Bob, The Wood Doctor [03/26/2010]
I can't fault your craftsmanship and I'm not picking on you specifically. But I just don't get this current romance with bamboo. I've seen several kitchen projects posted here and, to me, they all look pretty much the same. They're all slab-door, Euro-style frameless cabinets with, maybe, a little imagination in the pulls, but for the most part just pretty uninteresting boxes, in my opinion. Has anyone out there ever tried raised panel doors, varied heights and deoths, a little crown molding? I'll confess to never having worked with bamboo (never got any client interest in it). Does it not lend itself to much machining for some reason?
Chris Edwards [03/27/2010]
I tend to agree with you. When I first saw plyboo, it was such a fresh new material and people love the end grain construction that doesn't need edging. For this reason, it's easy and quick to work with.... you build your box, sand it, spray it, and you're done. Since it's a very expensive material ($220 / sheet) you can still charge a good price and make money since your labor time is significantly reduced. Buy a sheet and play around with it. It's like a new toy - you'll figure it out quickly and get bored with it after a while, but it machines well and it will be fun while it lasts. I used the off-cuts to make this bookcase for myself and played around a little with the material.
I like the fact that you sing to your wood, no matter what style you are working on.
Great cabinets. It used to be that bamboo was VERY unstable (when it first came out). Thatís why you usually wonít see it in solid slabs, i.e., itís usually sold in a ply form. And so, itís important to know that. Donít make a slab door out of bamboo unless you are using the ply bamboo.
Yea itís as easy to work as solid wood. But obviously, the whole point of bamboo is that it is green. Meaning that, itís a grass that grows INCREDIBLY fast. So itís good as a renewable product. And yea, it looks good; good as wood. But I think most people are caring about how itís good for the environment and thatís why they want to look at using it in their projects. But for us, you have to remember not to use the solid bamboo. And, obviously, we say ďsoldĒ, but itís not solid. Itís laminated. So, I should say, when I say ply, I mean, ďlaid-upĒ (ďsolidĒ) bamboo laminated in opposite grain directions to make ply as in the pictures here. If you donít know what I mean, and youíve never worked with it before, just order some samples. Thereís the ĺĒ ďlaid-upĒ - ďsoldĒ bamboo (not stable in large slabs) and the ĺĒ ply bamboo.
I have to say, I have a few questions about the design. The counter is too thin, the wrong color, and doesnít overhang the island. The pulls are OK, but I think I would have made them square. And what is going on with the rabbets behind the door Ė for the hinge? I guess thatís the angled base cabinet at the sink. I think Iím going to question your hinge installation there. But it all looks good otherwise. Good work!
Chris Edwards [04/20/2010]
Ah yes... the rabbet behind the door on the corner cabinet.... My client was originally going to go with a touch latch here and changed his mind, opting to use the routed pull like the rest of the kitchen; with a dummy pull on the fascia. The rabbet was there so that you could press the door in to release the touch latch. It's not needed any more, but the door was already made, so it stayed there.
We had a terrible experience with plyboo's strand product. It developed cracks all over the surface, some as large as 1/4" wide, and this was in a project with floating panels where the plyboo was allowed to move on z-clips. Plyboo blames the difference in humidity between San Francisco and Albuquerque, but I blame the glue they glue their strands together with. We have not had this problem with the vertical or horizontal bamboo, or with any other manufacturer. We are still trying to get this sorted out without losing a great deal of money. I do NOT recommend the "strand" product -Eric