Ben’s Juniper Carving

At the recent Willowbog Workshop on Sunday Ben brought along his Squamata Juniper for some block carving work by Peter Snart. Peter got Ben to do a little Rip and tear on a few of the finer bits of deadwood first and then he got stuck in with the Makita to do some basic block carving on the heavier areas. Peter reckons he’d need a week to do the tree. If he carves as fast as he walks, I’d believe it too 😉

New Horror Movie

You heard it here first, Jim Carey is starring in a new horror movie where he uses a Makita Die Grinder to hollow out the insides of unsuspecting bonsai enthusiasts heads. He infiltrates clubs and gains the confidence of members. He is even know to gain a seat at the committee table before he strikes 🙂

Ok, not true, but Ben does look like Jim Carey and this photo of him carving in my garage last Saturday is pretty darn scary 😀



Ben was here to play with my carving tools and gain a little experience using same. He spent most of his time on a raw material pyracantha stump but also managed a little work on an Elm and a Lonicera clump.





Stephen came down to give me a hand removing wire from a Larch I have and to make sure Ben behaved.




Always good when you remember to put a towel down to stop copper wire getting into the potting mix.


I played about with a raw Collected Scots Pine. I wanted it to resemble some mature trees near where it was collected. It will take a few years to fill and develope but I think it will make a nice image. Nice bark and better character than the photo shows.DSC_0483



This was the lonicera stump that Ben carved. First photo from a few months back.



An enjoyable afternoon.


Stephen’s Cotoneaster

This is a Cotoneaster that Stephen brought to my place a few weeks agao to do a little carving and eventually restyle. It had lost two weak branches at the back and was placed into this tub to regain vigour for the last year. This seems to have worked.



Stephen cover this session on his blog HERE

Yesterday afternoon Stephen came back to do the wiring and styling. We also did a little more carving. This was it before we started wiring.




After some wiring this is the image that Stephen preferred for the tree.




I found this older photo of it from back in 2011


Escallonia Step by Step

I did a little more work on the Escallonia in November.

Peter Warren had suggested back in October that I remove a front branch. I did this and now this stump needed added to the deadwood on the tree.

When Mr Snart was here a few weeks back we had a look at it. Peter has excellent carving skills and I wanted his advice about opening up the trunk to allow me to reach the hollow centre. It had rotted at the base and was hollow inside, but I couldn’t reach this area to add wood hardener. Peter kindly offered to do a little carving on the tree to add the extra deadwood at the front and also open up the trunk to allow me to gain access.

This was the tree before removal of the front branch.

and after branch removal

Here is Peter doing a little carving.

On Friday I spent a little time washing out the remains of the sawdust and rotted wood. I did a little more carving and cleaning of the original deadwood to remove some algae. As you can see below there are now 3 opening added by Peter into the centre of the trunk that I can now access and apply hardener. The opening are small visually but allow room for a toothbrush to enter. The remaining heartwood is all solid and rotting seemed to have been limited.

I plan to treat the wood this week and apply a fresh coat of lime sulphur to the outside, perhaps darkened down a tad. I’ll keep you posted.

Thick and Fast…

They are coming thick and fast, hot on the heals of episode 19, comes episode 20 looking at the creation of deadwood on a shohin Juniper and a Japanese Red Pine.

Carving Bits

This set of carving bits was recommended to me by one of the chaps on the Wee Trees Forum. I had been looking for something that fitted the Dremel that would allow for detailed carving work. This set had something very similar and you got 3 of them for the price that most Bonsai Suppliers were charging for one. I got them today and they look the part. Obviously you don’t need the black thing. Once I give them a go, I’ll let you know if it was worth the saving or not. Sometimes cheaper isn’t better, or so my wife says!

Here’s the link to the vendor on ebay. 4 piece multipurpose cutting kit.

Old Joe Yew

When my Uncle Joe died I was allowed to collect this yew from his garden. That was 4 years ago. It is nothing special but has great sentimental value. Joe was a great gardener and loved to talk about my bonsai. He would love to be able to see what I’ve done with this.

I removed the wire from it’s first styling back in the Spring and I have allowed free growth since then. Today I gave it a thinning out removing foliage that was growing in the wrong places. I haven’t rewired anything as yet.

Before trim

after trim

In a year or two it will fill out into a fuller image. I added some foliage with photoshop to give me an idea of where to go next.


Olive Carving By Kevin Willson

If you haven’t already come across the Kevin Willson Carving videos on Bonsai Basho, you should give them a look.

Not much chat past the first episode but interesting to see his technique all the same.

Here’s a link to Basho’s You Tube Channel. Just click the image below.

Old Joe Yew

This is Old Joe, a Golden variety of Yew that I dug from my Uncles garden after he died 4 years ago. It was tall, poker straight and not much to look at but it is my memory of my Uncle, so I’m trying the make the best of it.

I did the basic carving on it last year. This was an attempt to add interest to a very straight and boring tree. After some consideration I removed a tall jin at the top of the tree a short time later. It was just too tall and leaned back too far from the apex foliage.

Today I wanted to try out the new carving bits and decided to do the basic carving required at the chopped jin and maybe do a little refinement work on last years work.

This was it last year.

Today with a little more growth.

This is the chopped jin to be worked on.

Tools at the ready…

The chop after basic carving and a coat of Lime Sulphur.

A little more detail added lower down.

Mail Order

I ordered a few bits and pieces from Kaizen on Tuesday and they arrived today.

Mike Jones, Bonsai Passion recommended the bark cleaner.

I also fancied one of these spray pumps that you attach a coke bottle too. This will be handy around the garden.

I spotted this sharp knife for working deadwood and removing bark.

My mate Stephen needed a 1/4 inch collet for a Makita so i added this to the order along with 2 cutting bits. The Wood Weasel and a Mole. I also ordered a few spare cutting cups for my samurai and little Terrier.

Wood Weasel