Maple has always been the standard for skate boards. We have always touted the strength of bamboo when compared to other timbers such as Maple, Oak and Saligna. But one often has to get a bit technical to prove the point.
Then, one stumbles into guys that do really zany things to get an idea across. These guys make such a strong point for the tensile strength of bamboo.
How does a Maple skate board compare to a Bamboo skate board?
Have a look at this video the the guys at Spiral Threads put up.
We did a few tests of our own at a lab to see how strong our bamboo boards really are. The type of test we had performed is called a “Flexural strength” test (we won’t bore you with the fancy technical details).
In the case of the 3.2 mm thick bamboo panel, the machine only got to 75 kg before the testing machines maximum range of 75 mm flex range was reached. Needless to say, the bamboo panel did not break and simply returned to normal after the test.
We performed the same test on a 30 mm bamboo plywood board and it only deflected 4 mm at 1,050 kg of pressure (yes you read that right – 1 ton of pressure flexed the board 4 mm).
The 40 mm bamboo boards deflected 3 mm under the maximum machine pressure of 1 ton. There was no breakage and the boards returned to normal after testing.
You can now see why bamboo is fast replacing Maple as the material of choice for skate boards. Anyone who has watched the abuse those skaters deal out on their boards knows – you need a really tough material for a skate board. Bamboo has proven itself up to the task.
But it’s strength is not the only reason – skateboards are the number 1 reason for the deforestation of Maple forests in North America. A Maple tree takes between 40 to 60 years to mature, whereas bamboo only takes 5 years. Also, the maple trees need to be replaced after harvesting, bamboo simply sends up another shoot to replace the harvested bamboo culm.
This just goes to show how practical bamboo is as wood replacement product.