Wharram Builders and Friends

A Photo & Discussion Forum for Wharram Design Enthusiasts

One of the builders on this site has made a ladder out of bamboo,I have made one out of hardwood and frankly it is too heavy regardless how much I shave it down although it is undeniably strong.I feel that I am putting too much weight on the ass of the boat and need to look at some alternatives.I like the look of the bamboo once sealed properly with epoxy and varnish it can be a thing of beauty another option is aluminium although I prefer the bamboo option,although the actual construction of it is not quite clear yet.

AS always any thoughts would be welcome.

cheers paul.

Views: 1203

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

The bamboo will likely work as long as it has been properly dried prior to finishing.  I used a ladder I built out of 2" white PVC for several years: no sign of degradation by uv in that time. Mine was hollow, but others suggested that filling the rungs with expanding foam would stiffen it up. I did switch out to a stainless ladder that a friend at my marina kindly gave to me. I admit that the PVC ladder was actually more comfortable to use, due to its being twice the width of the steel ladder and having the larger diameter. I wrapped the PVC rungs with that stretchy rubber tape that sticks to itself, to gain traction  for the feet.

I'll be sailing over to Catalina Island for a few days on June 3, and I promise I will set up the GoPro video camera! ;~)

Jacques built a bamboo swim ladder on the back of Pilgrim.  He coated the bamboo with epoxy and then painted it to protect the epoxy from the UV.  It looked great and I believe it worked fine for him.  For added traction on slippery rungs, I found that wrapping them with twine and then painting the twine works well.  Over time, any fabric will degrade in the UV so painting or putting Cetol on it is a good plan.  Bamboo is amazingly strong and light weight.  Mother Nature is a good designer...

Jacques usually looked on line for supplies and I believe that is where he found large diameter bamboo.  I am not an expert in stresses and structures, but maybe our good gurus - James Wharram and Hanneke Boone would have an answer on that.  They do use bamboo in some of their designs these days.  Please let us all know what you find out.    It sure looks nice on a Wharram to see bamboo.  Seems proper, somehow.

Glenn Tieman's spars on Manurere were made of bamboo...As I recall, it was the Moso species. He found them in Southern California, already cured. I have pictures, but on another computer.

Sorry, a bit of a hangover this morn' . . . ;~)

BAMBOO!! the 'peoples plant' in china; used for scafolding, and concrete reinforcement, furniture, food, fuel paper. i used to feed alot of people with bluegil and catfish i caught with a bamboo pole when i was a kid! no i didn't teach them to fish, i was a kid; besides i wouldn't reveal my hotspots to any adult! if i did they'd just come out with their smelly outboard boats and their dynamite and kill the fish; but thats another story.

   if God uses toothpicks, he\she uses BAMBOO!!

 sorry i missed the May rendevous in Florida. woulda liked to meet Hanneke and James.  

   Ann\Nev i'm stil yur bigist fan. hope yur ok.  BIG HUG and RUM alround!  2daloo! David.

I went and harvested some bamboo at a property that I have done some work on.There is a magnificent stand of the stuff,it actually looks like a giant wheat sheaf,the poles being at least 6 to 8 inches in diameter and easily 20m tall.The place is rarely visited so is a bit of a jungle I can only guess at the age of the stuff.On the perimeter of the ''sheaf'' are poles that are approximately the diameter of a scaffolding tube.I will let the stuff dry out and then make a joint known as a fish mouth to glue and lash the ladder together.I am playing with the idea of using some more bamboo to support the aft trampolines too as the wall thickness of the bamboo when wet is easily 4mm when wet and sure seems strong for the weight.

cheers paul.



The bamboo that I got is still very green so i got a blow torch and heat treated the bamboo.This acts as a fast seasoning as well as getting rid of a lot of the wax on the canes.Important to drill a hole in each segment to allow the steam and pressure to escape,other wise there may be a big bang.There is a theory that the heat helps to caramalize the sugars making it stronger,it smells good though. 

Hi Paul, be careful with the blow torch :)  it actually takes a bit longer to remove the water from the bamboo than you are likely to spend with a blow torch.  Also, much of the stiffness of the bamboo is in the outer 2mm which is easy to over heat with a blow torch.  Essentially any browning is bad.  See: http://www.powerfibers.com/BAMBOO_IN_THE_LABORATORY.pdf


Thanks Robert for the heads up.

Reply to Discussion


© 2022   Created by Budget Boater.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service