Is bamboo the world’s most versatile material?

Tonkin Bamboo Shading and Ceiling

Is bamboo the world’s most versatile material?

Bamboo is such a versatile material, it’s almost easier to think of all the things you can’t make with it, than it is to list all of the things you can make with it.

In its most simple form, cut down as a pole, bamboo can be used to construct housing, walls, piers, fences, innumerable forms of shelter. This is the way it’s been used for thousands of years.

It can also be used to help construct buildings made of other materials.

You often see bamboo being used for scaffolding instead of steel in many large Asian cities, helping to build buildings rising dozens of stories high.

Inside your home, you can also make all your furniture out of bamboo, as well as all your cups, plates, bowls, cutting boards, even cooking utensils.

Just like wood, bamboo can be turned into pulp, which can then be made into either paper or clothing. The explosion of natural bamboo clothing products available in past years is testament to this amazing natural material.

The next evolution of bamboo is what is called engineered bamboo where strips of bamboo are bonded together to make timber-like slats that can be used to build lightweight privacy screens, fences, wall and ceiling facias, fence screens, shade solutions and much, much more.

Unlike timber, young bamboo shoots can be eaten as a delicacy. But if you think that’s amazing, other foods you can get from bamboo include sugar, (just like sugar cane), beer and soon, maybe, tea.

All of this means that you could build your house out of bamboo, furnish it with bamboo furniture, eat and drink bamboo using bamboo utensils, sleep on bamboo sheets then get up the next day and dress yourself in clothes made from bamboo. For relaxation you could play music on a bamboo flute, ride a bamboo bike (yes there is such a thing) or even watch your water feature made from bamboo. You can ride down the river on your bamboo raft or boat or you could practice the martial art of kendo where you fight with swords made from bamboo.

But if all this has not totally amazed you about the incredible properties of bamboo, here are some of the most bizarre things that can be made from bamboo.

Record needles – yes, people have been making record needles out of sharpened bamboo dipped in paraffin wax for years.

Beer – believe it or not, people are now making beer from bamboo leaves while others are thinking of making tea from it!

Charcoal & Deodorisers – yes amazingly if you burn bamboo and make charcoal from it, that can also be used as a deodoriser because the charcoal has millions of tiny holes in it that absorb and trap odours!

Can you name another natural, sustainable material that is kind to the earth, environmentally friendly and as versatile as bamboo?