Bamboo may look and feel like wood, but it is actually a member of the grass family. Fresh bamboo is the favourite food of those cute Chinese panda bears, but when dried and seasoned, cut bamboo poles are great for making fences, garden canes, furniture, decorative borders and torch holders. Because bamboo splinters easily, it must be cut with care.
Measure the piece of bamboo and make a pencil line where you want to cut it.
If making a flat cut, score the bamboo along the pencil line with the sharp knife. Use light pressure so you don't splinter the bamboo, and make sure it is scored all the way around.
Place the bamboo on a bench, table or other raised flat surface. If you can, clamp it to the bench or place it in a vice. Saw slowly with the hacksaw at the score mark. If the bamboo begins to splinter, stop and use the knife to make a deeper score. Then saw slowly again with the hacksaw. Hold the end that is not clamped down or have an assistant hold it so that it doesn't crack or splinter before you're finished sawing completely through the bamboo pole.
Use a mitre box for any angled cuts. Scoring is more difficult on an angle, but it must be done to prevent splintering. Use a fine-tooth mitre saw if one is available.
Use fine sandpaper to smooth any rough spots on the cut edge. Again, be gentle to avoid splintering.
Many shops that stock bamboo poles will cut them to size for you.
Tips and warnings
- Many shops that stock bamboo poles will cut them to size for you.