Help with bamboo staff

Sabo

Yellow Belt
Joined
Sep 10, 2008
Messages
25
Reaction score
1
Location
SE Missouri
I hope someone can help me. I have been growing bamboo and it is finally getting to the proper diameter that I can make bo staffs. Is there a process to drying the bamboo? Is there something that I should coat it with for longer life? If anyone is in "the know" please chime in with your recommendations.

Many thanks in advance!
 

geezer

Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
Oct 20, 2007
Messages
7,186
Reaction score
3,295
Location
Phoenix, AZ
I hope someone can help me. I have been growing bamboo and it is finally getting to the proper diameter that I can make bo staffs. Is there a process to drying the bamboo? Is there something that I should coat it with for longer life? If anyone is in "the know" please chime in with your recommendations.

Many thanks in advance!

Different systems have different preferences but in the FMA's and other arts I've seen, either hardwood or heavy rattan are used for staff training. Bamboo is hollow and pretty lightweight stuff. Rattan superficially resembles bamboo in that it is a light color and has "nodes" or joints, but it is solid and resists impact much better. With rattan a typical thickness would be around 1 1/2 or 1 3/4 inches for a six foot staff. About the only martial weapon I've seen made of bamboo is a kendo shinai and that is made of joined sections or "slats" bound with cowhide--very different from using raw bamboo.
 

Flying Crane

Sr. Grandmaster
Joined
Sep 21, 2005
Messages
14,879
Reaction score
4,450
Location
San Francisco
I believe Japanese Bo staff is generally made of a hardwood, often a type of oak, altho Red Oak specifically tends to splinter, but other types of oak can be very good.

Chinese staff is generally made from Chinese White Wax Wood, which is sort of a thing all its own...
 
OP
S

Sabo

Yellow Belt
Joined
Sep 10, 2008
Messages
25
Reaction score
1
Location
SE Missouri
Thank you kindly for the input. I was partially aware of the types of wood for proper weaponry. These will be primarily for gifts and I thought maybe demonstration / competition application. After all, they use hybrid staffs in competition so why not a nice looking (light weight) bamboo style?

Thanks again!!
 

kuntawguro

Master Black Belt
Joined
Feb 25, 2006
Messages
1,465
Reaction score
7
Location
Michigan
Bamboo shatters quite well when impacted and it is not recognized as a weapon wood for competition.
 

Flying Crane

Sr. Grandmaster
Joined
Sep 21, 2005
Messages
14,879
Reaction score
4,450
Location
San Francisco
I've got a feeling you might find the bamboo actually uncomfortable to use. The rings at the joints can stick out and make handling clumsy, and the lightness of the bamboo just really makes it kind of difficult to use the way a staff is meant to use.
 

harleyt26

Yellow Belt
Joined
Dec 6, 2007
Messages
30
Reaction score
2
Location
Summerfield,Florida
Rattan is a vine that is straightened and dried then cut to the proper length. It also has a skin on it. Bamboo is very diferent. We use bamboo for oiling our sai. When it is cut at the knode to form a cup about two to three inches in diameter and two to three inches tall you then stuff it with old socks or other cloth till it it swelling over the top slightly then pour in light weight oil till the cloth is absorbed and wet. You can then hold it by the bamboo and wipe down the sai without getting oil all over your hands.You will need to keep dry rags around to wipe the oil off before using the sai.This will keep black Shureido and Agena sai from rusting from the sweat on your hands. Oiling is not necessary on stainless steel sai.

Bamboo bo will not hold up even with no contact.Any wipping action will shatter the bamboo. Bamboo can be used to make very decorative bo racks though.

Tom Hodges
 

Grenadier

Administrator
Staff member
Lifetime Supporting Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2005
Messages
10,826
Reaction score
617
Bamboo is a very hard and light material. It does not resist impact at all, and even some hard swings with a dry bamboo bo with no impact, can result in cracking, splintering, etc. This isn't too much of a problem for shorter weapons, but for a bo, that's too much bending for bamboo.

I like to think of it as more of a substitute for metal, rather than wood. It's great as a laminate material for composites, but not as a stand-alone weapon.

If, on the other hand, you're going to make some display weapons, out of bamboo, then that's fine. You can get some really beautiful looking weapons with bamboo. I would strongly recommend treating them with wood preservatives, followed by a couple coatings of polymerized tung oil. This will give you a hard, smooth coat, and really bring out a nice shine with the bamboo.
 
Top