest growing plant on the planet, some species
can grow up to 1 meter or 3 feet per day.
critical element in the balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide
in the atmosphere.
renewable alternative resource for agro-forestry production.
Bamboo shoots provide a nutritional source of food which
can be made into bread, cakes scones and cookies.
Environmentally friendly reduction of pressure on forests
through wood substitution.
can be made in rural environments, reducing industrial
and urbanization impacts.
is durable, sturdy and strong - harder than Red Oak and
cane, also known as "Teastick Bamboo" and "Tsinglee
Canes", was peculiarly only growing in a small village
named Aozai, a rather remote geographic area along the
Sui River in the northwest corner of the Guangdong province,
which now is home to this special species of bamboo in
This small village is along the Sui River , It's here
that this very special cane is grown. The river is bound
by steep hillsides,which provides the perfect rainy climate
for this species. The workers plant, tend and harvest
the bamboo along these hills.
was two American who did great job to introduce the Tonkin
bamboo to the world. The first one is Dr. Floyd McClure,
who was an instructor and professor at Lingan University
in Guangdong, China from 1919-1941 . 'Tonkin' bamboo was
assigned the scientific name of Arundinaria amabilis by
Dr. Floyd McClure. Upon a visit to China in 1925, McClure
was the first to scientifically describe the plant and
recognized that it was a distinct and previously unreported
species. At the time , this bamboo had already been in
use for building fly rods and was known by a variety of
different common names. The name was amended to Arundinaria
amabilis McClure in the doctor's honor and translated,
means 'The Lovely Bamboo.
culm is the term for the long straight section of cane
that is of use. This comes from the lower section of the
stalk cut just above the butt curve. Typically the cane
doesn't branch out till it's high in the air. After harvesting
these culms are formed into rafts, floated down a river
and hand scoured on a beach with wet sand. Next the culms
are again bundled , secured only at the mid point and
stood upright, teepee style, This allows the cane to dry
and bleach in the sun. Usually a week of good weather
is sufficient for this requirement.Having been cut to
length sorted for size it is then sent by boat down the
Sui River to the factory. The cane is given one final
treatment, one of straightening. Where necessary they
are warmed up gradually and then heated intensely for
a few seconds over a hot coal fire just prior to manual
straightening with a notched wooden lever designed for
dried and bleached in the sun, the colour changes from
a pale green to the familiar pale yellow. Leaf nodes showing
through the enamel (the hard dense coating on the outer
surface of the cane) are weak places and must be avoided.
Likewise identification marks burned into the cane by
the shipper usually go down through the enamel fibres
and effectively spoil that part of the culm. Other exterior
marking, such as watermarks, brown spots, and incidental
scratches usually disappear with a light sanding of the
enamel. The colour of the cane is critical as far as appearance
is concerned. However, it is important to understand that
this can change with the heat treating or torching processes
during the actual rod construction and that the resultant
product may be straw yellow or even brown toned.
most noticeable feature of the cane is the series of spaced
rings, known as nodes, along the outside of the canes.
Where each node appears on the outside of the culm a diaphragm
will be found on the inside. The node spacing varies from
10 ¨C 20 inches and is the smallest at the butt end of
the culm, gradually increasing towards the upper or small
end of the culm. The wall thickness of the individual
culms varies between 3/16 and 3/8 of an inch. The outer
surface of the cane has a hard dense coating called the
enamel, whereas the inside surface is soft and pithy.
A cross section of culm reveals that the fibre density
is highest just under the enamel, closest to the outer
edge. Consequently the bamboo for rods
is made by cutting longitudinal strips from the culm using
the fibres on the outer part of the culm at, and adjacent
to £¬the enamel.
are often asked many questions about cane. Some commonly
asked questions, and my opinions:
cane difficult to acquire?
All one needs to do to acquire bamboo for rodbuilding
is pick up the phone and call a supplier. There are
presently a number of people importing cane for rodbuilding.
Part of the perceived scarcity of cane goes back to
an embargo placed on Chinese goods from 1950 to 1971.
this time cane could not be imported into the U.S. and
those that had good supplies of the material guarded
it jealously because without an adequate stock of material,
they simply could not continue building bamboo rods.
is also often asked if there is something magical about
this so-called 'pre-embargo' cane. The answer is, no.
I wish I had a dollar for every time I was offered to
buy (at very high prices) someone's precious 'pre-embargo'
bamboo. Remember that the trade embargo was nothing
more then a political act. If the government today slapped
an embargo on another natural product, say rosewood,
and the embargo ended tomorrow and importation resumed,
you would still get the same rosewood.
know of rodbuilders that have offered to sell supposed
pre-embargo cane yet they purchase new cane every year.
As a matter of fact, I'd venture to guess that there
is more 'pre-embargo' cane available now then there
was in 1950! So if there is anything magical about pre-embargo
cane, it's all in how well some people can make an old
(maybe) piece of grass worth a lot of money.
the cane expensive?
Currently a twelve-foot culm of bamboo may sell, depending
on the source, from about thirteen dollars to the low
twenty- dollar range. A rodbuilder can get a minimum
of one rod from a culm, and sometimes more. This makes
the material cost of the cane in a rod very inexpensive.
dry (or old) does the cane need be to build a rod?
remember reading someone stating that the drier the
cane, the better. This is hogwash. In fact, some types
of glue used to assemble rods will not function correctly
below a minimum moisture content in the cane. If a rod
is glued up with ultra-dry cane, it may just fall apart.
Some makers will tell you that their cane is aged x-number
of years. Well, maybe it is, and maybe it isn't. But
you sure as hell can't tell by looking at it! This sort
of hype in regards to a rodbuilding material is as old
as the hills and continues to this day. Nowadays, instead
of rodbuilders bragging about how old their cane is,
graphite builders brag that their material is x-million
modulus or is fortified with secret submarine technology.
The more things change, the more they are the same!