Bamboos are very useful plants and are often mistaken for wood when in actuality they are just grass. This is because it is a popular woodworking material. It is used in furniture in conjunction with plywood and in a test of its strength, it is much stronger than red oak. It can grow as tall as 96 ft. and wide as 12 in.
Cutting bamboo is quite different from cutting wood. This is because it splinters easily due to the amount of silica present in it.
Therefore, you should not use a chainsaw to cut bamboo, it splits easily and requires a level of technical skill.
Bamboos mature very quickly, taking between 3 – 5 years to fully develop depending on their species. Bamboo is generally cut because it is a quick and easy method for propagating it. In as much as it is used for propagation, it is used in craft industries and replaces timber or plastics in its application to household items.
Chainsaws are high-powered machines used to cut through woods of various types such as timber, mahogany, and oak wood. The three general cutting operations associated with chainsaws are limbing, felling, and bucking.
Felling Using Chainsaws
Felling is all about cutting an upright tree and it requires tactical knowledge to control how it tree falls so no harm comes to participants involved in the process. When felling with chainsaws, the surrounding areas have to be inspected because vines, a windy environment, and broken limbs are hazardous to the operator.
To fell a tree using a chainsaw, you must first create a safe retreating path in case you are unable to control the line of fall of the tree.
Locate and mark the point you are going to saw through so it falls where you would want it to. To cut, make an initial horizontal notch that is no more than a third of the tree’s diameter. Then you follow up with an angular notch. Then you can fell the tree from the other side by cutting it a little bit higher.
How to Fell Bamboo
Cutting bamboo is quite different from cutting wood and requires much technical skill. This is because it splinters easily due to the amount of silica present in it.
Some people manage to cut bamboo stalks of a thick diameter (between 5 – 12 in) with chainsaws but it has been with great difficulty. Therefore to cut bamboo, I would recommend using various household tools depending on the size of the culms.
Felling Small and Medium Diameter Culms: When felling small and medium diameter bamboo culms, heavy loppers are the perfect tool in my opinion. These tough super-sized pruners are a must-have tool for any gardening DIYer. They are perfect for bamboo culms ranging between 0.5 – 1.5 in. thickness.
They have long handles which let you cut comfortably and reach far lengths of the bamboo. They are of two types; anvil loppers and bypass loppers.
They simply differ in their cutting action as anvil loppers are not as precise as bypass loppers. As the name implies, bypass loppers cut cleanly through the base of the bamboo using its single-edged blade while anvil loppers use a great deal of force to slice to the center of the bamboo’s base.
Before cutting with either of these, make sure you are wearing the correct protective gear such as safety gloves, goggles, and boots.
- Using a black marker or masking tape, select the point at the base of the bamboo that you want to cut through.
- Open the loppers and set them precisely at the exact location you labeled.
- The bamboo should be positioned as deep within the loppers as possible.
- Cut through the bamboo. Make sure you do not snip through it.
Felling Larger Diameter Culms in High Volumes: For felling large-diameter culms you might need a chainsaw, handsaw, or an ax. Most especially for high volumes where you need speed and efficiency.
- Using masking tape, secure the base point you would like to cut through. The masking tape serves to prevent the splintering of the bamboo.
- Cut through the bamboo using the hand saw or ax.
Generally speaking, it is not recommended to use a chainsaw to cut through bamboo. Even though multiple videos on the net say otherwise. Bamboos are hollow, light, and contain silica which makes them splinter easily.
Limbing Using Chainsaws
Limbing involves removing unwanted branches from fallen or standing trees. Bucking, on the other hand, involves sawing the tree into desired lengths. When using chainsaws, accidents and injuries could occur mainly to the legs and feet.
This is why limbing should be done on sides of the trunk opposite the chainsaw operator so there’s a barrier between them. You should always limb from the ground up when using a chainsaw and never extend farther than you comfortably can.
How to Limb Bamboo
To limb bamboo is to trim it and you must do so horizontally from the ground up to prevent leaving undesirable stubs. It isn’t done frequently because bamboo only grows at the same time each year. So, therefore, using a hack saw, pruning saw, or ax, cut off all the shoots.
Bucking using Chainsaws
Bucking involves cutting a tree into desired pieces. An example is when you cut logs into pieces to be used as firewood and on a much larger scale, it is cutting a very large timber tree into smaller pieces.
It is not as dangerous as the other cutting processes because there is less risk of obtaining injuries not to mention that it is easier to do. However, your logs of wood could roll out under you while cutting or there could be a kickback while using your chainsaw.
How to Buck Bamboo
To cut bamboo into smaller pieces, many manual saws suitable for woodwork will do except for jigsaws because they would most likely splinter the saw some more. Sometimes, people use chainsaws for this process due to the level of precision they’d get.
To immobilize the bamboo so it does not roll out under you, ensure that you use a vise or a clamp. Some people use their hands or their legs even but it is advised against since clamps offer better balance, stability, and less risk of obtaining injuries.
Do’s and Don’ts when Cutting Bamboo
- Place the bamboo on a raised flat surface when cutting.
- Do not attempt cutting wet bamboo.
- Do wrap the bamboo cutting point with tape to prevent splintering.
- Do clamp the bamboo down ensuring that it remains secure before cutting it into pieces. If not, it might roll away and cause injuries.
- Do wear personal protective equipment always.
- Do not overextend your arms when cutting with chainsaws, hacksaws, loppers, or any other cutting tool. You could tire your arms easily and injure yourself.
- Do keep your cutting tools well sharpened so a little force can go a long way. This way you will be more efficient.
- Do clean your cutting tools before storing them away.
- Do keep a firm grip on your cutting tools always.
- In conclusion, bamboos are much too light and fibrous to be cut using chainsaws. Also, bamboos have to be cut at its base which is far too close to the ground. This makes it a terrible working condition for a chainsaw operator and regular gardening tools such as hacksaws, knives, machetes, or an ax will do.