How to make a Bamboo Fountain

My 15 Minute Japanese Bamboo Fountain

Japanese Bamboo Fountain

I have been meaning to post this since last summer, but as always, life is busy.

For mother’s day, my kids wanted to build my wife a water garden, complete with a fountain and water plants.  We found a plastic pot, filled it with water and went down to our local garden center to pick out some water plants and a fountain.  We found a little turtle fountain for the pot, sadly that 1st winter I forgot to bring it indoors.  When everything froze the left over water in the turtle expanded and split the poor little guys plastic head wide open.

Bamboo fountain at the Japanese Garden Portland OR.
Bamboo fountain at the Japanese Garden Portland OR.

The next spring my wife wanted to clean it up with new plants and of course, a new fountain, back to the nursery we went.  We found a several plants she liked but not a fountain.  That same week we went to the Portland Japanese Gardens and saw several basic fountains made out of bamboo.  Being a maker of things, I figured this would be a perfect project to build.  A bamboo fountain inspired by the ones we saw at the Japanese Garden.

A few years back we planted a small bamboo grove at the back of our lot to provide a privacy screen from the neighbor’s house.  Armed with some pruners I headed to the backyard looking for the straightest and biggest diameter bamboo stalks I could find.  I cut two stalks and went to work.  To determine the height of the fountain I wedged one of the stocks in the pot with some rocks, stepped back and eyed what I thought was a good height.  I cut three pieces, two of them the same length that would reach to the bottom of the pot to the maximum height I wanted the fountain to be.  The third piece I cut so it would be from the top of the fountain to just under the water line.

The third piece would carry the water tube.  I have a few really long drill bits, probably about 18 inches long.  I used the one that is the same diameter as the tubing to drill lengthwise down the bamboo to hollow it out.  The bamboo is hollow except at the nodes, so all I had to do was drill through the nodes.  Fishing the tube up the stalk was the most difficult part of the whole build as it kept getting hung up on the edge of the nodes that remained from the drilling.  If I build another one I will probably buy a larger diameter drill  bit to give me a bit more working room.

Bamboo fountain with water plants I lashed all thee stalks together with some twine and went to work on the spout.  I used the same method to hollow out the spout that I used on the main stalk.  To cut the angle on the spout I used my Japanese pull saw.  It seemed appropriate for the task, as this was inspired form a fountain I saw in the Japanese garden.  I determined the length of the spout the same way as the height, by using my eye to tell me what looks good.  I finished the fountain by lashing the spout to the thee pieces I used as the stand, and threading the water supply tube through it.  All and all it was a 15 min build and earned me a few bonus points with my wife.

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