Harvesting the Bamboo
Unlike other hardwoods that take decades to be harvestable, bamboo is harvestable in as little as three years (ideally 4 to 6). Harvesting the bamboo does not harm the grass, it will continue to produce more bamboo for future harvests. Harvesting usually occurs in the winter or fall when moisture is low. The grass can be damaged if harvested during a moist season.
After the Harvest
After the bamboo has been harvested the difficult task of transforming a grass into a floor begins. First the green outer hull is removed. The stalk is then cut into long strips called fillets. The strips will still have the natural curve of the plant and are not good for flooring. The milling process that the strips go through creates a flatter surface more suitable for flooring.
Once flat, they are dried and then boiled to remove any extra moisture as well as the natural starches and sugars of the grass. Boiling helps make the wood less desirable to insects such as termites that often infest other wooden products. This termite resistance makes bamboo very desirable in areas with higher populations of termites. Boiling also helps it retain it’s shape and keeps it from expanding and contracting in humid climates.
After the boiling and drying processes are completed it is then darkened through carbonization, if a color more similar to hardwood is required. Carbonization relies on steam and pressure to make it darker. The color range for bamboo is a deep coffee brown to a light amber.