Non-bamboo chopsticks

After the stream about chopsticks, I took some restaurant chopsticks and cut the angle on the end (that helps push/move soil in the direction you want), and that seemed to work much better than if I had left the chopsticks the way they came from the restaurant. And since they’re free, I’m not too worried if they don’t last a super long time. I have a bunch, so I’ll just keep cutting the ends. I would like to get my hands on some bamboo, though, and make my own. That’s a project I could get into :slight_smile: Turn on some music and make like a hundred sticks, lol.

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Here in the UK ideal 1m lengths/thickness Black Bamboo are easily available at Homebase less that 3 GBP EACH enough to make chop sticks … as per Ryan’s stream, all the selection I chose from the internode lengths were over ft long … ideal material at very good value. Hope this helps anyone in the UK


Yeah, I picked up a few different sizes of the square wooden dowels from Lowes. Haven’t cut them yet but it’s still not repotting season here (10" of new snow yesterday). I don’t have nearly as many trees (and they are a lot smaller) than Mirai so even if the sticks don’t last all that long, probably not a big deal. We’ll see how they work.

Did you buy the poles, rods or dowels? Unlike the dowels or rods, the poles (which come in larger diameters) appear to be hollow inside - I don’t know how they could be cut/carved to mirror the shape of Ryan’s chopsticks.

Don’t know when bamboo rounds will be available for sale again through Mirai - I have not been able to find them anywhere else on the internet.

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I’m confused what you’re asking, ~5" diameter hollow poles are what Ryan uses for making his chopsticks. The trick is finding segments of decent length and walls with the right thickness.

Guess that’s my mistake. The Bamboo Rounds pictured at the Mirai Store appear to be much larger than a section of a 5" round. The photo is somewhat deceptive; thanks for pointing that out. Any idea how the wall thicknesses vary pole to pole? Is it hit or miss when ordering a 5" diameter bamboo pole?

I use wood for potting tools and it works fine IMO. Oak and hawthorne. I also use fiberglass rods made for masonry keystone construction for pegging and blocking in the pot as well as scrap cellular plastic, all better than bamboo, rotwise.

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Any idea how the wall thicknesses vary pole to pole? Is it hit or miss when ordering a 5" diameter bamboo pole?

It’s a plant so there’s gonna be all sorts of variation in how they grow. If you don’t specify what you’re looking for then you might not get what you need. Since it was local to me I could peruse their stock and find what I needed.

I have a few of those restaurant chopsticks so I tried cutting at an angle. It works well for fine chopsticking in small spaces. But for larger areas what I ended up doing was taking a couple of larger branches that I pruned and did some whittling and got them into the right shape and put the angled cut in them. Working well so far, but I don’t think they will last very long before they begin breaking down. Decent short-term solution, at best.

I would agree that bamboo would be the best of all, but like alternatives for akadama you can deal with the limitations you are facing if no bamboo is available. First is that the chopstick needs to be hard, meaning not loosing its shape (esp. on the long side of the stick), so poplar or pine didn´t fits into this category. The food chopsticks are made from the soft part of the bamboo so they lost the special feature of bamboo, the hardness. One could argue that laminated wood would be the best alternative but I would say that any hardwood, in the right shape, is at least as functional as bamboo.


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I don’t have good bamboo, either (wish I did), so I think I will try some oak boards. I can cut them to length, cut the angle on the end, and then shape them. I think you’re onto something. The hardwood should hold up pretty well.

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I’m a “tier 2” member, so didn’t get to see the presentation “Chopstick Creation” in the archives, but have to say I just can’t grasp the must have need for bamboo chop sticks. It would seem to me that the importance is in the use of a chopstick rather than in what its made of.

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It’s a combination of the hard outer “shell” of the bamboo allowing it to hold it’s shape and the inner portion (what will hit against the roots) being softer. I think you can get away with using other material, but the natural makeup of bamboo lends itself well to this specific use.

IMO, the shape of the chopstick is the more critical part compared to the material. Making sure there is a “face” to push the soil down into the pot is what is missing from most equivalents.

For anyone in Europe who cannot find bamboo, try . Great service! Good products! I asked for bamboo poles with long internodes and I got exactly that.

BTW, I used the chopsticks as per Ryan; you can actually see and feel the substrate filling all the crevices and holes! I do not know how I managed repotting without them :slight_smile:


In the UK I’ve used these guys for both my chopstick material and black bamboo for table separators for an upcoming show.

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I thought Mirai was going to have bamboo in stock last week…anybody know what the status of that is now?

Hey Jens, I am from Germany as well - can you send my the link of your best eBay source for the bamboo?! Thx buddy

Dear Jürgen,
For the smaller ones (up to middle size Trees) Bamboo with smaller diameter are sufficient. I used one with only 2.5cm, works great for 2-3 Sticks.
Krieg‘ste in jedem Baumarkt!

Thank you :blush: - no better eBay alternatives?

Agreed! Very innovative. I love using stuff around the house for projects. I guess it’s the Macgyver in us? Lol