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Thread: Sharpie Build - using woven strand bamboo (yes, the flooring)

  1. #1
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    Apr 2021
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    Mount Pleasant, SC, US
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    Default Sharpie Build - using woven strand bamboo (yes, the flooring)

    Looking at building a sharpie and interested in using bamboo flooring as lumber for construction.

    While would require scarfing due to only coming in 6 lengths, it is bonded with urethane glue and very dense. At 77lbs. Per a cubic foot, I believe that it would offer an interesting asthetic and provide significant structural robustness.

    looking for thoughts/considerations.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
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    Pleasant Valley NS Canada
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    Default Re: Sharpie Build - using woven strand bamboo (yes, the flooring)

    Take a piece, drill a hole in one end and paint it with whatever coatings you plan to cover your boat with. Take it to the seashore, tie one end of a rope through the hole and the other end to a significant weight or a convenient wharf piling and throw it in the water. Come back in six months and see how well it has fared.

    Nothing quite like real-world materials testing...
    Hope for the best, but plan for the worst.

  3. #3
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    Bellingham, Wa, USA
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    Default Re: Sharpie Build - using woven strand bamboo (yes, the flooring)

    So..... why?

    If its "because I can", or "Because no one else has yet", then experiment away and please report the results!

    But, ff you are trying to build a good useful boat cheaply, then bamboo flooring probably isn't a very good way to accomplish that.
    There's the plan, then there's what actually happens.

    Ben Sebens, RN

    15' Welsford Navigator Inconceivable
    16' W. Simmons Mattinicus double ender ​Matty

  4. #4
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    Mount Pleasant, SC, US
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    Default Re: Sharpie Build - using woven strand bamboo (yes, the flooring)

    Great suggestion. Already performed some soaking tests of bare material, and ran a sample through the dishwasher just for added measure. So far appears very stable (relatively) before any coating applied.

  5. #5
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    Mount Pleasant, SC, US
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    Default Re: Sharpie Build - using woven strand bamboo (yes, the flooring)

    The “why” is a mix of because I can, and because structurally I think this would offer some distinct advantages. It mixes the aesthetics of wood with some benefits of composites, and is readily available.

    I don’t think this will offer labor or economic savings. However, I think that the end product would be exceptionally robust. This is great to compensate for my lack of skills while learning to navigate the coastal waters of SC.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Sharpie Build - using woven strand bamboo (yes, the flooring)

    A couple of further comments:

    1.) Composite FRP (Fibre Reinforced Plastic) construction, at its most basic, the process of impregnating some fibrous material in some liquid resin that turns solid after application. The resin provides compressive strength and the fibrous material provides tensile strength. There is no reason that bamboo cannot be the fibrous material, nor why urethane glue cannot be the resin. The crux of the question is whether the materials are suitable for use in a marine environment - is it strong enough? Is it durable enough? Is it resistant to seawater?

    2.) Soak tests need to be in the right medium and of significant duration. Salt water, besides being the medium that the boat will live in, is wonderously nasty to most materials, so that would be the medium of choice for soak tests of boatbuilding material. But a soak test is useless if it isn't of long duration - a week won't cut it. And a dishwasher cycle is nice for thermal performance evaluation, but is pretty short-lived. Detergents are a nice touch, but not very indicative of natural conditions.

    3.) Bamboo is an interesting candidate for composite construction, as it is an easily replenishable natural material that has a high strength-to-weight ratio when dry, but IIRC it loses a lot of its structural integrity when wet. I seem to recall reading a scholarly article about its use as a boatbuilding material, and that it didn't fare well under testing. But that is just my admittedly faulty memory speaking, so is worth what you just paid for it.
    Hope for the best, but plan for the worst.

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