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Bamboo Fencing

The strength and style of the bamboo fence is often unmatched. For centuries, the people of the Far East have been creating bamboo fences and trellises for homes and gardens without the use of modern day tools like hammers and nails. The knot has become the link between bamboo shoots, which molds and holds bamboo in a wide variety of styles.

Ibo Knot
A variation of the standard looped square knot, the Ibo Knot will help to give your finished fence a polished look. Of course, any type tight knot will hold most bamboo joints in place. However, this style of knot is considered to be the standard in Japanese construction and gives a neat, finished appearance.

Yotsume Style Fences
Two of the most common bamboo fences known are the Yotsume style fence and the Yarai style fence. Both styles have been around since ancient times. The Yotsume is one of the oldest fence styles in the world. The design is simple: generously space bamboo shoots, one long, one short, one long, one short. It's open design blends with any landscape. For maximum stability, use cedar fence posts.

Yarai Style Fences
The second style, the Yarai style of fencing, looks like it is a bit more complicated to build, but is aesthetically pleasing and impressive. This low fence design is popular in the Kansei region of Japan where it is often used as a property border fence, and is sometimes mounted on an existing stone wall.

How To Build A Bamboo Fence
To build, simply space fence posts about four feet apart and connect two bamboo shoots (parallel to the ground and each other ) to the fence posts. Next, with two more bamboo shoots, form a large "X" shape between the posts. Use four smaller shoots to cross the axis of the "X", also connected to the fence posts – this will give it more strength. Ask your local hardware store for more information on bamboo style fences and directions.

When designing and building your fence, make sure to wear gloves (except when tying knots) to avoid getting splinters. Never nail directly into bamboo. Instead, use a drill to punch holes and tie through them. Use a bamboo saw or fine hacksaw for cutting. Bamboo will rot after 2 or 3 years of continuous contact with the soil. Therefore, use hardwood posts for ground-contact supports.

Apply natural preservatives like hemp oil or tung oil to bamboo. Petroleum-based preservatives may also be used.

If you would like to keep your fence as traditional as possible, then consider using 'shuro nawa', a type of dark twine, to hold the smaller bamboo pieces together.

Finally, when you are laying out your fence design, don't forget to account for bamboo's natural color variations, straightness, cracking and position of joints.

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