Thursday, July 21, 2011

It’s hard. It’s like wood. It’s FITS Dumalag's engineered bamboo.

By Jethro B. Dagunan

Regional Applied Communications Group (RACG) Representative

Carlos Hilado Carlos Hilado Memorial State College

With reports from Bernie Protacio and Niño Manaog

Photos by Jethro B. Dagunan & WESVARRDEC RMIS

A substitute for expensive, hard-to-find hardwood furniture material can be found in the town of Dumalag in the province of Capiz.

This is the engineered bamboo made by Mr. Randy Fancubila, Magsasaka Siyentista (MS) of the Farmers Information and Technology Services (FITS) Center based in Poblacion, Dumalag, Capiz.

The said MS commodity caught the attention of the representatives of the Regional Applied Communication Group (RACG) of the Western Visayas Agriculture and Resources Research and Development Consortium (WESVARRDEC) during their second quarter meeting held at Dumalag FITS Center on July 7, 2011.

Fancubila’s engineered bamboo can be considered the result of Filipino ingenuity and innovativeness. Fancubila makes engineered bamboo planks. Procedures involve making bamboo slats of the same size and length, smoothening each slat and applying glue on one surface of each slat and sticking one on top of another. Then it is compressed using a compressing machine, and then a sturdy bamboo board is finished.

Fancubila’s engineered bamboo undergoes several procedures. First, the bamboos are soaked in boiling water treated with insecticide or chemicals like Cymbush, WoodTech and DOT. The first two insecticides make the material bukbok-proof while the last one cleans the material’s texture. Then, bamboo slats are sun-dried. Then, using a thickness planer, MS Fancubila turns out flat moldings through surfacing. The flat moldings or layers are then glued using a woodworking adhesive. After a sanding sealer polishes the materials they are dried and polished with abrasive paper. After the slats are colored or varnished, they are dried for three to six hours. Then the bamboo boards are finished and ready.

MS Fancubila’s finished material looks like plywood which can be used in making beautiful furniture like table. Fancubila’s engineered bamboo table looks like a unique wood or plywood. Its thickness depends on the number of bamboo wood layers piled and compressed. According to MS Fancubila, this finished material is termite-resistant because it is treated with insect repellants and chemicals.

Because the use of hardwood for furniture and housing nowadays is expensive, going back to using bamboo as hardwood substitute is very practical and economical. In fact, well-prepared bamboo planks can compete well with hardwood in the local and foreign markets.

MS Randy Fancubila (right) entertains queries on his bamboo technology

from a walk-in visitor of the FITS Dumalag booth during the WESVARRDEC's

first Regional Technop Gabay Summit and Technomart at the Amigo Plaza Mall

in Iloilo City in May this year.

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