FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

+ - Q? What can I make with bamboo?

A. Bamboo has a wide range of applications. Click to open suggested uses table.

+ - Q? Can bamboo be cut with table, panel or track saws?

A. Yes

Ensure the saw blade is sharp. Diamond tipped saw blades are the most suited to the bamboo material.

+ - Q? Can bamboo be cut with a CNC router?

A. Yes

A large percentage of the material we sell goes for CNC routing.
The CNC program needs to be adjusted to slow the feed rate by 50%, as the density of the bamboo can break router bits. The router bits themselves MUST be sharp for clean results, and it has been suggested to use ‘compression’ bits.
Two – three passes may be required to cut through thicker bamboo sheets.
If using table, panel or track saws – ensure the saw blade is sharp. Diamond tipped saw blades are the most suited to the bamboo material.

+ - Q? Can bamboo be cut or marked (engraved) with laser equipment?

A. Yes

Bamboo grain is very dense and can be laser marked easily; very fine detail can be delivered.
Some of the thinner bamboo sheets can also be laser cut. The power of the laser optics will determine the thickness that can be cut.

+ - Q? Can bamboo be cut with a water jet?

A. Yes

With care, bamboo can be cut using water jet technology.

  • Sand may be combined with the water to cut thicker sheets
  • Wipe sheets after cutting to avoid water marks, dirt and staining
  • If the sheets are left in water, straightness/flatness may be affected
  • Sheets should be well sanded, and sealed to all faces, soon after the cutting process

+ - Q? What adhesives or glues should I use?

A. LETObamboo suggests water based (water wash up) non toxic glues such as:

  • Titebond Original PVA or
  • Selleys Aquadhere PVA

which penetrate into the bamboo and ‘key’ well.

For gluing bamboo ply sheets to concrete or particle board floors, we suggest you use:

  • Bostik Ultra Set

following the manufacturers instructions

+ - Q? Do I need to sand bamboo before sealing?

A. Yes

The factory finish is quite good but a final light sand, in the direction of the grain with 180 – 220 grit, will give it a lovely silky surface in preparation for sealing.
Bamboo is a natural product and MUST be sealed on all surfaces to prevent  mould or change in the panel shape.
If left unsealed, greasy finger prints and other marks will become obvious.

+ - Q? Can bamboo be printed on?

A. Yes

Bamboo can be printed onto with remarkable results.
Due to the tight/fine grain, a great amount of detail can be achieved in the printing process.

+ - Q? What finishes suit bamboo?

A. Water borne finishes penetrate into the bamboo rather than sit as a film on top; they do not yellow or deepen the natural colour.
The first coat will swell the grain of the bamboo (choke the grain) and it will need to be sanded smooth before subsequent coats are applied.
Some water borne finishes are as resilient to scratches as the solvent-based alternatives. See our suggested finishes information.

If you prefer to deepen the colour of the bamboo the natural oils and  ‘hardwax – oils’ that contain paraffin, linseed and some nut oils give a beautiful, lustrous and hard wearing finish.

Non-toxic finishes are also highly recommended.

Most water based, and natural oil based finishes can be applied by committed handy people, and repaired / refurbished more easily (and in situ) than solvent based finishes.

+ - Q? Can 5mm thick, single ply bamboo veneer be applied (laminated) to different material such as MDF or birch?

A. Yes

For a ‘stand alone’ project, such as a table top or large panel, a sheet of 5mm bamboo should be applied to each side of the substrate for balance. This will assist in avoiding warping or twisting.

All surfaces must be sealed with a recommended sealer after fabrication.

Where 5 mm bamboo is appluied to a wall, or similar face, it MUST be sealed immediately to avoid shrinkage or expansion.

Adhesive suggested: Titebond PVA

+ - Q? Can bamboo plywood sheets be used for flooring?

A. Yes

But this is NOT the most economical way of flooring an areas. Sanding and sealing will be required after laying is complete.

Most modern strip flooring is pre-finished and can be walked over as soon as it has been laid. Using bamboo ply as sheet flooring requires the sheets to be squared – sheets are slightly oversized and not perfectly square ex factory. A channel is then routed around the perimeter to house yellow tongue; alternatively biscuit joiners may be used.

+ - Q? Can bamboo be recycled?

A. Yes

LETObamboo recommends you use a recycler with a commitment to supporting environmental stewardship by handling the donated material in a responsible way.

If you are able to deliver your material to our warehouse, or one of our listed Resellers, you will be able to utilise the free LETObamboo take back program.

Unfortunately this program is not available where material has been finished with a toxic / solvent based product.

LETObamboo: Now It’s Up To You!