The Story of the Bamboo Tattoo Needle
There is a story about monks doing Sak Yant with a bamboo tattoo needle, well I am sure that there has been some in the first half of the last century. I am sure there was some but as there is carved toothbrushes used in prisons for Tattoo needles. Everyone uses what they have at hand at times. Anyone will from time to time so people use what is at hand to gets the job done, i am sure that includes bamboo Salk Yant needles.
Yes, the bamboo can be sharpened to a point and can certainly be used. However is not a great choice for a tattoo needle as they tend to be too light to make a deep enough puncture without a lot of force being used. They are without question cool looking but the tip is less likely to be small enough, to make a perfectly sharp image.
Clearly, nobody really uses them except for show purposes or last resort. In Thailand today, what is often done by tourist tattoo shops is to take a long piece of bamboo and add needles to the end or make it will a slot so a tip with metal needles can be added. The extended length to get more weight means a very long tattoo pole so must be used to apply the ink is like using a pool cue. It has been said the bamboo hurts less and heals faster wich might be true as It is claimed by some that the ink does not go in deep enough and over time it will fade more.
Historically Sak Yant Needles
There are lots of different types of tattoo needles from simple metal rods with standard sewing needles attached to the tip in a group of 4-6 needles or more that will hold ink better to very elaborate decorated ones with figurines to add weight to the end. Another traditional style of Sak Yant needle is a simple one piece metal rod normally brass, where the tip comes to a point and is then cut down the center for it to hold ink better it comes in all lengths and sizes. The most higher end historical needles are made with tapered hollow metal tubes that are then covered with cotton braided wrapping on the grip, That braiding is covered with natural lacquer. Then interchangeable needles were added at the tip.
No matter the instrument used to apply the ink, the powers of the authentic Sak Yant is not about the needle but the person and their connection with the Sak Yant and the spirits