MTSO wrote:....Is bamboo difficult to cut?.Brian
No, not at all. That said, the natural straw yellow bamboo cuts much better (and is harder and less splintery) than the baked amber or brown bamboo material.
Supposedly it has some silica in it but I do not see much difference in bit life compared with e.g. maple or walnut.
I use an upcut bit, mostly 1/8" and sometimes 1/4" 2-flute with the usual hardwood feed and speed. Only for the gears I went down to 50 ipm and rather shallow cut to get the best precision out of my machine. For the gears a surface accuracy of better than 0.002" is critical. The upcut bit may leave occasional fibers on the top cut edge but they can be scraped off going along with the fingernail, leaving a perfect edge.