Grape vine trunk cleaning/carving ideas

Starfox

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Hey all,

So I've been looking at my Grape and pretty sure it would benefit greatly from a bit of a clean up of the trunk. There is plenty of deadwood, flakey stuff, hollows and live veins already existing so I want to try and clean it up a little and also do something about the round cut marks that are left. I'm not in a rush to do the work and never really done anything on this scale before either so I'm wondering if anyone has any tips or could share what they would maybe do or more importantly what you wouldn't do.

I have some ideas but am hesitant to jump right in blindly. I think keeping it simple is probably better but I guess it the main thing will be cleaning up the live veins.

There is also this article and video from Harry Harrington which is helpful too however I feel that the final look is too clean, I love the live veins and hollows plus how he dealt with the round cuts but I think the existing bark adds character so don't really want to remove too much of that.

Anyway here are some pics of the trunk in question, I can take more of certain areas or differently if requested.

IMG_9474ss.jpg

IMG_9477ds.jpg

IMG_9478fs.jpg

IMG_9480ds.jpg

The back side
IMG_9481ds.jpg

Again Back side
IMG_9482ds.jpg

I know there is a lot to take in on this but any advice would be greatly appreciated.

What would be the best approach to start, taking a wire brush to it? Then clean out with a dremel?
Also silly question but will one of those wire brush for a bbq?
 

sorce

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I think your natural lines will look good on their own.

Thinning out the knot to better define that line is all it needs I reckon. Introducing a little light through if possible.

Sorce
 
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Yep, that knot definitely needs thinning, you can start by removing dead bark, and follow existing lines, carve the deadwood a bit at a time. Maybe minimal carving or not, but you can see what needs to happen better without the dead bark. Sometimes a chisel or pliers works too so you can follow the grain, plus a wire brush, play around a bit to see what works best for you because it seems to me when going to workshops and watching demos that some people are better with hand tools than a dremel.
 

Starfox

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I think your natural lines will look good on their own.

Thinning out the knot to better define that line is all it needs I reckon. Introducing a little light through if possible.

Sorce

I agree, the natural lines on this are good. A lot of that knot is hollow so should be easy to clean out and it makes it kind of look like the live vein splits in two.
And yeah you can see daylight through it in parts so that should look alright too.
Maybe from there the flow will come in how to deal with the other parts.

Yep, that knot definitely needs thinning, you can start by removing dead bark, and follow existing lines, carve the deadwood a bit at a time. Maybe minimal carving or not, but you can see what needs to happen better without the dead bark. Sometimes a chisel or pliers works too so you can follow the grain, plus a wire brush, play around a bit to see what works best for you because it seems to me when going to workshops and watching demos that some people are better with hand tools than a dremel.

I can do that much at least at the moment, get rid of the dead stuff then take a good look at what is there before doing much else.
I'll see how it goes, I think a combination of hand tools at the beginning and dremel for the last part and round cuts is not beyond me. I'll see how I go timewise today, may start clearing out some of the dead stuff to get a better look.
 

sorce

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The rounds of cuts are the only thing standing out to carve.

Sorce
 

Leo in N E Illinois

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Right now, your shaggy bark and the deadwood are pretty close in color. If it were mine, I would do something to increase the contrast between the deadwood and the bark. Obviously bleaching the deadwood with lime-sulfur would work. Cleaning the shaggy bark off down to the lighter colored layer just above the cambium also would shift the color away from the color of the deadwood. Some of the shaggy, flaky bark may be hiding other sections of deadwood. Cleaning the bark up helps expose the livelines.

But it is really up to you. If you like the shaggy bark, keep it. Your ideas for carving sound right on. Grape vines are supposed to be twisted and knotted. I would not worry much about reducing the big knot.

Nice find.
 

Starfox

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The rounds of cuts are the only thing standing out to carve.

Sorce

Yeah it's just a matter of finding the lines so the blend, the rest should just be a clean up.

Right now, your shaggy bark and the deadwood are pretty close in color. If it were mine, I would do something to increase the contrast between the deadwood and the bark. Obviously bleaching the deadwood with lime-sulfur would work. Cleaning the shaggy bark off down to the lighter colored layer just above the cambium also would shift the color away from the color of the deadwood. Some of the shaggy, flaky bark may be hiding other sections of deadwood. Cleaning the bark up helps expose the livelines.

But it is really up to you. If you like the shaggy bark, keep it. Your ideas for carving sound right on. Grape vines are supposed to be twisted and knotted. I would not worry much about reducing the big knot.

Nice find.

Agreed about the colour, adding lime sulfur is definitely what I will do at some point. Need to order some first.
I like the shaggy bark, it looks more natural to me but I do agree that some can be removed to find deadwood as I have had a bit of a poke around and found more deadwood and another hollow at the base, I'm sure there is more to find too. I took some pics I'll post up later with a couple of questions.

It's not so much reducing the knot but trying to clean out the cuts and keep the flow of things, the whole right side of it appears to be dead wood as is so while I can see a few options going forward I think it's best to not get carried away. I can always remove more later but can't exactly replace any mistakes.
 

Starfox

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So I did a little clean up of mostly just the flakey/punky stuff I could remove with my hands. It revealed a nice hollow between the two.


Before
1598884915529.png

After

IMG_9484ga.jpg

As mentioned that whole right side appears to be deadwood which stretches right up to the top of the red line.
The Green line seems to be the living side which grows up and behind the red one at the top.

IMG_9484gad.jpg

Here is the reverse of that.

IMG_9488dd.jpg

And while I was digging around the base found another hollow, just a shame it's not on a front view but still it'll add something.

IMG_9489ad.jpgIMG_9490cvd.jpg

There are loads of other areas of interest too but one step at a time.

So basically I'm just going to continue slowly and lightly cleaning things up before deciding to try neaten up the hollow areas and get the stuff I can't remove too easily. Almost seems every time I look somewhere else I see something new so that's cool.

One question I do have is in regards to the hollow area up top, would people normally paint the inside with lime sulfur or would using a darker stain be the way?
I guess it's personal preference but like I say I'm trying not to make things up as I go along.
 

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