Staining bamboo furniture

rosesr4meOctober 4, 2006

I have acquired some cool pieces of 1950's bamboo furniture in the usual blond/yellowish color with a shiny finish (shellac??).

Since most of my furniture is dark, I would like to stain these pieces in a dark (ie mahogany) shade. Has anyone ever done this? Any tips or product suggestion(s)? Thank you!

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Why? Bamboo isn't's won't be able to stain the bamboo, it's very resistant to stain, but you can paint it....and it will chip. The shiny finish is not a finish, it's the outside of the bamboo....ever see a bamboo pole like they used to roll a rug on? Yep...light and shiny!
But, again, why? either you like bamboo or you like mahagony...but bamboo doesn't come in mahagony...
That's rather like staining maple dark or trying to bleach walnut.
Enjoy it for what it is...all furniture doesn't have to match.
Do you suppose that the original owners of that light colored bamboo had all the same color wood in their house? I really don't think so.Sounds like you found some cool stuff...enjoy it!
Linda C

    Bookmark   October 9, 2006 at 7:58PM
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linac - thank you for your response! I was thinking of staining the bamboo to make my living room more cohesive: I love the shape of the bamboo chairs, but I also have Stickley and Eastlake furniture in dark finishes (yes, a little ecentric!). I guess I am trying to get the dark "West Indies" rattan look using the stained bamboo. Maybe I should just resign them to the sunroom where there are lighter furnishings. All opinions or tips are greatly appreciated!

    Bookmark   October 10, 2006 at 10:33AM
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thanks for your post, I'm on the similar situation, I love Stickley and Green&Green and I love bamboo for that airy feeling. So in order to enjoy them, I have them in separate areas, but I find another piece of bamboo design matches perfectly but color! Ouch! So you made me to make a couple of calls, I'll let you know, one sounds promissing ;-)

    Bookmark   October 11, 2006 at 12:53PM
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Gardenshuist - I wasn't familiar with Green & Green - checked out their website - very, very nice! Check the link below...they have a bamboo rocker in a dark finish next to one of their beds. Looks much better than natural bamboo!

Here is a link that might be useful: rocker

    Bookmark   October 11, 2006 at 4:52PM
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I have a fair amount of experience with bamboo, both growing it and building with it, and I'm of the opinion that you would have a hard time achieving a desireable result. Bamboo has a high-silica surface which resists absorbing stain. In addition, you may already have a shellac, varnish, or urethane coating on the furniture which would make things even more difficult. In order to have the furniture take a stain, you probably would have to sand it very well, and that would be hard to do uniformly given the many crevices likely in bamboo furniture. I suggest you try to live with it as is...

    Bookmark   October 12, 2006 at 2:43AM
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Im pretty sure thats a bentwood rocker on the website and not bamboo-- sorry... Doesn't have the "joints" that bamboo does... and it looks just like a... bentwood rocker... w/ rattan or some type of caning for the seat.

I have some 1950s bamboo or rattan furniture that previous owner painted...actually it may have originally been painted? And it really is turning out to be extremely difficult to get the paint off - been trying paint remover, scraper, heat gun. And then I find the blue of the paint has stained the bamboo. I may just paint the sucker. Wish we could just trade pieces!

    Bookmark   October 12, 2006 at 5:20PM
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That rocker is indeed bent wood...wood that has been steamed and bent into shape.
If you like the bamboo chairs, don't try to stain them and ruin them....enjoy them for what they are....and place them where they look good.
Linda C

    Bookmark   October 13, 2006 at 12:32AM
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Thanks to everyone for their input. I think I will leave them as is....sounds like they may end up looking pretty ugly if I mess around with them. Off to the sunroom they go....

    Bookmark   October 16, 2006 at 5:48PM
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Got a similar project in the works.
Since bamboo is kinda sealed itself I plan to use Amber or 'Orange' Shellac made by Bull's Eye/ Zinsser. Get it at the depot. I've done lot's of work with this product and it's color is amazing after 5 or 6 coats.(the more the darker)
It's very hard to work with on big surfaces as it sets up like laQuer and can get gummy.
It won't look like mahogony but more like sunbaked varnish on teak. I've sprayed it as well on white painted walls and in the end after many coats I had 'Tortoise Shell' walls that were stunning. (done this for clients as well)
Did my kitchen (doug fir) with it as well then varnished over for strength!
Fun stuff. Do some experiments with throw away brushes.
I also hear you can tint it! google that.
Good luck.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2008 at 11:59AM
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