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  1. #1
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    The Bamboo Ladder....

    My FIL makes bamboo ladders from scratch for people who order them. He does about one a month and makes them very long and seems to be well known on his quality. Today I helped him go track down and cut some bamboo and bring it back. There is a whole lengthy process to these deals if you want ones that you can climb up with confidence. Personally I will not use them, even the one my FIL makes. I have climbed up a few and I prefer my Little Giant multi purpose aluminum ladder that I brought over from the States. I like versatility and alumimun just feels far safer. The Bamboo ladders are a fixed height.

    Here are few pics from the start



    After bringing back the bamboo my FIL starts a fire and does what he calls heat treating the Bamboo. My Lab watches with careful eyes in the background



    Starting the process of "Heat treating"



    This will be a very long ladder. A guy came and ordered it yesterday. It takes 3 or so days to make one.

    I will add more pictures of the process as I have time.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by JPPR2 View Post
    alumimun just feels far safer.
    Not when doing electrical work. In fact electricians in NZ are banned from using them, has to be wood or fibreglass.

    Good thread idea. Looking forward to seeing the progress.

    " It takes 3 or so days to make one." If it's not rude to ask, how much will FiL get for it?

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maanaam View Post
    Not when doing electrical work. In fact electricians in NZ are banned from using them, has to be wood or fibreglass.
    Same in the U.S. . I have a fiberglass unit here as well. I do very little if any electrical work on a ladder. Most of my work is leaning them up against Bamboo trees to trim them or setting them up to trim our other trees.

    Quote Originally Posted by Maanaam View Post
    It takes 3 or so days to make one." If it's not rude to ask, how much will FiL get for it?
    For this particular one he will make 1100 baht. Its pure profit being he has no material costs. Just his time and being he is retired he has plenty of it....

  4. #4
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    After the heat treating process which essentially removes moisture out of the bamboo he quickly aligns them and ties them together.



    At one end he squares up the Bamboo with wood. Now they will sit for a few days in the sun.

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    Installing the rungs of the ladder is an interesting and time consuming process. I watched my FIL make one for himself a year ago and he is very thorough. The guy that ordered the ladder just came by and when talking there are some ladders my FIL made for this guy that have been in use now for 3+ years. This particular one is for a guy that works for a general contractor who does house painting.

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    Last day of drying I believe. FIL moved them to the driveway and with the bricks aligned them better to dry straight.

    Next up is cutting out the slots for the rungs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JPPR2 View Post
    Next up is cutting out the slots for the rungs.
    Can't wait. I had assumed a hole saw was used, but of course traditionally it would have been V slots, I suppose.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maanaam View Post
    Can't wait. I had assumed a hole saw was used, but of course traditionally it would have been V slots, I suppose.
    IIRC he hand drills each slot and fits the Teakwood rungs.

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    Ahhh, wooden rungs. The bamboo ladders down south here all have bamboo rungs and are put together much like the bamboo furniture, ie large bamboo, hole sawed to fit small bamboo cross members.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maanaam View Post
    Ahhh, wooden rungs. The bamboo ladders down south here all have bamboo rungs and are put together much like the bamboo furniture, ie large bamboo, hole sawed to fit small bamboo cross members.
    Interesting. As I mentioned he makes very strong ladders. I was unaware he seems to be well known in our area for his quality. I had known he made them on and off but never paid much attention. He doesn't make them for the house anymore because I do all the property up keep.

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    We had to call the PEA (Provincial Electricity Authority) last week, they had to climb the power pole outside the house and bought their own bamboo ladder, surprised that such a large organization would be using such.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Airportwo View Post
    We had to call the PEA (Provincial Electricity Authority) last week, they had to climb the power pole outside the house and bought their own bamboo ladder, surprised that such a large organization would be using such.
    Wooden ladders are needed for electrical work so that you (plus ladder) are not a conduit to earth. Although the bamboo ladders look primitive, they are strong and lighter than solid wood ladders of the same reach.

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    Good thread. I am always amazed at the bamboo scaffolding used in Hong Kong. Even on modern buildings, and the guys who tie them up are high paid, and really are experts in this craft.




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    Fascinating thread.. cant wait for the rest of the story!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maanaam View Post
    Wooden ladders are needed for electrical work so that you (plus ladder) are not a conduit to earth. Although the bamboo ladders look primitive, they are strong and lighter than solid wood ladders of the same reach.
    You can have the "wooden" ladders then, I would much prefer a fiber glass ladder with correctly spaced rungs

  16. #16
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    The teak rungs all set and numbered with his tool bucket, saw and drill.



    All set up and ready to start the drilling process. He uses a half inch drill and drills the slots undersized a bit then custom fits each rung.



    He set up his assembly process under his favorite Lumyai tree for shade.

    He wasn't overly happy with the Bamboo he picked. Said he could have found better ones.

    I will post pics of the rung install process after he gets further along. I believe he custom fits and numbers all the rungs then does a final assembly.
    Last edited by JPPR2; 07-07-2018 at 10:23 AM.

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    Keep up the good posts JP!

    WRT the rungs, I'm impressed by your teak, flat rungs. As I said before, down south it's always bamboo rungs.

  18. #18
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    I want to go on edit, this one he is selling for 1500 baht. I asked my wife. That's his spending money.

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    That's pretty good money. When searching for a photo I came across a site selling them for $100 as decorative pieces, rustic charm etc. If that's overseas retail then FiL is doing well.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maanaam View Post
    Keep up the good posts JP!

    WRT the rungs, I'm impressed by your teak, flat rungs. As I said before, down south it's always bamboo rungs.
    Yeah I have seen those types of ladders around here as well. Many seem to be held together with bailing wire. Scary but I guess it works. I believe my FIL sets the Teak rungs in and screws them together. Not sure about any wire. We will see. I hear him filing out the holes as I type this.

  21. #21
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    I recall the old wooden extension ladders, and even wooden step ladders in the west had a wire running up each side, and I think under each rung. I forget the detail.
    Last edited by Maanaam; 07-07-2018 at 10:42 AM.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by aging one View Post
    Good thread. I am always amazed at the bamboo scaffolding used in Hong Kong. Even on modern buildings, and the guys who tie them up are high paid, and really are experts in this craft.
    Me too AO. When they were building our house the entire perimeter was surrounded in Bamboo scaffolding that the guys just walked on with no concerns. Having worked with Bamboo the stuff is incredibly strong.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maanaam View Post
    I recall the old wooden extension ladders, and even wooden step ladders in the west had a wire running up each side. I forget the detail.
    I remember those too. Not sure what it was for. Of course on a folding type wood ladder they used metal for the hinge and wider rungs for your feet. Being these Bamboo ladders are fixed in height they are what they are. That's the only downside I see to using one. If I have something to trim 8 ft up, I would always have to use the 18ft fixed height ladder and you always have to lean it on something.

    I have some huge Bamboo groves (Not sure that's the correct term) at our house that I keep neatly trimmed as they make for awesome shade by my BBQ pit area. I use my Little Giant aluminum ladder and set the height and lean it up against it and trim with my cordless hedger. My FIL used to climb up the bamboo ladder and cut it all by hand with his Thai knife dealio. Took him a couple of days where as I can trim them in about an hour or so.

  24. #24
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    Teak rung being custom fit.





    Moving right along. He will probably finish today.

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    And here was me assuming the rungs would be flat like a step for the foot. But it's obviously much stronger the way he's doing it.

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