2018 March Monday – Carving Demonstration

At the March meeting of the BSV, Michael Simonetto shared his extensive knowledge of carving bonsai with members.  His demonstration included both hand and power tools.

Michael reviewing carving options for this pine.
Michael reviewing carving options for this pine.

First of all, he emphasised the importance of safety and using the appropriate safety protection for the task at hand.  This could cover eye protection, ear protection and hand protection.  Secondly, tool techniques are vital and it is essential your hands are always behind the tool that is making the cut.  It was also noted that some tools are made for dragging rather than pushing which changes the safety requirements.

A range of power tools can be used depending on the magnitude of the task at hand and of course the choice of cutting bit.  More powerful tools will require more stringent safety measures to avoid harm if unexpected events occur.  Look for ways to more safely support the power tool and make sure you are cutting with the grain.

When carving bonsai, the intention is to create very natural looking deadwood and this can take a very long time as you move from the initial rough cuts to finishing off.  Some of Michael’s comments are included below.

  • Make sure the tree is firm in the pot before starting.
  • Observe what happens in nature to help guide how to shape and finish off the deadwood.
  • The edge of a thick piece of glass can be good for finishing off.
  • It is easier to tear young wood with moisture.
  • When tackling a large jin, a cut around the base to avoid stripping down the trunk.
  • With shari, mark it first and follow the trunk line.

Examples of activity on the night are included below.

Using a power tool to shape a jin.
Using a power tool to shape a jin.
Removing deadwood from an olive.
Removing deadwood from an olive.
Shari and jin development on a juniper.
Shari and jin development on a juniper.

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Olive deadwood removal using a power cutter.
Olive deadwood removal using a power cutter.
Olive front after initial deadwood removal.
Olive front after initial deadwood removal.

 

Continue reading 2018 March Monday – Carving Demonstration

2018 February Monday Banksia

Our Banksia evening in February was a very informative and engaging session with Craig Wilson. BSV members watched eagerly as Craig pruned several large banksias and demonstrated the fact that they can be seriously chopped with very successful back budding in due course.

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We learnt that they need to be regularly fertilized.

He suggested it is better to start with a young banksia sapling rather than old nursery stock. Begin your banksia bonsai by cutting off the sapling roots and then plant on a sloping angle in the pot to commence the intended curvature right at the base of the tree.

Craig advocated defoliating banksia in early Spring and usually cuts leaves in half rather than totally stripping the tree, to facilitate ongoing photosynthesis. Defoliation will help to develop lots of new twig growth which will result in lots of fine growth and smaller leaves. Pinching out new tips will help with ramification.

A banksia on display.

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