Deadwood creation

Here is a selection of the deadwood working sometimes called carving but I rarely carve, I create by stripping, burning and blasting. I do use Dremels and Makita to remove bulk but the majority of the work is done slowly by hand. It’s important to me that the work I do is indistinguishable from the natural deadwood created by nature. Every one of these photos has some deadwood created by me contained in the image. Most of the trees are Taxus (Yew), there are some softwood trees such as Hawthorn but that’s usually done to hollow trees to give the appearance of age.

You can find more deadwood working HERE and HERE

Han Kengai Yew second wiring and deadwood

I have been working this tree for 5 years, collected in 2011 its hard to imagine that this is the same tree. This is a photo when the tree was first potted up. the tree has been turned 180 degrees.

Take a look back at the tree in 2014

The tree has undergone two wiring, the second one today. Its been a process of building strength in the tree, developing branches and creating a dense foliage mass. I guess that it will be at least two more years before the tree is anywhere near showing. I have a lovely Gordon Duffet pot ready for the tree when it is potted next April/May.

 

han-kengai-oct-16

 

Tall yew is filling out

I am happy with this tall yews development, the foliage is filling out well, the lower right hand branch needs a few years to fill out but its worth the wait. I have purchased a lovely Japanese exhibition quality pot that the tree will be finally placed.

tall yew

Technique explained – Sandblasting a Yamadori Yew Bonsai

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.

The process:

  • 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.

The Blasting:

  • 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.