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What’s the Best Way to Cut Bamboo – Which Tool to Use?

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  • a man cutting woodThis article reviews the best tools for cutting bamboo, both in a landscaping and DIY project sense. Some of the tools can be used in both situations, while others, like the use of napalm to eradicate the running bamboo your neighbor planted, are not.Many of the tools we researched are hand-powered, and others are powered by electricity or gasoline. Our reviews could theoretically include nearly every tool a gardener, landscaper, and DIYer uses to cut stuff. Because of that enormous range, and our understanding that you have other things to do, like cut bamboo, we were forced to limit the scope of the article.We are going to look at the cutting tools for DIY projects (a flooring project in this case) and outdoors (taming a wild herd of bamboo). The nice thing about bamboo is that the tools used for flooring can be used on any bamboo lumber or applications where a clean and smooth finished cut is needed.We regret to inform you that due to government regulations, napalm will not be reviewed as the necessary permits had not been received by press time.Techno history note: Before we dive into the reviews, here’s a little nugget that turned up during our research. Thomas Edison used carbonized bamboo as one of the filaments in his electric light bulb research. He found that filament would last 1,200 hours!

    Comparison of our Favorite Picks for 2020

    RankModelOur Favorite Product
    #1A Stationary Power Saw Blade
    Diablo D1080X 10" 80 TPI Ultra Finish Chop/Slide Miter and Table Saw BladeTop Choice for Powered Indoor Cutting Tools
    Diablo D1080X 10" 80 TPI Ultra Finish Chop/Slide Miter and Table Saw Blade

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    #2A Powered Portable Hand Saw
    Rockwell RK3441K 4-1/2” Compact Circular Saw
    Rockwell RK3441K 4-1/2” Compact Circular Saw

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    #3A Hand Saw
    SUIZAN Japanese 9-1/2" Ryoba (Double Edge) Pull Hand Saw
    SUIZAN Japanese 9-1/2" Ryoba (Double Edge) Pull Hand Saw

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    #4An Electric Chainsaw
    Sun Joe SWJ599E 14-inch 9-Amp Tree Limb MasterTop Choice for Powered Outdoor Cutting Tools
    Sun Joe SWJ599E 14-inch 9-Amp Tree Limb Master

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    #5A Chainsaw
    Husqvarna 455 Chainsaw X-Torq 55cc 18-Inch Bar Fast Start Low Vibration (965030292)
    Husqvarna 455 Chainsaw X-Torq 55cc 18-Inch Bar Fast Start Low Vibration (965030292)

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    #6A Battery Powered Chainsaw
    Makita XCU03PT1 18V X2 (36V) LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless 14Chain Saw Kit with, 4 Batteries
    Makita XCU03PT1 18V X2 (36V) LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless 14Chain Saw Kit with, 4 Batteries

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    #7A Folding Hand Saw
    7” Corona RS 7041 Razor Tooth Folding SawTop Choice for Manual Outdoor Cutting Tools
    7” Corona RS 7041 Razor Tooth Folding Saw

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    #8A Machete
    Ontario Knife Company 6144 Military Machete
    Ontario Knife Company 6144 Military Machete

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    #9A Bow Saw
    Gilmour 21-Inch Bow Saw 521
    Gilmour 24-Inch Bow Saw 524

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    9 Best Tools for Cutting Bamboo

    Given the growing popularity of bamboo as a flooring material, we are going to start with the right kind of blades to handle that project. A little background is in order. Some of you will know this so skip ahead a couple of sentences. Others with less knowledge of the material stick around. It will be brief.

    Powered Indoor Cutting Tools

    1. The Best Stationary Power Saw Blade to Cut Bamboo Flooring

    There are three common types of bamboo flooring, horizontal, vertical, and stranded. It is important that you know what type of flooring you have because it makes a difference in the number of teeth your saw blade should have for clean, beautiful cuts. Okay, let’s catch up with the other kids.

    Now that we are all back together, you want to buy a saw blade with 80 teeth per inch (TPI). Why? Because you should only cut stranded with an 80 TPI blade. Vertical and horizontal can be cut using a 40 TPI, but the finish of the 80 is worth a little extra.

    We recommend the Diablo D1080X 10″ 80 TPI Ultra Finish Chop/Slide Miter and Table Saw Blade. If you have seen us sing the praises of FREUD in our other articles, no worries. Diablo is a line of blades made by Freud in the same factory on the same machines. These are thin kerf blades, so they put less strain on the saw.

    Diablo D1080X 10″ 80 TPI Ultra Finish Chop/Slide Miter and Table Saw Blade:

    Pros
    • Long life
    • Silky smooth cuts
    • Carbide tips that can be easily sharpened
    • Designed for use by carpenters working to cut framing and flooring.
    Cons
    • More expensive than the cheap spread

    Note: We only list the 10” blade to establish the baseline specifications. Buy the Diablo that is the right size for your tool; table saw, miter saw, etc.


    2. Powered Portable Hand Saws – Our Second Choice

    We understand that it may not be convenient or possible to use your larger tools for your flooring project. Schlepping wood to and from the workshop will help you meet your steps goal for the day, but it wastes a lot of time. For this, you can use a full-size skill 7¼” saw or the smaller versions with 4.5 – 5” blades. Having the tool at the job’s location makes a lot of sense. Besides, if you are putting down flooring, you don’t need to worry about meeting a steps goal.

    We recommend the smaller size for cutting bamboo flooring with the Rockwell RK3441K 4-1/2” Compact Circular Saw taking the honors here.

    Rockwell RK3441K 4-1/2” Compact Circular Saw:

    Sale
    Rockwell RK3441K 4-1/2” Compact Circular Saw, 5...
    1,343 Customer Reviews
    Rockwell RK3441K 4-1/2” Compact Circular Saw, 5...
    • Compact but powerful 5-amp electric motor, matching performance of full-size saws at 3,500 rpm
    • At only 5 lbs., is 50% lighter than conventional 7-1/4” circular saws, cuts through 2x4s in a...
    • Left-handed blade design provides remarkable cut-line visibility
    Pros
    • Compact, easy to control
    • Laser line guide
    • Perfect depth of cut for flooring
    • Adjustable base for any bevel cuts.
    • Complete kit with bag and three different saw blades
    Cons
    • Dust collection implementation is not that effective
    • Saw blades are not of the highest quality

    Manual Indoor Cutting Tools

    3. Hand Saws – Our “traditionalist” Choice

    There are those home improvement programs where the hosts only use hand tools. We understand the appeal of pitting your skills against the inaccuracies of the tools and the widely divergent nature of the material. A quaint view isn’t it? That’s just a joke. Working with hand tools is very rewarding, and they can do the job on bamboo flooring quite nicely, thank you.

    For this method, TPI is important again. You also need to consider what cutting action the saw is designed to perform. We are referring to crosscut and rip saws. Rip saws have larger teeth and are designed to cut with the grain. Crosscut saws have much smaller teeth and are designed to cut across the grain. Each saw can do the other’s job but with poorer results.

    The best saw for cutting bamboo flooring by hand, in our opinion, is the SUIZAN Japanese 9-1/2″ Ryoba (Double Edge) Pull Hand Saw.

    SUIZAN Japanese 9-1/2″ Ryoba (Double Edge) Pull Hand Saw:

    Sale
    SUIZAN Japanese Pull Saw Hand Saw 9.5 Inch Ryoba...
    1,331 Customer Reviews
    SUIZAN Japanese Pull Saw Hand Saw 9.5 Inch Ryoba...
    • JAPANESE STYLE PULL SAW: This product is a “Pull Saw” .What most people are used to are European...
    • JAPANESE STEEL: All SUIZAN Japanese saws are consisted of top quality japanese steel. It uses high...
    • MADE IN JAPAN: All SUIZAN products are manufactured in Japan by Japanese master craftsmen.With a...
    Pros
    • It comes with two different TPI, one on each edge
    • Lightweight, thin kerf, and pull motion reduce effort and fatigue
    • Replacement blades are available
    Cons
    • The pull technique takes some getting used to

    Powered Outdoor Cutting Tools

    1. Electric Chainsaw – Our Top Choice

    Not everybody needs wants or likes to use a gas-powered chainsaw. You must mix fuel, take special care to winterize it properly, get it tuned up, and so forth. They are a tool needing more attention and maintenance. For those interested in a chainsaw without all the gas-powered negatives, there are electric options. They do come with disadvantages which include less power, smaller cutting capacity, and dragging a cord around as you work. In the plus column, it works. Give it juice, and it runs. No smelly exhaust and lower noise levels.

    Even so, most electric chainsaws will handle bamboo easily. For those who prefer electric to gas, we recommend the Sun Joe SWJ599E 14-inch 9-Amp Tree Limb Master. SunJoe only makes electric products, and they are good at it.

    Sun Joe SWJ599E 14-inch 9-Amp Tree Limb Master:

    Sale
    Sun Joe SWJ599E 14-inch 9-Amp Tree Limb Master...
    605 Customer Reviews
    Sun Joe SWJ599E 14-inch 9-Amp Tree Limb Master...
    • Versatile: ideal for trimming and pruning limbs and branches
    • Safety switch: protects against accidental starts
    • Auto-oiler: automatic oiler with window to gauge Oil level lubricates the Bar and chain for...
    Pros
    • 14” bar is the sweet spot for many home tasks
    • Great price
    • Plenty of power
    • Never runs out of fuel
    • Excellent quality
    Cons
    • The cord can get in the way

    2. Chainsaw – Second Place Finish

    There is nothing like a nice chain saw to make short work of pesky outdoor projects. Cut up fallen branches, do some limb pruning, clearing out brushy stuff, and of course, putting paid to the stand of bamboo that is bent on overtaking your entire yard.

    For most homeowners and DIYer requirements, a lighter chainsaw with an 18” bar is perfect. You are not going to cutting down a giant redwood, right? And, toppling trees larger than an 18” bar can handle is best left to professionals. We recommend the Husqvarna 455 Chainsaw X-Torq 55cc 18-Inch Bar Fast Start Low Vibration (965030292).

    Husqvarna 455 Chainsaw X-Torq 55cc 18-Inch Bar Fast Start Low Vibration (965030292):

    Sale
    Husqvarna 455 Chainsaw X-Torq 55cc 18-Inch Bar...
    26 Customer Reviews
    Husqvarna 455 Chainsaw X-Torq 55cc 18-Inch Bar...
    • X-Torq systems delivers lower fuel consumption and reduced exhaust with more efficient motor...
    • Quick-release air filter helps you keep air in the engine clean with easy replacement
    • Air injection helps remove larger debris particles before they reach the filter
    Pros
    • Great quality
    • Plenty of power
    • Lightweight with reduced vibrations
    Cons
    • Husqvarna saws cost more
    • Care required when installing the chain to avoid damage

    3. Battery Powered Chainsaw – Third Place Finisher in Powered Options

    There is something to be said for going cordless. Look at drills and cell phones to see what we’re talking about. However, battery technology is not always the best choice for some tasks. Snowblowers come to mind as do circular saws. Other jobs demand lots of power and drain batteries fast. For you readers wanting the benefits of electric and the freedom of cordless, rejoice, there are options in this category.

    The negatives to batteries have already been mentioned, cutting wood drains batteries quickly. That means two things, stop what you are doing while batteries recharge or get more batteries. We like the latter option so recommend the Makita XCU03PT1 18V X2 (36V) LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless 14″ Chain Saw Kit with, 4 Batteries.

    Makita XCU03PT1 18V X2 (36V) LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless 14″ Chain Saw Kit with, 4 Batteries:

    Sale
    Makita XCU03PT1 18V X2 (36V) LXT Lithium-Ion...
    493 Customer Reviews
    Makita XCU03PT1 18V X2 (36V) LXT Lithium-Ion...
    • Makita-built outer rotor BL Brushless motor direct-drive system provides high power efficiency...
    • Variable speed trigger and high chain speed (0-3, 940 FPM) For improved cutting performance
    • "Tool-less" chain adjustment for convenient operation and maintenance. Chain pitch : 3/8 inch
    Pros
    • Four, count ‘em, four batteries
    • Makita quality
    • Easy to manage 14” bar
    Cons
    • Very expensive versus corded
    • Have a finite run time

    Manual Outdoor Cutting Tools

    1. Folding Hand Saw – Our Top Choice

    Even if you have a powered cutting tool, you should always have a hand saw “handy” for quick jobs and clean up where you don’t want to drag out the big guns. Things to look for here are a reasonable blade length (7” minimum), double row of razor-sharp teeth, folding capability for easy (and safe) carry, and a straight blade. Blades can be straight or curved, and it is a personal preference. The advantage of a curved blade is it “hooks” the branch you are cutting, making it easier to get started. You’re cutting at ground level, so a straight blade is better, it does get in the way as much.

    We recommend the 7” Corona RS 7041 Razor Tooth Folding Saw:

    Corona RS 7041 Razor Tooth Folding Saw, 7-Inch...
    116 Customer Reviews
    Corona RS 7041 Razor Tooth Folding Saw, 7-Inch...
    • 7” blade Ideal for cutting up to 3” diameter branches
    • Ergonomically designed co-molded handle covers blade in folded position; with pistol grip to...
    • Easy to latch blade lock prevents injury
    Pros
    • Razor-sharp teeth cut quickly
    • Great quality
    • Perfect size for easy carry
    Cons
    • Not good for extended use

    2. Machete – Our Second Choice

    This is one of those tools you really should have in your landscaping arsenal. It is a bit like a Swiss army knife; it can do many things in a pinch. We gave the humble machete second place in the hand cutting section because it is handy. It can be used to clear undergrowth so you can use your chainsaw with greater ease, and safety. It is ideal for cutting down suckers and smaller sprout, nipping them in the bud, as it were. They are easy to carry (if you get a belt sheath) and make quick work of trimming suckers off trees. And, they are an essential item in the inevitable zombie apocalypse.

    We recommend the Ontario Knife Company 6144 Military Machete:

    Pros
    • The original US Military WWII design – simple but effective
    • Quality build
    • Great price
    Cons
    • Not available in zombie slashing green
    • Sheath sold separately

    If you want a sheath, we recommend the 18 INCH MOLLE COMPATIBLE MACHETE SHEATH-OD Model: 835. It costs nearly as much as the machete but is Molle-compatible, so preppers can lash it securely to their bug out bag in the aforementioned apocalypse.


    3. Bow Saw – It Will Work in a Pinch

    A bow saw brings some extra oomph to the game. They have longer blades so that they can cut larger diameter limbs. They are tension-able like a hack saw, so the blade doesn’t flex while cutting. The design of the teeth allows the saw to eject the shavings reducing binding. Their blades are worth sharpening.

    On the other hand, they are a larger tool and do not maneuver well when working in closely spaced stands of bamboo. If you have a bow saw, you will find times where it just is not the right tool. If you opt for a bow saw, we recommend the Gilmour 24-Inch Bow Saw 524.

  • We recommend the Gilmour 24-Inch Bow Saw 524:
    Gilmour 24 Inch Bow Saw 524 Teal
    2 Customer Reviews
    Gilmour 24 Inch Bow Saw 524 Teal
    • It is easy to use
    • It is highly durable
    • Manufactured in China
    Pros
    • Great quality
    • Workable length
    • Good tooth design
    Cons
    • Bigger, not pocketable
    • Can get hung up in thick stands of bamboo

    Conclusion

    We are going to wrap this one up with a summary of recommendations. Naturally, we expect you will use our information in all the reviews and make the choices that work best for you. Here goes:

    Happy cutting and thanks for reading our reviews!

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About the Author Adam Harris

Hi there! My name is Adam and I write for HealthyHandyman. I have a great passion for writing about everything related to tools, home improvement, and DIY. In my spare time, I'm either fishing, playing the guitar, or spending quality time with my beloved wife. You'll also often find me in my workshop working on some new project!