From www.architectureanddesign.com.au | December 8, 2015
Hardwood has been relied upon by designers and builders for centuries as a proven and flexible building material across architecture, furniture and interior design projects. However, the increasing international demand for tropical hardwood has led to the destruction of rainforests in countries such as Brazil and Indonesia, contributing to climate change.
Contractors, architects and builders today have access to timber products from environmentally and socially responsible sources such as those certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). But FSC hardwood is also costly and the user is responsible for ensuring the FSC timber products they source come from a reliable local provider.
Designers are being offered bamboo ply as a new alternative to hardwood timber, allowing them to contribute to minimising the destruction of native forests while moving towards managed commercial plantations that are selectively harvested annually without the destruction of the grove or stand.
Unlike traditional hardwood, bamboo can be harvested every year without destroying the plantation, with the bamboo stems sprouting new shoots during the next rains. Bamboo can grow to its full maturity in four to six years while it takes a tree decades or even hundreds of years.
Strong and enduring
Bamboo ply is stronger and harder wearing than most hardwoods. Bamboo’s tensile strength is 28,000 per square inch versus 23,000 for steel, and the material is 25 per cent harder than Red Oak and 12 per cent harder than North American Maple. It also has 50 per cent less expansion or contraction than Red Oak.
Bamboo plywood is made of fine layers of bamboo strips laid in parallel order and kiln dried, sanded smooth and then laminated edge to edge to create a single-ply panel. These panels are then laminated again to each other to create multi-ply bamboo plywood free of formaldehyde emissions. The multi layers are cross-laminated and heat pressed together to provide stability and prevent warping, making bamboo ply 3-4 times more dimensionally stable then Oak.
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