How we make our Bamboo Utensils
How it all started
Apart from plastic straws, another of the most common type of plastic waste you can find in the ocean is plastic utensils. We don’t know about you, but we hate them! Ever since we created Bali Boo, we knew we wanted to make sustainable cutlery. At first, we tried with wood (the one you can find in our Coconut Bowl Sets) but we soon realized that we were already working with the most sustainable material in the world (bamboo). Therefore, why not use that to make cutlery too?
Our search took us everywhere, we spoke to various suppliers in Indonesia, we even asked people outside Indonesia, in Vietnam and even in China (where all the rest of brands produce theirs) but we knew we had to be able to find this type of product manufactured locally, so we kept looking.
That’s when we found Yasmin (Yas for the friends) and her incredible heartwarming team! Yas has a small company in central Bali that produces bamboo utensils with a zero-waste mentality. No trash, no waste, no plastic. We met an afternoon where we shared laughs, stories, and concerns. To put it plainly, we ‘clicked.’ We spent some months refining a bit how we wanted our bamboo cutlery set to look like, and in 2019 we released the Bali Boo Bamboo Cutlery Set.
How to make Bamboo Utensils – Bali Boo Style!
To make our bamboo utensils we use Bambu Petung, which is the same type of Bamboo that we use for our Beach Headrest.
The first step to make the bamboo utensils is to get the bamboo, which Yas sources sustainably from local farmers. Once the bamboo has arrived at her workshop, her team cuts it up in small slabs of around 40cm long and 5 cm wide. After outlining 2 pieces on each slab, they proceed to cut them and sand them down. The process is done first with a mechanical hand-polisher. Nonetheless, nothing can beat the fine details that can only be achieved when sanded with paper and done by hand. That is why the last part of the sanding process is all handmade.
In the case of the spoon, the scoop part is done with a gouge, one by one. It is a completely handmade process and it requires a lot of skill. Thankfully, Yas’ team counts with several experienced artisans who have mastered the techniques of wood carving. The knife is also a piece that requires a lot of skill. In order to make it actually cut, Yas’ team has to sharpen each side of the knife with sandpaper. The process takes a bit of time and has to be done really carefully so the knife doesn’t break.
The bamboo fork is made with 3 points to give it enough rigidity. We tested out with 4 points, but this meant they each had to be much thinner, making them quite prone to break. Because Yas’ workshop has such a zero-waste mentality, they use the leftover slabs of the cut-out utensils to make the chopsticks. The whole process is completely handmade and if you like handcrafts ( like Diego) it’s quite hypnotizing.
Once the pieces have been cut, sanded and are basically done, we boil them for 40 minutes in water with vinegar to completely disinfect and clean them. When dry, we coat them with a bit of cold-pressed virgin coconut oil, which makes them waterproof, shiny and soft.
The whole process is completely handmade. No heavy machinery is used except some small hand tools and cutting boards. Yas employs mostly women in her workshop and also employs people with disabilities in collaboration with a local organization. The whole place exudes with laughter and a beautiful spirit of collaboration. We definitely couldn’t be happier to work with them all.