I sandblasted my first deadwood way back in 1992 and I guess I have blasted over 50 trees since then, I have perfected the technique of protecting the live veins, foliage and soil so that the aggressive nature of this technique does not upset the wellbeing of the tree.
As will any intervention on a bonsai the tree MUST be in great health. Never work on a tree that is recently collected yamadori or is not in the best health. This tree has grown well over the last three years and the deadwood was desperate to be worked. If I had waited another year the foliage would have restricted the access to in inner part of the tree, this is where the most interesting areas of deadwood are on view.
A few days before I removed an upright trunk and disguised by carving and stripping the cut, this can be seen in the photos as a bright orange area.
- Gather the foliage up and bind with fine wire so that you have access to the live vein.
- Using air-dried modelling clay cover the live veins right to the edge and at least 4mm thick, When dry (about 3 days) cover with Duck tape.
- Completely cover over the soil and as close to the base of the trunk as possible, I use rubber inner tubes first then bind with commercial cling wrap.
- Wrap the foliage in an old towel and then cover with a thick plastic bag.
- I use a commercial blasting service, you can find these locally via the internet.
The results are simply amazing, the deadwood is clean the splinters are removed from the branches I have snapped and all the detail is revealed. I do not put Lime Sulphur on immediately, as I like the wood to weather slightly prior to application.