Repairing cracks in bamboo.

I’ve got a favorite hiking stick that I found washed up on the beach (Seal Beach, CA), and I’ve used it for three years now. Last month it developed some monster cracks in it. Looking for suggestions on how to repair it, and reinforce it so that it lasts. Hate to have to ditch it because I’ve become so used to it.

Here’s what I’ve planned so far;

  1. soak in water
  2. gorilla glue to the cracks
  3. bind with nylon string.

IIRC, bamboo is hollow, yes? Provided this is a valid premise, you could mix and pour fiberglass resin or epoxy into the hollow shaft, and effect the repair you seek. Fiberglass resin kits can be had at any auto supply store-the epoxy system I’d recommend is from Abatron, who makes a number of restorative systems for wood-based construction.

As wood dehydrates it will often split the way you’ve described.
I do imagine that when/if you soak it in water the wood will swell and the cracks will diminish. This is a good way to tighten the handle in things like hammers, axes, hoes, shovels etc.
The only thing, is that in time they will eventually dry out and get loose again and split etc. To solve this you can soak the wood (bamboo in your case) in some sanding sealer, or Thompson’s wood sealer etc. It will absorb into the wood thus swelling the grain back to it’s “original” size and will then harden. It will not dry out again and should help glue/seal the cracks. It’ll have a more finished/slick exterior but not glassy like varnish. However, varnish would do the trick as well. Just thin it a bit.
good luck… t/k

Is the integrity of the stick comprimised?

Some woods can get various cracks in them, but can still be fine.

And bamboo is pretty tough stuff.

The house I moved into had 2 bamboo rods down in the basement. They’re totally cool. The thin one is probably as thick as my index finger at one end, about 5-6 feet long, and as thin as my pinky finger at the other end. I keep it in the living room and use it for things like poking the dog, poking my wife, itching my toes, turning off the TV. It’s the neatest stick. I can almost bend it in half without it snapping.

The other rod is really thick. I haven’t found a good use for it. . .yet.

Thanks for the input. This particular piece is about 4.5cm diameter and just short of 2 m long. The main crack extends from the tip to about halfway up the length.

The sanding sealer sounds like a good idea, I had thought to seal it with spar varnish after the repair, but the swelling action you describe might work better in conjunction with the glue.

The hollow segments are part of what makes it light, I’ll have to weigh the advantages of increased strength v weight trade-off. I did epoxy a short length of dowel into the holow portion of the bottom segement because it was already open.

Petered Out huh :smiley:

I know the feeling. So, anything yet? I thought you might try filling the cane with the sanding sealer rather than trying to soak, sponge, brush or however you decide to repair the crack. I still think that’s probably your best option and maintain the weight and “look” of your staff, hmm that didn’t sound right…er… stick. But you know it’s not gonna be exactly cheap? I mean unless there some sentimental reason? Bamboo is pretty common in most parts and the repair will never be the same as new. I’m sure you probably considered all this. I just thought I’d check in on you.

Anyway, I think you said it was capped on one end. Now I don’t know if it is hollowed through or not. If not then this probably wouldn’t work anyway. But if so then, after filling the cane w/ the sealer, let it sit overnight and simply pour the excess back into the can and maybe sponge the outside down with it. Try filling it with water to see how much it’ll take to fill the cane. A quart maybe? More/less. No need to buy a whole gallon unless you’ve got a use for it. Trying to fill the grain other than soaking it I doubt would work. Putting it in a “vat” will take more than you’d need etc.
Hey, I’m just throwing a few ideas at ya. good luck t/k