Tuesday, March 17, 2009

4- Way Bamboo Splitter (takewari)

I made a 4-way bamboo splitter (takewari) yesterday. I welded it up from scrap metal, it isn't beautiful, but serves the purpose. I have a larger 8-way splitter halfway done on the workbench. The ones commercially available are made of cast iron and are quite costly ($27 for 4-way, $69 for 8-way). The cast iron ones cannot be struck with a hammer, mine can :D . It took about an hour to make the 4-way, and will have the 8 way finished with around 2.5 hours in it. I need to finish painting it tomorrow. I made it to overcome the problems of getting the long ~40' strips of bamboo I will need later on for making hoops for the wooden tub (ofuro). I am basing the construction off of what I learned from book on "The Tub Boats of Sado Island" by Douglas Brooks. The tub boats are also known as taraibune or hangiri.

I learned recently that bamboo continues growing internally year after year. The outside diameter is initially "shoots" up, and the distance between nodes will lengthen for the first year and a half. I believe what I recently harvested is a Japanese Timber bamboo known as Madake (phyllostachys bambusoides). Shown in the photo is a section of what would be a cane that came up last year, compared to a much older one, both with about the same outside diameter (2.5" and 2.75").

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