What finish for the Bamboo (grass)?

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Forum topic by woodworkerscott posted 06-14-2011 05:31 AM 7245 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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361 posts in 2989 days

06-14-2011 05:31 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question bamboo finishing modern

I am near completion on a piece of furniture I made with Bamboo. I have researched options for a finish and am not satisfied with the information I have found. Most of the info out there concerns bamboo kitchen items.
What little information I have read about a finish for bamboo furniture has not been complete or helpful.

Anyone with success out there? I am considering sanding to a sheen and applying wax. I have considered oils but am debating which would be best; I am a Danish Oil fan but it would not tone-out the way I would like. I want to keep the bamboo as close to its natural color as possible.
I have even considered a Maloof finish.

I am going to run some test pieces, but thought I would get a head start with suggestions first.

Thanks for any suggestions.

-- " 'woodworker''s a good word, an honest word." - Sam Maloof

4 replies so far

View Steven H's profile

Steven H

1117 posts in 3236 days

#1 posted 06-14-2011 05:24 PM

Maloof finish and danish oil contain the same ingirdents.
Its a marketing hype to the woodworking industry.

It has boiled linseed oil, oil based varnish, and thinner can be mineral spirit.
You can make it your self cheaper.

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 3823 days

#2 posted 06-14-2011 06:42 PM

I don’t think bamboo takes finishes well.

It is, after all, not wood in the sense that wood comes from trees.

I’ve seen it painted, but adhesion is not that great. Rattan
behaves pretty similar. It doesn’t really need finishing in my

View BobTheFish's profile


361 posts in 2728 days

#3 posted 06-14-2011 07:26 PM

I’ve seen finished bamboo though.

Though I don’t exactly recommend it for most woods, I’m sure epoxy will work. Epoxy is the equivalent of dipping something in shatterproof glass though. It kills the feel of the wood because it imprisons it, making it like something stored in a museum where you can look but not touch. Bamboo is a bit different, because, unless to “wood” is left natural, it seems to always be mixed with some sort of epoxy as a stabilizer. Still, I prefer more natural looking finishes.

Oil based finishes are probably your best bet, as consensus seems to be on the net that oil based finishes are the way to go, but water based are ok too.

Here’s what I’d say though. You’re almost finished with the project, right?

So you MUST have SOME scrap bamboo lying about. Test a few finishes on pieces of scrap, and figure out which one holds best to what you think you want.

And PLEASE post results. I haven’t found any myself yet, but I am curious about working with bamboo (in crushed or cut, recomposite plank form) for perhaps a table or something myself….

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2866 days

#4 posted 06-15-2011 04:40 AM

I have used blo,Spar, and spar/mineral spirit mix on projects made from recycled bamboo flooring and have not had problems with adhesion or appearance. The oil based products will darken it some whereas the water based shouldnt {but I havent tried water based on bamboo}.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

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