Use of bamboo spear, an Indonesian film from the ‘40’s

Things have been getting boring on this website, so here is a Indonesian propaganda film from 1943 teaching you how to make and use your very own bamboo spear!

ClareBroommaker's picture

I was just reading about organic spear tips earlier today. On the page about the "Clacton Spear", a 15 inch long ewe wood spear tip found in Essex in the UK and thought to be 400,000 years old, it says that fire was used first, then scrapers were used to remove excess wood and form the point. They say that method took only 45 minutes (experimentally), compared to 1.5 to 2 hours without the fire.

However in the video you linked, they cut the bamboo point first then fire and scour it. It appears to be a bag of sand or pebbles that is used to scour the bamboo point. Do you understand the reason they fired the tip after they cut it?

Maybe firing the bamboo ends has some application to pieces I use in my garden for support. If I had acres of land, I'd love to grow bamboo. Such a versatile plant!

I honestly don’t know since I don’t understand Indonesian, but since fire hardens wood it would make sense to cut the wood while it was still soft.
On the other hand, I’m not sure if bamboo is exactly like wood.

lathechuck's picture

... so, if you can find any growing near where you live, the landowners would probably be happy to have you cut and take as much as you want. There's a tract of it in our local park. Every few years, the county brings in heavy equipment to mow it down, but it shoots back up quickly. If you had "acres of land" to grow bamboo, eventually it would ALL be covered in bamboo. I cut bamboo poles (about 25' useful length) from the park to support my ham radio antenna wires. Would they last longer than a couple of years if I cooked them over a fire? I've read that a fresh-cut stalk should be placed in a bucket of water for a week or so, so the leaves will flush the sugars out of the vascular system, and thus reduce the food supply for fungi that eventually consume the bamboo. Maybe fire has a similar effect.

mountainmoma's picture

It can be hard to control, but not always. For example, it doesnt spread easily to compacted and very dry soil, so I have had bamboo, true timber bamboo that is a running bamboo for 10 or 15 years. The gophers love to eat it too, then it tips over. I have an unpaved, U shaped driveway off of the paved street. I planted the bamboo in that circle and it has never spread past there. Now, in city lots by here it absolutely gets uncontrollable. But again, it does not cross the street to those lots across the street. It will send out runners underground and cross paved sidewalks and walkways.

ClareBroommaker's picture

Having acres of bamboo would be the point. If I had acres upon which to grow it, bamboo would not just be a resource for my own little garden, it would be a commercial endeavor.

You are right that I can (and do) get the bamboo I need for my own gardens right here from people who grow it in the backyards as a privacy plant.

To preserve our tall bamboo that suspends bird scare tape over our fruit trees close to harvest time, we first sink steel pipes into the ground, then let those hold up the bamboo without having to bury any part of the bamboo so that there is less likelihood of softening and rotting. But if we had not found the steel pipes, it would be good to do something else (like char the ends?) to help preserve the bamboo. We do use smaller pieces directly in the soil to support smaller plants, such as peppers and gladiolus.

But back to the film, another thing that stood out was how they included the node, the joint, of the bamboo in the angled blade. perhaps that gives the blade strength.