I spent the day contemplating a favorite obsession: building a boat using the lowest cost materials, and preferably organic materials. Bamboo seems obvious. But how to get a smooth, rot and worm resistant hull?
I’ve been looking into cement and steel reinforced hulls. They are cheap, but if they leak, they sink like stone. Why not slap water resistant concrete around bamboo pontoons? That has been my thought for 4 years now. A catamaran of bamboo and concrete, unsinkable.
It’s not so simple. You can spend all day, and weeks, and years looking into how to safely and cheaply use bamboo in a sexy and safe boat. Cement doesn’t like it that bamboo can expand and contract depending on moisture. It doesn’t stick as well to bamboo as it does to rebar and wire mesh. The right formulation, along with careful bamboo pre-treatments and coatings and surface roughening should work. The idea is to make the concrete have the sole function of making for a smooth skin to make the boat faster – if it cracks or leaks, the boat would remain seaworthy.
Concrete technology is fun and a big field. The marble floors in many shopping malls is actually glass and stone aggregate in cement, polished. You can make driveways and buildings and pottery and so many artistic shapes out of cement and aggregate. It’s easy to form and shape and work with.
And bamboo is an environmentalists woody.
And a boat. A boat can get you laid.
So today was daydream day. No matter if I never build my bamboo polished aggregate sex-boat. I’m busy, figuring out. It seems to be more productive than a crossword.