How long should it take for dead wood to be DEAD dead?

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#1
This is the second time I've had to rewire a "deadwood" limb this year.
It keeps going straight and needing a rewire. Guess it absorbs moisture and thinks it's alive.

Will it keep doing this or is there a time period where it will HOLD the position I wire it to?

Thanks.

???/ lil juniper.jpg wood.jpg
 
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#3
This is the second time I've had to rewire a "deadwood" limb this year.
It keeps going straight and needing a rewire. Guess it absorbs moisture and thinks it's alive.

Will it keep doing this or is there a time period where it will HOLD the position I wire it to?

Thanks.

???/ View attachment 197299 View attachment 197300
Wiring deadwood doesn’t work because lignification is what makes a branch set in its new position after it has been wired and lignification is a process that only occurs in live wood.

That said, I have been told there’s a way to bend deadwood and make it stay put. However, I haven’t personally seen the technique being performed from start to finish, just saw a little bit and heard a basic explanation. If I recall correctly, it involves wiring the branch, wetting all parts of the tree (and keeping them wet throughout the procedure so as to avoid setting the tree on fire), and then selectively cooking the wet branch with a blowtorch (while avoiding setting the tree on fire). Essentially, it’s using a process similar to the way an Eames chair was made, but doing it directly on a tree instead of to plywood.

Disclaimer: If you do this, you should research the technique thoroughly and take reasonable safety precautions and be aware that you are doing it at your own risk.
 

Adair M

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#6
Just did one! Here’s the victim:

0BF80FC7-39EC-45D3-B4B2-776CE9B2D6F1.jpeg

That long straight upper Jin is natural, just long and straight. The picture above was taken back in January, just after repotting.

So, on Monday last week, I brought it into the workshop, wet a towel, and wrapped it around the Jin. Used a bit of aluminum wire to secure it in place. Then covered the wet towel with two wraps of aluminum foil:

14804F35-E334-47C3-B9A3-066AE814F19E.jpeg

968EE313-2650-402A-84C5-12500FED3A7C.jpeg

I then let it sit outside in the sun until Friday. This gave the deadwood time to absorb water from the towel. I even added water into the wrap a couple times.

Then on Friday, we took a small propane blowtorch and heated the aluminum wrapping. We diddrape the rest of the tree with wet towels. Sorry, don’t have pictures. Kinda busy! We set up a block at the point if the bend, and a guy wire rig. We carefully steamed the branch, trying not to catch anything on fire! We let the steam do it thing for a few minutes, then we started the bend. I tightened the guy wire while a friend applied the pressure to the branch using one of those “branch bender” contraptions. I took up slack in the guy wire as he bent.


Then we removed the aluminum and towel. I decided to leave the block and guy wire a couple months:

EA2B5624-EFC3-4414-AA1D-9A34B27778A1.jpeg

There was one small Jin up top I wired so it wouldn’t cross so bad.
 
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#8
It's funny but I did think heat might do it.
Since it's so small maybe a butane fireplace lighter could supply a controllable flame.
Have to think about this.
It should be fairly easy to isolate the greenery.
 
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#10
It's funny but I did think heat might do it.
Since it's so small maybe a butane fireplace lighter could supply a controllable flame.
Have to think about this.
It should be fairly easy to isolate the greenery.
Just google “steam bending” it’s a technique used by carpenters to make funky furniture or whatever, bending large pieces of lumber even. That’s essentially what Adair did I believe. Also Ryan Neil has a tutorial video on how to steam bend deadwood on the Mirai Live website if you want to shell out some money for a subscription. It’s a pretty in depth video.
 

wireme

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#11
Just did one! Here’s the victim:

View attachment 197369

That long straight upper Jin is natural, just long and straight. The picture above was taken back in January, just after repotting.

So, on Monday last week, I brought it into the workshop, wet a towel, and wrapped it around the Jin. Used a bit of aluminum wire to secure it in place. Then covered the wet towel with two wraps of aluminum foil:

View attachment 197370

View attachment 197371

I then let it sit outside in the sun until Friday. This gave the deadwood time to absorb water from the towel. I even added water into the wrap a couple times.

Then on Friday, we took a small propane blowtorch and heated the aluminum wrapping. We diddrape the rest of the tree with wet towels. Sorry, don’t have pictures. Kinda busy! We set up a block at the point if the bend, and a guy wire rig. We carefully steamed the branch, trying not to catch anything on fire! We let the steam do it thing for a few minutes, then we started the bend. I tightened the guy wire while a friend applied the pressure to the branch using one of those “branch bender” contraptions. I took up slack in the guy wire as he bent.


Then we removed the aluminum and towel. I decided to leave the block and guy wire a couple months:

View attachment 197372

There was one small Jin up top I wired so it wouldn’t cross so bad.
I’ve done that before, pretty much exactly to every detail you described as far as I can tell. Over the course of a year it slowly moved back to the original position. Did it again, again it crept back over a year or so. Did it again, lost the tree in my 2010 freeze event, never found out if third time was the charm. Maybe I wasn’t hearing long and hot enough but it was enough that the steam obviously made the wood easier to bend. Haven’t tried since, someday will try again.
 
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#13
I tried the steam bending thing this past Jan, just to try out the technique. It definitely loosened up the wood, but I also had similar experiences like @wireme. Over time it slowly returned to it's shape, not completely to the original position, but didn't stay as tight. Maybe I didn't leave it on long enough. I think for next time, I'm going to steam it longer and then leave it tied in the new position for a year or more.

sJyxbJvc-B0469F7lN6stIpjUeMYNR8QvmcYqrO4KhVjuaNL2sQMyVcyZ953Q88DJNpOL5hJXFA=s2048.jpg

You can see in the back of the tree how far it's bent back up this year...

kM_dZCYCNCl8WubdfauYYFcErtSiFZx2BGq_ACOCjbD46FKXALtV2-jJHZrAU-1_9XsHTaV0a1o=s2048.jpg

I think it just needs to stay on longer... possibly with more pressure. @Adair M have you experiences the jins trying to return to their position?
 
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#14
The technique Ryan Neil uses is to literally steam the branch with a repurposed electric tea kettle basically. As opposed to the wet towel and blowtorch. It was pretty wild to watch, I have no idea if that’s more effective or not, but I am wondering if anyone has tried treating the deadwood with a wood hardener directly after steam bending? Maybe this could be a solution to keep the deadwood from slowly returning to it’s original position.
 

Adair M

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#15
I’m keeping the guy wire and block in place.

We talked about, but didn’t do, a technique to douse the Jin with cold water immediately after performing the bend. Supposedly, it’s supposed to set it.

Leaving the wet towel on for three days allowed the wood to absorb a good bit of water. It’s still cracked. Or rather, it split. And then, while sitting out in the sun the next day after the procedure, a new split appeared.

Now that it’s open to weather, (and watering) I figure the internal wood fibers will absorb some more water. Whether that’s a good thing or not, only time will tell.

I took the approach: “it will bend, or break. Either way, it’s an improvement!”
 

Adair M

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#16
I tried the steam bending thing this past Jan, just to try out the technique. It definitely loosened up the wood, but I also had similar experiences like @wireme. Over time it slowly returned to it's shape, not completely to the original position, but didn't stay as tight. Maybe I didn't leave it on long enough. I think for next time, I'm going to steam it longer and then leave it tied in the new position for a year or more.

View attachment 197449


You can see in the back of the tree how far it's bent back up this year...

View attachment 197450

I think it just needs to stay on longer... possibly with more pressure. @Adair M have you experiences the jins trying to return to their position?
Theta, correct me if I’m wrong,but your Jin appears to be freshly jinned. That is, you created the Jin by stripping the bark. The wood is still “green”.

My Jin was old deadwood. It was dead and dry when I first started working on the tree 4 years ago. And, from all appearances, it looked like it had been dead and dry for 20 to 50 years!

So, my deadwood bend will probably be different from a freshly created deadwood bend.
 
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#17
Yeah, it was freshly made. I'm sure that plays a part in all this too, didn't think about that. Hopefully that won't mean I'd have to keep a wire on it for 40 years!
 

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