Book Review of Bamboo Preseration Compendium
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Promoting the Beauty and Utility of Bamboo

Review of Bamboo Preservation Compendium by Dr. Walter Liese and Dr. Satish Kumar. 2003. CIBART Technical Report No. 1/INBAR Technical Report No. 22. New Delhi, India, Centre for Indian Bamboo Resource and Technology. ISBN 81-901808-0-0

Summary Description by Gerald Morris, ABS President

If you are planning to construct articles from bamboo materials, the Compendium will be a valuable resource in preserving creations, not to mention a wonderful addition to your bamboo library.

The Compendium contains 231 pages with numerous color photographs describing techniques for preserving bamboo material. Chapter 1 describes the anatomical characteristics of bamboo and the authors discuss moisture content and drying procedures. Chapter 2 briefly discusses the natural durability of bamboo material. Chapter 3 describes the factors reducing the quality such as cracks, splits, fungi, mold, decay and the dreaded powder-post beetles as well as other insects. Chapter 4 presents non-chemical protection measures including proper storage, traditional methods of culm curing such as boiling, smoking, lime plastering, heat treatment and so on. Special construction methods are listed where much damage can be avoided by using the described approaches. Chapter 5 presents the conditions for chemical treatment. The treatment methods need to consider the bamboo tissue or anatomical structure as well as the moisture content. Chapter 6 gets at the essence of the subject by describing the preservatives for bamboo to prevent decay and insect infestations. Some of these chemicals are hazardous and are no longer used in the U. S. For example, the excellent wood preservative Copper-Chrome-Arsenic compound or CCA that was used for so many years in the U. S to yield the so-called “treated lumber’ is no longer being used as of December 31, 2003. While the CCA treated wood had excellent resistance to decay and insects, studies had shown that this popular treated wood was being used in construction of playground equipment and potentially dangerous arsenic compounds were leaching out of the wood into the soil. Other natural compounds are mentioned as well as varnishes and paints. Chapter 7 follows rather naturally in that it briefly describes some safety precautions in handling these dangerous chemicals. Chapter 8 gives details on the chemical treatment methods such as applications via brushing, spraying, dipping and so on. Chapter 9 gives techniques for the treatment of semi-finished and finished products including dyeing or coloring the bamboo as well as painting and applying clear finishes. Chapter 10 addresses quality control and methods for determining the penetration of preservatives into the bamboo material. Chapter 11 presents the environmental consequences of preserving bamboo using such harsh, dangerous chemicals. Chapter 12 addresses the economic consequences of preserving the bamboo. Chapter 13 describes the procedures of dealing with bamboo that is already infested by insects. In particular, it describes procedure for treating infested furniture and art objects. Appendix A-1 gives a list of preservatives, A-2 gives preservative application methods and concentration retention levels and A-3 provides a glossary of terms.

The author’s summary description follows: “Bamboo is an excellent material for countless applications ranging from handicrafts to industrial products and construction.

One of the major obstacles to wider utilization is the biological degradation of raw bamboo and bamboo products that shortens the life span of its products. Bamboo is susceptible to various microbe and pest attack.

Like wood which is similarly susceptible, it is likewise possible to prevent bamboo deterioration by use of appropriate and safe treatments. However, information on various preservation procedures in use is hard to come by. A knowledge gap exists, in spite of the knowledge being available.

This Bamboo Preservation Compendium brings together information on various technologies and procedures used for bamboo protection and preservation around the world, weaving in the knowledge of experience. It outlines safety procedures, environmental issues and economics of preservation. Concisely yet comprehensively, in a manner that is field applicable.”

ABS still has copies available of this excellent book about preserving the bamboo culm or plant material after it is cut for use in construction or crafts. These books are available for purchase for $22.00 each plus $4.00 shipping and handling costs per copy for U.S. and Canada addresses. Copies may be ordered by mail from:
Sue Turtle
ABS Treasurer
30 Myers Road
Summertown, TN 38483-7323.

Enclose payment together with your shipping address.

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