Bamboo is a widely popular building material for several reasons: it is durable, low-cost and renewable. However, despite these many positive points, bamboo does have some drawbacks; bamboo is often pegged as more difficult to work with than traditional hardwoods. However, the good news is that bamboo usage doesn't have to be all that tricky. Granted, working with bamboo does require different techniques, but is entirely doable for even novice woodworkers. All you need is the right tools and some solid knowledge about bamboo.
Use pre-dried bamboo. If you've got a fresh bamboo garden, it can be tempting to chop down a stalk for building or crafts projects. However, when working with bamboo you should never use freshly cut bamboo since it can warp or split as it dries, ruining your entire project.
Use sharp, fine-toothed saw blades to cut bamboo. Bamboo Habitat, a supplier of bamboo and tropical materials, explains that using finer blades will "prevent any splitting or fraying at the ends."
Use finishing nails and a tack hammer whenever possible. As with fine-toothed saw blades, a smaller, more delicate hammer and nail is less likely to cause splitting.
Tie bamboo pieces together to further support weaker finishing nail affixation. For centuries, the Japanese Ibo knot has been used to bind bamboo poles together. For a step-by-step diagram of Ibo knotting, visit Gardner's Supply Company's article on bamboo fencing (see Resources).
Glue with standard wood glue. This is a good way to ensure the pieces are well-fastened beneath the Ibo knot, just in case the knot ever loosens.
Paint or finish with polyurethane to seal the bamboo and give a contemporary look.
Save scraps when you're finished working with bamboo. Thatched or woven bamboo is extremely popular, made from leftover shavings or small broken strands of bamboo. Even if you do not want to spend time weaving the strands together, chances are local craft enthusiasts will; consider placing a "free bamboo scraps" flier at a local community center or other public place.