How to Build an Indoor Bamboo Privacy Screen

Our office before the bamboo privacy screenOur office with the bamboo privacy screen
We wanted to create a smaller version of an outdoor bamboo fence that was suitable for use indoors. The goal was to produce something with a bit more finish that could cover up some unsightly wires in our front office lobby. We started with a roll of mahogany stained bamboo fencing. We chose the mahogany bamboo finish because it had a darker color that we felt complimented our interior better. Natural or black bamboo could have easily been used by choosing a different stain color for the wood framing. One interesting thing to note is the mahogany bamboo fencing is actually darker than the black bamboo fence rolls.

The first step was to determine the approximate finished dimensions of our bamboo divider. After some measurements we settled on a finished size of 39 by 90 inches. This would allow maximum screening for the back of the desk we were trying to conceal while still maintaining line of sight between people on either side of the divider.

Cutting the bamboo fencing down to sizeOnce we had our target dimensions we determined the sizes for all the materials we were going to use to complete this project. First was the rolled bamboo fencing. For our purposes the 1 inch by 4 by 8 foot bamboo roll was best. The one inch bamboo size refers to the average diameter of the bamboo canes. Bamboo is a naturally created product, so the canes vary slightly in diameter. The good thing about the way we built this bamboo screen is that we only had to account for the largest of the cane diameters. More on that in a bit.

With the rolled bamboo fencing selected we set about determining the best material to create a frame for our screen. For the two side posts we found some 2 x 2 inch pine. For the top and bottom we used two pieces of 1/2 x 2 1/2 inch pine. Finally we needed four pieces of 1 5/8 x 1/2 inch pine for our upper and lower retainers. We bought each piece of wood about 10% bigger than we planned on using it just in case we made some calculation errors. We also picked up some 4d 1 1/2 inch and 16d 3 1/2 inch fasteners to hold it all together.

Cutting the bamboo fencing down to sizeWith our bamboo and framing materials selected, we set about cutting everything to size. First up was the bamboo fencing. We carefully bent out the two wires that held the roll together on one side. Then we removed individual canes of bamboo until we got the proper length of 84 inches. We had to reorder some of the individual canes to get the best fit.

We then needed to cut the fencing down to 38 inches tall. We marked our cut line using a 2 x 4 and a sharpie and then cut the bamboo using a skill saw with a 2 x 4 underneath to make room for the blade. Looking at the bamboo fencing carefully, it was apparent which side to cut from. On one side, the bamboo canes were cut right at a joint creating a nice closed end. On the other end some of the canes were open and some were closed. This is the end that we cut from. Next time around we are going to try a different blade because the Skill saw definitely left chipped edges on the bamboo. This was not a huge problem because we were able to cover the chipping using our retaining pieces of framing wood.

With the bamboo fencing cut to size, we turned our attention to the framing materials. First we cut the end pieces. This was easy they needed to be exactly the same height as the bamboo, 38 inches. Next we cut the four pieces of retaining wood. These needed to be long enough to go across our bamboo roll and the side posts which came out to be 88 1/4 inches. Once the pieces were cut to the proper length we used a chop saw to cut the ends at a 45 degree angle. This created a more finished look for our screen.

The final bit of framing was the top and bottom pieces. Our design called for the top and bottom pieces to extend an inch on each side making these a total of 90 inches. We also notched the corners at a 45 degree angle.
Bamboo screen materials laid out before assembly.

Bamboo Screen Laid OutWith all the pieces cut, we laid everything out to see if it would fit. It looked good so we were ready to stain our framing pieces. We wanted a dark, antiqued color for the frame of the wood. We really didn’t like any of the stain colors on their own so we mixed equal parts of Minwax #209 Natural and #2716 Dark Walnut. This gave us a color that was dark with golden highlights. Using our custom mixture we stained our wood using a one inch brush and an old rag.

Once all the framing pieces were dry we were ready for final assembly! Our first task was to create a bottom trough with side posts to put our bamboo in. First we attached our two end posts to the bottom of the screen frame using our 16d 3 1/2 inch nails. Then we started two rows of 1 1/2 fasteners by hammering them about half way into our bottom piece of wood. Then we lined up our bottom retaining piece and carefully drove the nails the rest of the way in. Then we used some more of the small nails to attach the retaining pieces to the end posts.

Stained Frame BambooBuilding the bottom trough for our inside bamboo screen

With the frame bottom built we turned our attention to the top. Repeating the same process we created our top trough with the top of the frame and the two top retaining pieces. Now we were left with three pieces, the bottom of our frame, the roll of bamboo and the top of our frame. First we put the bamboo into the bottom of the frame then we simply slid the top piece of the frame from one end of the screen to the other. With everything lined up, we attached the top of the frame to the end posts with our large nails and the top retaining pieces to the end posts with our small nails.

Sliding the top trough through to complete the bamboo screenCounter sinking our nails to finish the bambo privacy screen

After carefully checking to make sure the screen was constructed exactly the way we wanted, we countersunk each of the nails and applied wood putty to cover the holes. After a little touch up stain to cover the wood putty our bamboo privacy screen was ready to move into location into our office lobby. We could have opted to fasten the screen to the wall but instead we chose to attach it to the front of a desk using black hemp twine and some wood screws in the desk.

Next time we might try to use some liquid nails to attach the top and bottom frame pieces to the bamboo roll. It might give it a little more rigidity but honestly we did not have a problem as there is not going to be much of a load applied on the screen.

Click here for our selection of bamboo products.

Bamboo and Tikis gets recognized for supporting the “Green” Movement

Now more than ever, with threats to the environment looming ever closer, and Earth Day being a recent holiday, concerns for the environment are being analyzed all around the world. Green living, bio-friendly construction, eco-friendly cleaning products are helpful, but what about all the other concerns, political and otherwise, that the average citizen has no real way of observing or finding credible information for? Relax, there is finally a source of information online where everyone find exactly what they’re looking for as far as the environment, energy crisis, and other related topics are concerned. Actually, the Cenvironment Blog has been around a while, –took us a while to find it, –but that’s okay, because that means it is packed with information for the serious environmentalist.

The Cenvironment Blog contains sections on each of its staff members; from its major staff, to its volunteer crew, and each of the main staff members have their own profile which outlines a list of their personal info, and their list of blogs. Continuing down the Cenvironment Blog’s left sidebar, we see a list of sites for center’s all over the country, and even the globe. Further down the left column is a list of each of the centers’ current projects, each containing important news and updates of their development; a valuable tool for anyone following serious environmental advancements. After that on the left there’s a list of current presidential projects for energy changes, and recent energy and environmental laws passed, “special items”, –like featured articles, and then onto the blog’s extensive archive of past posts.

One of these posts is especially pertinent to our cause; –basically, raising awareness in the ecological and economic importance of bamboo’s uses in home and garden products. The post, entitled “Bamboo Can Be Used To Make ‘Green’ Products“, gives a quick outline of the environmental importance of bamboo as a consistently renewable resource for the world’s timber needs. Then they’re kind enough to reference our site, as being a major provider of green products, with our vast collection of bamboo homewares and garden furniture. The main point of this entry is to outline in detail how well bamboo fits our planet’s needs.

Bamboo is described as an alternative; however, there’s nothing further from the truth. Bamboo shouldn’t be just an alternative to traditional, oak, maple, or teak woods. Other trees take years to grow. Bamboo grows at exponential rates in just months, and some varieties can grow up to three feet in a day! It is known around the planet to be the world’s fastest growing plant. Plus, it can be grown without the use of fertilizers, insecticides, or other chemicals. The article goes on to describe even further benefits, such as bamboo’s natural biological ability to consume carbon dioxide; every acre significantly increases oxygen and reduces CO2 emissions.

This in depth article goes on to describe our bamboo products, starting with our bamboo fencing, made in southeast China, from Tonkin cane which is just as strong as cedar fencing, –and even stronger than some steel alloys. They go on to describe our Moso bamboo rugs, both strong and attractive, for use on any surface. Another one of our best selling housewares is bamboo Tambor paneling; it can be used for ceilings, walls, even countertops and tables when resin is applied to the surface to create a flat, even top. Cloth backing is applied in order make it easier for designers to use the necessary adhesive. The article goes on to describe our thatch roofing panels, in different designs inspired by tropical locations such as Mexico, Fiji, and Africa. By then, the praise gets pretty out of control. But we’re proud to be exonerated by the Cenvironment Blog, and hope that we live up to their high standards, as well as the standards of our esteemed customers, every day we’re in business.

Planning the Best Backyard BBQ Bash or Event

Planning the Best Backyard BBQ Bash or Event

Backyard barbecuing is one the most distinctly cherished American activities around, and it is a fun and great way to spend a beautiful day with friends and family. Planning a backyard gathering can be a challenging task, especially if you are expecting a large number of guests. Big events, like Fourth of July celebrations and Super Bowl parties can prove to be epic challenges for their hosts.

If you are thinking of holding a backyard BBQ or gathering, keep in mind that good planning is the key to making the whole experience enjoyable and as hassle free as possible. Being prepared is the number one priority when hosting these large events.

Invitations

Invitations are a great way to extend a warm and personal welcome, and to also have individuals rsvp to get a head count for supplies. If you’ve created invitations, send them off as early as possible. A week in advanced is a good rule of thumb. This way you allow ample time for responses and for attendees to make plans. Make sure that you include clear directions to your place, and a map if possible. An effective and free way to send out invitations is through e-vites, which emails all your guests and allows them to respond instantly. Also, provide any special instructions, like what they should wear or bring, for example attire/items for themed parties. It also customary if required to notify guests whether or not they should b.y.o.b (bring your own beverage/beer etc).

Always Plan for Rain

No one wants to create fancy invitations and make elaborate plans for a backyard party only to have it ruined by unexpected rain. Invest in a few pop-up canopies. They can be pricey, but they’ll save you a lot of pain and can save your event in the long run. Check the weather forecasts a couple of days ahead of time, so that you have a clear idea of how weather-proof the party will be, and announce that the party will be held “rain or shine” on your invitations.

A good back-up party space in the event of rain is the garage. So prior to the party, clean out the garage and maybe setup some decorations and chairs in there. Even if it doesn’t rain, it will provide guests with a nice extra space in which to mingle.

Get the Headcount Right

Or as accurate as you can. Once you’ve sent out your invitations, follow up with phone calls or emails to find out approximately how many guests you should expect at the gathering. It’s never fun when you spend large sums of money expecting a large number of guests and then have only a quarter of these supposed guests show up.

Since most of the time, the headcount will be up in the air, it’s good to plan for both outcomes. For part of the menu, buy food and beverages that could be saved for later use if not consumed during the party. Serve fresh food and also have back-up frozen food. If more people show up than expected, you’ll be covered. This way if not as many people show up as expected, you won’t have wasted anything.

Getting Drunk at Your Own Party

Never do this, it’s bad practice, and leaves a bad impression on your guests. Getting completely wasted at your own backyard party is one of the best ways to ensure wasted food, unhappy and/or confused guests, damaged equipment and difficulty performing basic party hosting tasks.

Buying Food

Planning the Best Backyard BBQ Bash or Event

To estimate how much food to buy, think of the largest meal you can eat in one sitting, which is about 1.5 lbs, and multiply it by the approximate head count you came up with after following up on your invitations. That’ll tell you how many pounds of food to buy for one meal. Adjust for the number of meals you expect to serve. Also, adjust for the number of expected kids, who usually eat about half as much. One tip is if you are not anticipating a sit down mean, then to have a variety of snacks, appetizers, and inexpensive BBQ items such as wings, hot dogs or grilled veggies.

Beer

If grilled meat is the bread of a classic backyard BBQ, beer is definitely the butter. Make sure to have plenty of back-up packs of beer so that no one has to leave on a run to buy more. As a host, you could be liable for any drunk-related accidents that might occur during mid-night beer runs. Also, have some extra fridge space or coolers with plenty of ice so that people who bring warm/room-temperature beer can have a place to store it. It’s also customary to take into account non alcoholic drinkers by providing alternative beverages.

And at the end of the party, don’t let anyone drive home drunk. Set up couches, pillows and blankets for people to crash if they need to, arrange for someone (possibly you) to give drunk guests rides home, or set some money aside for complimentary cabs.

Label Things

Label coolers and other food containers with tags telling people what’s inside, i.e. “Beer”, “water,” “burger meat patties”, “soda” etc. Such a simple task can help save a lot of time and trouble. It’ll help keep things organized and your event much more enjoyable.

Make the House Kid-Proof

If you plan on having guests with children over, it’s a good idea to plan and prepare your place.

Remove any breakable objects from the coffee tables, fence off areas that you don’t want kids to go on, and otherwise set up the house so that it is as kid-friendly/kid-proof as possible. If you care about your rugs and carpets, cover them up or store them in the closet for the time being. Kids, and even adults, running from the yard into the house can track in a lot of dirt and debris that could be a hassle cleaning up after. Don’t hesitate to ask guests to remove their shoes before entering, and providing slippers can help reduce the clean up afterwards.

Bathrooms

If you are expecting a really large number of people at your backyard gathering, it might be a good idea to rent a couple of port-o-johns. These will be used mostly by the men, and thus leave the indoor bathrooms available for the women. Even if you are only entertaining a few guests, prepare your bathroom with extra hand towels, soap and toilet paper.

Things to do Ahead of Time

1. Clean the house. Make it as presentable as you want it to be, and if possible, empty out the garage to provide extra party space.
2. Buy extra rolls of toilet paper, set up fresh towels and soap.
3. Restock paper towels, napkins and tissues.
4. Empty trash containers and replace garbage liners. Set up a few extra trash cans out in the yard.
5. Mow the lawn and clean up the walk ways, patio furniture, and decks.
6. Make sure the stereo system works and is ready to go.
7. Set up chairs, tables and patio furniture before hand, and have some extra furniture readily available.
8. Replace broken light bulbs with new working ones.
9. Have ashtrays set up on every table.
10. Make sure the grill works. Test it out and make any repairs at least a day in advanced. Test it before guests arrive also, to make sure everything is running smooth.

Remember to Relax

Finally, keep in mind that everything isn’t always going to go perfect or to plan, and that that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Don’t let the small things rain on your parade, like a sauce stain on a table cloth or a burnt hot dog. Keep your cool and enjoy yourself. If you made all of the above suggested preparations, this last bit of advice shouldn’t be very hard to follow.