View Full Version : Bamboo bowl

06-08-2013, 04:15 AM
Hey all,

had one of these down @ the so-cal camp. Bowl made from 3 laminated scraps of bamboo plywood. 18" dia., 5 paths, 1/2 straight bit, 1/8 downspiral, and 1.5" core box. about an hour and a half cut time. 2 sided machining with cut3D and Vcarve. The cool thing is that all of the lines and circles are a direct result of the way the material is made in conjunction with the curve of the cut.

anyway, I brought one of them up to give the supplier (www.calibamboo.com (http://www.calibamboo.com) I have had nothing but great service and a good relationship with them as a customer [otherwise no affiliation])

they shot me back some professional photos they had taken.

thought I'd share.


06-08-2013, 05:19 AM
I like it:)

Will keep in mind the laminated plywood.....nice affect!


06-08-2013, 10:09 AM
Looks great! Did you have to do a lot of sanding?

06-08-2013, 12:04 PM
I love that bowl!!!

Did you glue up the 3 pieces of bamboo plywood? were they the 3/4 plywood from the company you mentioned and can the plywood be ordered in small quantities from them? I would really like to give it a shot. That one of the nicest bowls I have seem done on a CNC.


Chuck Keysor
06-08-2013, 12:04 PM
Chris, that is a very beautiful bowl! The design, finish and over-all effect is really quite pleasing.

I have experimented with V-carving some bamboo flooring, and was really positively impressed with how well it machined! I'll have to check and see if there are any bamboo sources in my area.

Thanks for posting, Chuck

06-08-2013, 03:58 PM
nice bowl........everything you do is top notch. For once i'd like to see you make something "amateurish" and not so professional. You make us all look bad!:D another good job!

06-09-2013, 02:29 AM
to answer;

Paul - a bit. It kind of depends on how long you want to tie up your table. I used a relatively high stepover to keep the cut time shorter. but more sanding. If you bring the stepover down, very little is needed, the material cuts beautifully.

Mark - yup, it is just 3 squares of the 3/4 glued up face to face (while trying to match the grain lines as best I could) as re: calibamboo, they are local to me so I just go pick up what I need from their warehouse. They have a 2 sheet minimum I believe, be warned the stuff is --heavy-- if you need it shipped, but they really are super friendly. just call em up. They do deal with large construction jobs, but I have never felt neglected as a "small timer"

06-10-2013, 02:38 PM
Chris-- After looking at the calibamboo.com site I see about 7 different types of bamboo 3/4 plywood. Does is matter which one I use? Which one did you use for the bowl?


06-10-2013, 05:19 PM
Very nice bowl.. I like the pattern on the outer circle.

06-11-2013, 03:49 PM
Mark, I used the carbonized vertical 3/4, but any would work, just depends on the effect you want.

06-11-2013, 09:26 PM
Thank you Chris. I'm going to give it a try.


Bob Eustace
06-12-2013, 01:27 AM
To all Aussies following this fascinating thread you can get the stuff here and it isnt expensive!


06-12-2013, 02:53 AM
Thanks Bob....was wondering who would have it here.....


06-12-2013, 10:27 AM

I'm fascinated with the Bamboo plywood and have looked at the gallery of things made with it. I can't seem to see what the core is made of from their web site but it looks solid. Your bowl shows the core but it looks as attractive as the rest. Did you apply a stain to the bowl and what type of finish was applied. Is it food safe?

With the bamboo do you have to worry about any warping or twisting of the piece? Have you ever made or seen any signs or plaques made out of it? What is the primary purpose that you buy the bamboo plywood for?
I think most consumers that care about the green aspect would really like the bamboo.

Sorry for all the questions but can't seem to get this material out of my mind. I get to California once in a while, its only about an 7 hour drive from my house and my wife loves San Diego so may take a trip over to the company to pick up a couple sheets.

Thanks for your help.


Chuck Keysor
06-12-2013, 12:36 PM
Chris, you asked about making other things like signs with bamboo. I got some scrap bamboo strip flooring that was pre-finished, with clear varnish. The material V-carved BEAUTIFULLY. And the varnish job was excellent,so I had to simply wipe on my paint to in-fill the letters, and then the excess wiped off perfectly.

The attached photo shows the plaque I carved for my Mom. (That is one of her favorite Bible verses. The little mitered frame took longer to make and fit than the plaque.)

I also recalled that I had picked up a couple of samples of bamboo flooring maybe 5 or 6 years ago at a home improvement show. It was before I had my Shopbot, but I liked this material for its hardness and finish that I got two 5" long samples. I would assume it would be easy enough to edge joint some of these floor boards and make up a larger blank. I checked, and the company I got the samples from is still in business. www.mymrbamboo.com (http://www.mymrbamboo.com)

Interestingly, of the two samples I have (14mm thick), each seems to be constructed differently. One is clearly like a three layer plywood, with the middle layer being of course laid at 90 degrees to the outer layers. The other sample (also 14mm) appears to be made up with all strands oriented in the same direction, without any evidence of a middle layer!


06-12-2013, 01:46 PM
In the recent past I picked up a number of Bamboo cutting boards at closeout prices... I was amazed at the detail I could V carve into them! I tried to find a local supplier of sheet goods to no avail... If anyone picks up some of the multi layered material like Chris made his bowls from, I and I'll bet others would pay for the privilege of buying some 12" squares, or other size that would ship easily!


06-13-2013, 03:59 PM
Howdy friends, shameless self promotion here.

OK, so the piece got entered in a facebook contest with cali-bamboo for their "project of the month". If you have a moment, and feel so inclined, take a look. (and by all means share with anyone who might be interested)

If I get enough likes on the photos of my piece, I get a hefty store credit with them which would be incredibly useful to me, as well as a couple of other nice perks.

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151662483497326.1073741833.92954277325&type=1 (https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151662483497326.1073741833.92954277325&type=1)



06-13-2013, 04:14 PM
and to answer questions;

I used Watco Danish oil on it (about as easy and inert as they come)

I haven't seen any signs of twisting or warping as of yet, but the again this piece is only a couple of months old. The stuff seems pretty stable to me.

I had used the material originally for a store display for a "green" focused company. It's totally sustainable, no VOC, by it's nature LEED compliant, and economically fair as a lot of it is grown in areas that have suffered deforestation in the past and offers a better environmental model than stripping old growth. The kind of bamboo they use grows to maturity in 5-7yrs where a traditional forest can take 30-50.

The core is simply more bamboo. in the case of the ply I used the inner section is just laminated strip laid up 90deg to the face. There are other configurations though. You can get ply from them that is just laminated edge on, but I have heard of more stability issues as you don't get the alternating grain to shore each other up.

and Steve, see the post above, if I can score that credit, I'll gladly ship some samples to folk at cost... hint... hint...

06-14-2013, 11:00 AM
... If I get enough likes on the photos of my piece ... Chris

Done, done, done, and done. :)

06-14-2013, 11:27 AM
I personally can't "like" without having a facebook account but I have asked friends and relatives to do so...

Facebook has been a source of grief for my wife as a school administrator over the years... It's amazing what "professional" teachers will say publically (and permanently) during their "off" hours! We choose to not participate...


06-15-2013, 02:13 AM
yeah I hear you. FB is not my favorite form of communication either but it is the choice of the supplier for their non-media outreach.

08-05-2014, 11:31 AM
Hey Chris,

Beautiful bowl! Any advice on tooling/feeds and speeds when working with bamboo? I'm experimenting for the first time (profile cuts only for now) and the less expensive material I have to waste the better. Thanks!

08-05-2014, 11:57 AM
I was not asked but like to answer anyway because bamboo is one of my favorite materials. Actually the entire frame, gantry and z-plate of my CNC are made from bamboo plywood (don't have a Shopbot). It is dimensionally very stable and rigid.

I just cut it with the same feeds and speeds like typical hardwood (e.g. maple or cherry). However, the "natural" straw yellow bamboo cuts nicer and is harder (about 1700 Janka and very strong) than the pretty caramel color heat treated or carbonized bamboo (about 1200 Janka and quite brittle). I cut with 1/8" end fishtail upcut endmill at 15krpm and 100-120 ipm or 1/4" 12krpm and 120-200ipm, both 1 diameter or more deep. Faster may be possible I did not try to push harder. Even with upcut bits there is little fuzz and what is there can be scraped off with a fingernail. It almost cuts like plastic, see the shavings of a turned piece below. I know some people recommend downcut bits but I found they pack the groove quite bad.

That is all for profile cuts. I did not do 3D ballnose cuts with bamboo yet.


08-05-2014, 12:18 PM
To give an example what you can do with bamboo, here a housing of my CNC pendant and the pulley that synchronizes the two x-axis screws.