Notes about wiring (1)

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Notes about wiring (1)

Postby taffyman » Sat Apr 14, 2007 9:31 pm

Wire comes in two types: Copper and ‘Copper coated’ aluminium. It isn’t actually copper coated – it’s anodized with a copper coloured solution. Copper is stronger than aluminium but is a lot more expensive. Ordinary aluminium wire can be used – it doesn’t have to be the anodized stuff. Anodized is only used for aesthetic purposes – it doesn’t stand out as much as shiny stuff. Wire comes in varying thicknesses from 1 millimetre all the way up to 10 millimetres.
The correct gauge (thickness) of wire to use is about 1/3 the thickness of the trunk/branch to be wired.
Before we start, the wire I have used in the photos isn’t necessarily the correct thickness to use for the application – I’ve just used it for demo purposes.
When wiring the trunk or the first (lowest branch), start by pushing the wire into the soil at the back of the trunk. This will anchor it firmly. Wind up the trunk at an angle as close to a 45 deg angle as you can get (photo A). This is the strongest angle for bending branches etc. Any less and it has the effect of a spring – it also wastes a lot of wire. Any more and it doesn’t give enough support or strength for bending the branches. At a 45 deg angle the amount of wire needed is approximately 3 times the length of the branch to be wired. There are times when you can’t get this angle but don’t worry about it, just get it as near as possible. It is preferable not to cut the wire off the roll before wiring if you can hold the roll and wire as you go, and only cut when you reach the end of the branch – you’ll save wire that way. If you cut it off before starting your wiring, you may end up with not enough, or too much to do the branch. Not enough means you have to put more on and too much means you will be cutting some off and end up with lots of small pieces that you can’t use. If you do cut a piece for a particular branch and it ends up being too short, don’t remove it and put another piece on – use another piece and start about two coils down from the end of the original piece then continue winding up to the end of the branch. By trying to remove wire you have just put on, you will end up breaking off twigs and leaves and also run the risk of scraping off some of the bark – especially on trees with very thin outer bark. Also, take care not to trap twigs, shoots and leaves under the wire – they will die off.
If the wire you have selected isn’t strong enough to bend the branch, again don’t remove it. Put another piece on right alongside the piece already applied (lower part photo B). Another point to be aware of is don’t apply the wire as if you are bandaging a snake-bite – it will cut into the bark very quick, especially on fast growing trees. Wrap the wire around as if you are putting a bandage over a graze on a child’s leg – gently!
To wire branches, it is always better to do them in pairs if possible. Wire one, then continue up the next one – but! Be careful you don’t cross any other wires (purple arrow in photo C) and never leave the ends of the wire sticking up in the air unless you want it sticking into your arm or your eye or something (photo C). If you’ve cut it a bit long, either cut it back flush with the branch or bend back over on itself (photo D). Plan the path of the wire before applying it (photo D). Notice that the wire on the left branch now winds up in the opposite direction (yellow arrow). To wire a single branch, start on the main branch or trunk, put two complete turns around the main branch or trunk before going out onto the branch. This anchors the branch and greatly reduces the risk of breaking it when you are actually doing the bending.
Photo E shows another BIG no-no. Never cross wires like this. If you do, you are guaranteeing yourself really bad wire scars on the trunk. The crossing wire is already pushing down on the one below it so the bark is already being compressed.
Photo F shows three wires coming up the trunk – the top one going out to the branch and the other two continuing up the trunk with another third branch being put on near the top.
In photo G you can see this new wire in place (red arrow). This one takes two turns round the trunk then out onto the right hand branch. The original grey wire goes up the middle branch and the brown goes up the left one.
Photo H shows most of the branches wired with some pretty radical bends in them.
Lastly, photo I shows the difference between the strength of copper and aluminium wire – and they are both the same thickness. The branch on the top right is done with copper and it has adequate strength to bend this branch. The top centre branch is aluminium and it barely strong enough to put some minor bending into it - and the top left branch is also aluminium but because it isn’t thick enough it isn’t able to put a bend in the branch.
A final note about wiring: always keep a close eye on any wiring you have done and if it looks as if it might be starting to mark the bark – take it off! It doesn’t matter if the branch hasn’t set in place yet. You can re-apply the wire right away but put it on in a slightly different position, maybe 5mm away from the original – don’t put it back where it was as you will make matters worse.
Edit: I've added two more photos to show how to wire two opposite branches and a single branch on its own.

Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image
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Postby Pam » Sun Apr 15, 2007 5:24 am

:shock: I don't know where we found you Taffy, but I'm sure glad we did - there aren't too many people who would take the trouble to wire a dead stick! :lol:
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Postby The Estate » Sun Apr 15, 2007 8:36 am

A lot of my bonsai end up as dead sticks :cry: :cry: :cry:
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Postby guzzigirl » Sun Apr 15, 2007 8:38 am

The Estate wrote:A lot of my bonsai end up as dead sticks :cry: :cry: :cry:


awwwwww! :cry: :cry: :cry: :lol:

thanks taffy, that is very helpful.
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Postby Mister Wisteria » Sun Apr 15, 2007 10:00 am

Your good Taffy, very good. :D
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Postby taffyman » Sun Apr 15, 2007 10:39 pm

A guy would have to have rocks in his head to wire up a dead stick wouldn't he? ImageImage Much easier to see though - imagine trying to see the wiring on a tree covered in foliage. I actually cut that off the top of a Benjamina about 2 weeks ago and when I picked it up from under my bench to put the wire on it, it had all new shoots at the ends of nearly every branch! Only one problem now - I've got to take all that wire off and straighten it again so I can re-use it. Image
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Postby The Estate » Sun Apr 15, 2007 10:42 pm

taffyman wrote:A guy would have to have rocks in his head to wire up a dead stick wouldn't he? ImageImage Much easier to see though - imagine trying to see the wiring on a tree covered in foliage. I actually cut that off the top of a Benjamina about 2 weeks ago and when I picked it up from under my bench to put the wire on it, it had all new shoots at the ends of nearly every branch! Only one problem now - I've got to take all that wire off and straighten it again so I can re-use it. Image



easy peasy re visit your wire straighten thread ROFL :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: and dont forget the extra wieghts fir us goils :shock: :roll: :D
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Postby taffyman » Sun Apr 15, 2007 10:47 pm

Now that's an idea TheE - why didn't I think of that :-?
Geez, I'm glad someone round here has got some brains.
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