Branch Bender/Jack

Umeboshi

Mame
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Does anyone regularly use branch benders? I have had one for a good number of years but the only time I used it I was unhappy with the way it worked. Re these typically used for straightening a bend or for creating one or both?
 

Brian Van Fleet

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My experience has been the same; after my first couple years doing bonsai, I was never in a situation where a U-shaped curve is exactly what is needed. Not to mention the terrible damage the outer hooks do to the bark raking through while the middle cranks down.

Wire allows you to get movement in 3 dimensions, and if you really need to move a big branch, it's probably moving the whole thing, rather than putting a bow in the middle of it...for that, a rebar attached to and extending past the branch to act as the lever, and a well-placed guy wire to hold it down is far more effective and far less intrusive.
 

Umeboshi

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I think that my branch bender will continue collecting dust.

It is impressive how powerful of a tool a couple lengths of rebar can be. Some of the work you see done using rebar in Bonsai Today is amazing. Thank you for the advice Brian.
 

Phillip C

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Can rebar be used to put some movement in a 1.5 " trunk of a JM even before it is cut off from it's full height of 5.5'? How would that work. New to Bonsai here, but got a JM at HD yesterday with some movement in the trunk down low and plan to cut waaay back before bud break this spring. Thanks Phillip C
 

Ang3lfir3

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phillip the type of movement we are talking about here is generally done are large conifers.... their softer more plyable wood makes this feasable... very little large scale movement work can be done on deciduous bonsai... that is not to say its impossible.... just not often practiced
 

rockm

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If you apply a rebar jack to a maple, you will snap it in half. Deciduous trees' wood is far more brittle when aged than conifers'. Drastic movement is CUT into deciduous material, using replacement growth. With pines, you can bend it in...
 

Jason

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Does anyone regularly use branch benders? I have had one for a good number of years but the only time I used it I was unhappy with the way it worked. Re these typically used for straightening a bend or for creating one or both?

They are used to create horrific scars. I've used one to bend a really long straight internode in a maple. That was about 5 years ago and the scars are almost healed.
 

rockm

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"gotta go and add the "aged" part huh rock.."
Actually, even a maple sapling is far less flexible than a comparably-sized pine sapling. Jacks are always used on thicker, older trees as they can provide the more intense leverage needed to bend that kind of material.
 

Ang3lfir3

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you do realize I know all of this right rock?

but for the OPs sake....

And we have used them at Elandan before (of course only on conifers)... usually you cover the branch that needs the bending in raffia or in our case orange bailing twine and then bend it.... this protects the bend as well as the bark in the area of the bend... usually you support the bend with wire as well...
 

rockm

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No. Didn't realize...sorry
 

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