Beware of Bamboo Furniture

Dapwood Furniture made furniture (platform beds, tables and bookcases) from bamboo for a number of years but in early 2011 we made the conscious decision to discontinue the use of bamboo. We felt it was the right decision for many reasons:

  1. Bamboo is not commercially grown/produced in the U.S. and the only viable sources are located in the People’s Republic of China. We at Dapwood Furniture are focusing on producing the best products made in America from U.S.¬†materials. We want to do as much as we can to support small businesses at home.
  2. We have seen that the interest in bamboo has been decreasing over the last several years. We believe the novelty of bamboo has diminished as consumers have realized that bamboo is not as green as some would claim. Here is an example in 2009 of consumers getting bamboozled.
    We do not want to be accused of green-washing our products and feel it necessary to be 100% behind them- something we could not be with bamboo.
  3. We have concerns with monoculture practices when vast bamboo plantations are created. We believe bio-diversity is paramount for the survival of our environment- and us!
  4. It takes a lot of processing and heavy machining to turn a round cylinder into a rectangular slat that is usable for making bamboo panels. This generates an enormous amount of waste and we feel that bamboo suppliers need to step-up and do their part to become more eco friendly.
  5. In order to make a usable piece of ‘bamboo lumber’, lots of little rectangular pieces need to be glued together to make a panel. It takes a significant amount of glue and adhesive to bind the small pieces together. Because of long-term chemical exposure concerns for our customers, we ordered our bamboo panels to meet the stringent European urea formaldehyde emission standards (.13 parts per million (ppm)). Other importers of bamboo will specify the minimum regulatory requirement- US HUD standards (.30 ppm). We feel the US is far behind other governments in adequately protecting customers- even the Chinese share the tougher European standard! As a good first step, on July 7 2010, President Obama signed into law the Formaldehyde Standards for Composite Wood Products Act. Unfortunately, the act does not apply to bamboo panels but at least it will protect consumers of other wood products. Overall, we wanted to do the right thing with the glues but felt we were being wrongfully lumped in with all the other bamboos.
  6. Some manufacturers claim that bamboo is harder than oak. In actuality, bamboo itself is much softer than oak- it is all of the glues and coatings applied that make it hard. Ask someone who has actually worked with bamboo about the hardness and you will be told it is in 1000 pound-force range which is softer than oak. We see the marketing of bamboo hardness as a borderline deceptive marketing practice and don’t want to be associated with that. Learn more
  7. Shipping product from the People’s Republic of China to the U.S. is a common occurrence in today’s global economy but it doesn’t make it right. We have concerns with the carbon footprint that is generated by moving products half way around the world.
  8. Abysmal working conditions and repeat human rights violations in the People’s Republic of China is not something we want to be connected to in any way.
  9. The United States grows some of the best trees on the planet. Learn more