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bamboo for cups?

Posted by Cypresswut New York (My Page) on
Tue, Jan 29, 13 at 13:45

I had an idea recently to make cups out of bamboo, both for personal use and for sale. I'd like to be able to make a range of sizes, from shot glasses to pint cups. The problem is that I've got little to no experience buying or cultivating bamboo, and I can't find any resources locally for it. I live in Nassau County, Long Island NY.

Does anyone have any experience with this kind of thing, or any recommendations of bamboos to use or avoid? How long would growing my own bamboo for this sort of thing take? Is this a fool's errand?

I'll also note that if the cups thing works out I'd probably end up trying to find OTHER projects involving bamboo.

Thanks guys!

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: bamboo for cups?

Although bamboo grows fast from emergence to full culm height, the culm needs to be there for a few, to several years, to harden off for use in building things and the like.

Also, it might take a few years to get the bamboo to grow to the desired size from a small plant.

I would plant and grow more than one variety, and varieties that do well in your area, and in the meantime, I'd buy some culms(online if nowhere else) and start making your cups and experiment a little, then by the time you get your own homegrown bamboo to use, you'll be way ahead.

Good Luck and post a pic of some of your finished products when you start selling them.


RE: bamboo for cups?

Post and search on craigslist for people in your area that sell bamboo poles in the spring when they begin to thin their groves. You would also be surprised how many people and open lands have bamboo growing in your area. Driving around in the winter and looking for bright green out of place foliage is an easy way to spot bamboo.

Bamboo growers wider each year so you would want to find a mature bamboo grove to cut from. For maximum strength the bamboo cane should be 2-3 years old before you harvest it.

RE: bamboo for cups?

I grow many kinds of bamboo and have built a variety of things from it. However, if you main goal is making things, I encourage you to find sources of already grown bamboo locally or online, rather than trying to grow your own supplies. Why? Because if you plant today, and in your Zone, it will probably be 5 years before you have anything big enough to use as building pr craft material. Additionally, the types of bamboo you can typically grow where you live will be generally about 1-1/2" in diameter at maturity, and maybe 2" if you get really lucky and are willing to wait even longer.

Then, after you harvest it, you will have to find some way to dry it so you will have usable culms. Air drying will take about 6 months; drying in an oven is not practical for you, and will likely cause splits anyway. I have found decent-diameter, dried culms at several local gardening centers, and, if you do a Google search for bamboo poles, you will find sources that will mail to you. Yes, it will seem more expensive; however, if you want to start making things in the foreseeable future, you will skip the grow-your-own step. I'm not trying to discourage you...just trying to save you frustration.

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