Step 1: Harvest Your Bamboo (if you want to)
If you opt for a kit that doesn’t include bamboo, here’s information on how and where to harvest.
• Iron bamboo is the strongest bamboo. Our specification for the kit is to use a piece with a minimum of 38mm OD and 4mm wall thickness for the Down Tube. If you are using a more flexible bamboo, like a Phyllostachus Nuda, you’ll want to use wider and thicker tubing.
• Selecting your seat tube is critical. If the internal diameter of the bamboo piece is narrower than 29mm, you’ll induce a hoop stress on the bamboo when you insert the bamboo, particularly if bamboo is not perfectly straight (it probably won’t be.) Hoop stress is a principal cause of starting a split. If the internal diameter of the bamboo piece is wider than 30mm, you’ll be more reliant on the glue-glue bonds, rather than the bonds between the glue and the lignin and the glue and the seat tube sleeve. It’s possible to file out a piece of bamboo to open it up with a half round file, but it’s not easy.
• If you are harvesting your own bamboo, you’ll want to have a good pair of steel jawed calipers to measure the diameters.
• Do not use a large drill bit or paddle bit to widen the bamboo after you harvest – it’s dangerous and you can cut yourself. We use a special boring bit and have a nice setup to hold the bamboo.