In the past few days I’ve been working with bending the bamboo for the structure of the Pulse Dome and I’ve been exploring the method of steaming the bamboo to help it bend. Last night I made simple experiment where I put a little bit of water in a big pot and placed a small segment of quartered bamboo in the pot where it only touched the water in about a ¼” area of the end of the shaft of the bamboo. From there all I did was just boil the water to produce steam and left it on for about 20 minutes. After that I pulled it out with pot holders and bent the once stiff bamboo all the way to where one end could touch the other.
Now knowing that it works I started researching how other people bend bamboo and there are lots of different ways but all of them only differ in a few areas so it’s just going to be a fun experimenting time once again, I just hope that we don’t have as many failures like we did with the water dome from two weeks back.
I continued working on this during studio today and me Cameron and Jace started researching how to build a steamer box like the ones they would likely use to make for bending the wood on a rocking chair. We figured on using a piece of 6” PVC pipe that we could then drill holes in the bottom to let the condensation of the steam we will introduce to the pipe drip out. We have a pretty solid plan on how we are going to set up the steamer, the only thing I’m worried about is that our nice neighbors next door might think we are making a still.
Come to think about it that’s not a bad idea… make a little mash, catch the condensation, cut it with a little water… yep this could be an even better assignment than I originally thought… Not really that sounds like a horrible and dangerous idea. We would wind up making an Ethanol pipe bomb.
But in all seriousness this should be a very straight forward experiment that should go without a hitch, but if I learned anything from the water dome it’s that even though you’re pretty sure that everything will work out fine there is always something that poses a problem.