A while back three collected tosho which had been grafted with itogawa shimpaku foliage came to the nursery. They came from a nursery not too far from here but, they had been commission grafted by Iura-San some time ago.
They were sold as a group, at one price. They were only bought to sell as business tree’s to buy, style and sell quickly.
All three tree’s were raw and it was a first styling they had since being grafted.
Two of the tree’s were chunky and were pretty much just a case of bring branches down and make pads. I did these first but, haven’t posted about them.
The third tree was of the least value being a more skinny bunjin.
As you can see from the photo’s the material has some interest but, is rather boring especially in the middle section.
My idea to in fact solve this issue was to bend the trunk down to compact the tree on the second looping bend. In normal circumstances with just a live vein and no dead would this would be simple but, this tree had thick deadwood and tosho/needle juniper wood to add. Tosho wood is hard, very hard, often tougher than collected shimpaku wood and this was no exception.
One option is to cut the dead wood, separate the live vein and hollow the live vein. It would then be very pliable and bend very easy. The only problem with this is there would surely be deadwood that would look unnatural, look like it has been touched by man, no matter what you did. What I decided do instead was to bend the whole trunk. Judging by the position & angles I estimated that it would be possible to bend without damaging the live vein significantly. The deadwood would either break or fray, either way it would look more natural.
I placed an iron bar through a gap near the base of the tree and used a wood block to help brace the metal bar against the shari. Using the iron bar gave me more length and leverage to bend the trunk, which really was needed with such hard wood.
I then used the largest steel jack (we have) to start bending.
The wood was tough but, the tree bent without much difficulty with the right setup. Here is a picture as it started to split.
Here the tree got quite far and the live vein started to split a little too but I still wanted it more compact.
I proceeded to bend more which put more stress on the live vein but the cracks were vertically with the live vein and not across so still safe and the tree would survive. The wood frayed and pulled apart a little but, didn’t break.
This was the final damage on the live vein after bending.
This was the final position of the trunk after bending, held in place with a stainless wire and screw.
Initially before bending I thought that the first picture was going to be the front side because it would hide the straight section behind the trunk. However after bending I change my mind because ther is some interesting deadwood which can only be shown from the other side.
I re-angled the tree, tilting it forward and to the left, creating a half cascade and wired the branches. The tree is very raw still but now with the bones set it should grow into a decent chuhin in time.
The tree has in fact survived well and didn’t blink an eye to its styling. Out of the three now this would actually be the most valuable and I look forward to seeing it transplanted, to its new correct angle and a more appropriate pot.