Is re-using copper wire a dumb idea?

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#1
I'm kinda doing a 'winter styling' as I missed a styling-time and have a bunch of wire-bite so am removing wires & replacing them w/ new ones, however I've begun re-using the wire and am curious if anyone's tried this and found it to be a good/bad approach?

I'm re-using it in two ways, the first hasn't been that practical IMO and that's simply un-winding the wire while it's in-place (ie only doing 1 of the 2 wired-branches at a time), then re-wrapping it on the same branch only with the contact-areas being a few mm away from the old bites.

The 2nd way that I'm just starting to mess with this afternoon is an outright re-use, I've un-wound the wiring from a bunch of branches and skinned the insulation off of them, straightened them sufficiently and am about to anneal them- *this* feels like it could be an awesome way to reuse/save $ if you don't mind discounting the time stripping the wires (once "in your groove" it's incredibly fast, I did it while watching a couple car-mechanics youtubes that I was going to be watching anyways and just mindlessly removed insulation while doing so!)

I feel like this could be a great approach but if someone's tried it and found it futile I'd want to know before doing "round 2" (only got like 1/3 of the wire I had to remove yesterday), I typically don't anneal as I find the ductility of 'factory-annealled' (they anneal twice, FWIW) romex to be just fine for me on the first use, I leave the insulation on the strands that have it as it helps spread the load/contact-points on the branch when applied, once removed it's now too-stiff and stripping-insulation & annealing just seems proper!

Thanks a ton for any thoughts on this one!! Was going to try using a toaster oven but just re-checked my go-to annealing guide and was reminded just how hot these need to get so guess it's back to the bbq pit lol!!!

PS- In fear of being told this is completely stupid, my go-to article speaks of re-using as well so I can't imagine I'm the only to have considered it ;D I can go buy more romex, in fact I have to anyways, but like the idea of doing this in conjunction with fresh wire, I see it becoming a cycle of first-use = off-the-roll, second-use = stripped&annealled!
 
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#2
I’ve heard of people stripping insulation off of copper wire and then annealing it but not heard of people wiring trees with the insulation on the wire. Do you like looking at your trees with a bunch of colorful insulated wires on? I guess I can see the functionality of it, but bonsai is an aesthetic art form/craft and I don’t think I could stand to look at my trees with insulated wire on them. Lol.

Technically I think what you’re doing is fine since people strip insulation and anneal to make bonsai wire. I think the only difficulty would be straightening the wire enough that it wouldn’t cause problems. Also I would imagine it might be hard to find large gauge insulated wire? I don’t know though.

The first way you mentioned of just reapplying the same wire to the same branch is fine I think, and this technique was just show in a recent Mirai video actually.
 
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#3
If annealing wire successfully is wrong I don’t wanna be right.

Perhaps you could follow-up with what technique(s) led to success, didn’t, or could be improved?

I’ve had great success putting loose large hoop-spools into the built up coals of a fire -then retrieving them the next day.

Small tight hoops not so great. Also, make sure your wire is 100% copper and does not have some kind of steel core.
 
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#4
FWIW, for anyone interested in wire enough to have opened this thread in the 1st place, I'd love to hear your favorite videos for wiring-technique! I feel like I've passed the "basic comfort" level with wiring so at this point I think it's more just practice&experience but still find it useful to watch wiring videos before doing large sessions, my favorite is "How to wire a bonsai tree with Bonsai Master Mauro Stemberger-W25IEPnMIAU" but it's no longer on youtube (I'd ripped it so have an .mp4, was surprised to find I couldn't find it to link here, it's a great half-hour tutorial) Any 'advanced wiring tech' videos, not on unique/unusual wiring techniques but rather on the finer points & mastery of 'regular wiring', would be greatly appreciated! :)
 
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#5
FWIW, for anyone interested in wire enough to have opened this thread in the 1st place, I'd love to hear your favorite videos for wiring-technique! I feel like I've passed the "basic comfort" level with wiring so at this point I think it's more just practice&experience but still find it useful to watch wiring videos before doing large sessions, my favorite is "How to wire a bonsai tree with Bonsai Master Mauro Stemberger-W25IEPnMIAU" but it's no longer on youtube (I'd ripped it so have an .mp4, was surprised to find I couldn't find it to link here, it's a great half-hour tutorial) Any 'advanced wiring tech' videos, not on unique/unusual wiring techniques but rather on the finer points & mastery of 'regular wiring', would be greatly appreciated! :)
I don’t know if you subscribe to Mirai videos, but their wiring videos they put out this past fall were seriously fantastic. One video covering structural wiring and two videos covering secondary wiring. A few hours of content in total, super thorough. I highly recommend it, helped ckear up a lot of questions I had.
 

Bonsai Nut

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#6
It takes some extra effort, but there is nothing wrong with re-using copper wire if you know how to anneal it. Unwind it from the tree, hammer it straight, and then anneal it.
 

M. Frary

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#7
Re use that wire.
Pile it up and when you get a bunch toss it on a fire.
 
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#8
I’ve heard of people stripping insulation off of copper wire and then annealing it but not heard of people wiring trees with the insulation on the wire..
I've got a couple reasons for not doing it that way, firstly the insulation just obviously helps 'pad' the wire / spread the loading on the branch so that's a no-brainer IMO, also for wire right off the roll I'm already happy with its level of hardness, I wire it and then bend back&forth (I pre-bend the branches first of course) so that I can work-harden the bend into place, if I were to anneal fresh/new wiring then I'd just have to bend it that many more times ;)

The approach I'm testing here kind of just follows that, as once that wire has bitten and it's time to remove it, I used to just use steel nips and cut it off wrap-by-wrap but found I can just as easily un-wind it and, at that point, it's stiff / work-hardened as hell!!!! So, the idea is to then strip the insulation off the 2/3rds of my now-hard wires that have it (I use regular romex for 12 and 14g copper), bend-out the bad kinks, and re-anneal them!!

(many don't know but the rolls of Romex, off the shelf, have already been annealled >1 time on their way to the package, I do have strong grip-strength so maybe that's a factor but out-of-box 12g romex is plenty fine for me, not a pain to wire with it at all, 10g is tougher and I can only do a good job if it's a real open area, otherwise I like 10g re-annealed)




Do you like looking at your trees with a bunch of colorful insulated wires on? I guess I can see the functionality of it, but bonsai is an aesthetic art form/craft and I don’t think I could stand to look at my trees with insulated wire on them. Lol.
Two things, firstly- ouch! No, not truly taking the dig personally as I disagree with it, there's two reasons (well, two cases) that make me not care about colors (as well as an over-arcing principle that'd seal-the-deal regardless of the two aesthetic caveats I've got in response to your disapproval) One is that, yes, I do like looking at my trees w/ colorful wires!! I don't own a single bonsai tree, I've got like around a hundo trees but they're mostly 'pre-bonsai' (and some 'stock'), thus they're "in-development" and not on-display where aesthetics matter in that manner....I lost a lot of time in growing by trying to put form>function, for me it was using smaller/prettier containers instead of development/training boxes but in the same manner I find that w/ my # of trees it's simply easiest to have colorful wires because I'm more likely to see (and check!) them, extreme/bad wire-bite isn't a stranger in my garden unfortunately. Also, colorful wires can be beautiful (even w/o the extra-beautiful purple//gold look in the double-wired spots), this purple wire is just beautiful IMO:
a.png
[bonus-beauty: that's a "Purple Porterweed", unusual thing to dwarf of course lol but that was actually for someone - my first "for someone" creation actually - anyways it has purple flowers so it's even nicer when flowering :) ]

*BUT*, as my art is in-development, the reality is that the insulation is easier on the branches (ie you can do more bending w/ less stress due to the spread-load w/ the rubber) so in a strict form//function context, insulated=better, so, until I'm worrying about the finer details of finished specimen / 'real bonsai's', it's function > form all day! Plus, from a practicality perspective, I've just got so many trees that it can be messy and am constantly wiring, nothing's ever "in show condition" (sometimes I make something look nice for a short period for a particular reason but 99% of the time it's just development), but yeah some colored insulation doesn't really draw one's eye from the specimen when the following pic is considered "pretty neat/tidy" for the garden (seriously, unsure if that's an "lol" or "sadly" but it's the case!) Garden 'tidied-up' the other day so I could play some putt-putt out there:
20181217_131249.jpg


If you couldn't stand to see your trees with it then I'm presuming you're just a lot further along than I, heck I'm just past my 2yr mark right now, there's colaners and styro coolers for containers, zip ties & guy-wires all over the place for branches, I think it's beautiful but that's because they're mine and I see their potential, I see their current developmment stage as nothing more than a transition from the stumps I collected (or propagated) to the [hopefully!!]epic trees I'll have one day in the future!

Technically I think what you’re doing is fine since people strip insulation and anneal to make bonsai wire. I think the only difficulty would be straightening the wire enough that it wouldn’t cause problems. Also I would imagine it might be hard to find large gauge insulated wire? I don’t know though.

The first way you mentioned of just reapplying the same wire to the same branch is fine I think, and this technique was just show in a recent Mirai video actually.
Cool thanks! Glad to hear that the other approach, to just un-wind and re-wrap (but not in same bitten-grooves of course) has a Mirai approval-stamp, that's all the comfort I need for that thank you :D

Re straightening it, it's actually surprisingly simple to do once you get 'in the groove' and, once annealled, will be soft enough that any minor issues can be corrected or worked with or around. So far as insulated <12g wire (>12g? unsure on gauges!) with insulation, far less common....the type of work I do has me tearing-out stuff often enough that I do build-up scraps of insulated 10g and thicker cable (almost always just 10g though), that usually has been roughed-up enough that it's work-hardened and I have to strip & anneal before use, although if I don't have any of that on-hand I get it loose/bare from the per-foot spindle at home depot (and I go over to Hardware to grab a spool of bare...16g? 18g? One of the two, think it's 18g but definitely not thinner than that) 10g off the rolls from home depot doesn't get annealing before first-use for me although I don't use it *that* often and I've actually had another set of hands when doing a wiring job w/ the un-annealled 10g lol, it's a PITA but the strength of the wire is what's needed and you only get so much work-hardening by bending it once in-place, I think I maximize that by bending/un-bending in random angles to really stiffen / work-harden the copper before finally setting it!

One day I'll be taking more aesthetic considerations on wire but not yet, am thinking the end of next year's growing-season will have me with some real bonsai and a ton more "pre-bonsai//bonsai" level specimen :D
 
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#9
The problem with copper wire is it is a lot stiffer than aluminum. Consequently it can be more difficult to remove from branches withoout damaging them. I have not had any problems removing aluminum wire and reusing it, but it is easy to straighten with your hands in most sizes.

As for wiring, go Colin Lewis’ Craftsy website https://www.craftsy.com/gardening/classes/bonsai-wiring-essentials/35341. He has a great free 5 part video series on wiring that is excellent.
 
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#11
If annealing wire successfully is wrong I don’t wanna be right.

Perhaps you could follow-up with what technique(s) led to success, didn’t, or could be improved?
Haha there's something reallllly satisfying about annealing, so weird it's like mowing a lawn or something there's just an odd satisfaction to it! Ahh my first-ever anneal:
Freshly-Annealed Wiring.jpg
Unsure why but later sessions never left me with something so clean (not even close actually!), unsure what I did differently as I just get a hibachi or my fire-pit going and toss it in, let it get to red-hot glow for a lil bit, then take out and toss on the grass til it's ready to handle (quenching doesn't have relevant effect in this context, at least if you don't have the expensive equipment needed to hyper-cool it which is something a bucket of ice-water definitely does *not* do!)

I'm way over-due for a session so will definitely report back with anything I've forgotten (or learn today, I learn something almost every time as I can count the times I've annealed on one hand, in lots of cases I'm wasteful and just nip-off the old wire / put on fresh (off-the-spool) wire, want to stop doing that if I can re-use for all the good reasons behind re-using stuff :) )

I’ve had great success putting loose large hoop-spools into the built up coals of a fire -then retrieving them the next day.

Small tight hoops not so great. Also, make sure your wire is 100% copper and does not have some kind of steel core.
There should be zero reason to wait til the next day, when they're glowing red the crystals are re-aligning (and, thus, making it soft again) so from that point it's "done" and just a matter of getting it safe for use IE off the fire and cooled, you can toss them on the grass and grab them shortly thereafter when making sure your fire-pit / whatever is fully out, or you can dunk them in water and handle them immediately (I read that quenching in water helps reduce oxidation, will cool some on the grass today and quench others in water to see if there's a visible oxidation difference)

Re shape, I'd always done hoops that're between 6-12", just because that's what I'd seen, however this time I'll be doing more rods (well, lots of rods-with-1-center-bend, since I'm always wiring 2 branches with any given wire, so seems to make sense to anneal them as ready-to-use "V" shaped (only an even steeper angle than a V) rods so they're ready for use, just put the center of the V on wherever my 2-branches' center is and start wiring!
Making rolls automatically means doing some work-hardening just to un-roll it before wiring, this isn't a problem (for me at least) with 12g and thinner wires but with 10g it's definitely a lot easier to do a good job if you've annealed it and just have it as a straight-length that's ready to go on as-is and just be twisted-up!

[edited-in: BTW is there anything serious to worry about w/ steel-cored wire? Never even heard of it TBH, will check at H.Depot but 99% sure that their 10g (uninsulated) copper is pure, but if it had a steel core- so what? Is there any problems to be wary of, or you just mean that it'd essentially have the diameter-to-strength ratio of aluminum instead of copper? Will check out some of my 10g to see if I can find any examples of this, have some odd 10g pieces so very well could find it! Still can't think of a reason I wouldn't proceed w/ it as-normal, only using aluminum//branch ratios instead of copper//branch ratios]
 
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#12
The problem with copper wire is it is a lot stiffer than aluminum. Consequently it can be more difficult to remove from branches withoout damaging them. I have not had any problems removing aluminum wire and reusing it, but it is easy to straighten with your hands in most sizes.
That's not a "problem" it's just a facet of copper (IE I, preferring copper[for multiple reasons!], would say "The problem with aluminum wire is that it is a lot weaker than aluminum, not only in raw holding-power but the degree of work-hardening the metal exhibits, so is inherently inferior on that ground alone") To each their own! However, I can't pass-up a chance to try and push my copper-loving agenda so just consider this- removal shouldn't be significantly harder for either. That's assuming a premise, but it's an important one, which is that you're using the appropriate-strength wire & time-length to get the bends you want (typically, some level of visible biting - I understand there may be exceptions) In such a case, whether it's the slightly-thicker aluminum, or copper, in either case the strength of the wire against the tree should be the same and the rigidity of the wire upon un-winding should be the same (otherwise you're not comparing apples-to-apples IE you're comparing a tighter copper job to a looser aluminum job, if same strength - and needed-strength should be a given quantity based on the particular branch -then removal should be very similar in both cases) There's always just using nips to get it off, I've found the fastest way (if you don't care about re-using everything) to remove wire isn't un-winding or nipping, but a combination of both, IE nipping the tighter spots and un-winding the looser spots :)

As for wiring, go Colin Lewis’ Craftsy website https://www.craftsy.com/gardening/classes/bonsai-wiring-essentials/35341. He has a great free 5 part video series on wiring that is excellent.
Is there an easier way to access it than setting up the account / "buying" the free class? I've got it up & active in another tab - thanks a ton! - but just curious if there's a quicker way for others who may not watch it if it's not click&watch (surprised nobody ported it to youtube...says the guy who hasn't checked youtube ;P ) So far I've gotta say I'm happy to see c.lewis has a nice affect, have loved his writings but never saw him, some of the people who I've loved their writings turned out to be real surly or short when speaking which is a bit of a put-off (I bet one of them is such an obvious fit to that description that others know who I mean rofl, and no I won't confirm who I mean!) Again thanks, was just going to re-watch a vid while stripping this wire in front of me but now have a new video to see a new perspective (from someone I hold in higher regard, no less! Never heard of that Mauro guy, though the wiring vid *is* solid)
 
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#13
I wish BN let you edit indefinitely (not just that 10 or 20min window..)
Do you like looking at your trees with a bunch of colorful insulated wires on? I guess I can see the functionality of it, but bonsai is an aesthetic art form/craft and I don’t think I could stand to look at my trees with insulated wire on them. Lol.
This resonated with me more than I'd have guessed / I kept thinking about this... because I don't have finished bonsai's / am not "displaying" bonsai like that, but rather am developing bonsai, I actually find a certain aesthetic enhancement from the interventions!!! Colored wires, guy-wires, zip-ties....I'll often drill S-hook screws right into the heartwood of a chopped trunk, and into the perimeter of my boxes, to serve as anchor points for zip-ties and guy-wires and, honestly, given that I'm developing, it is aesthetically-pleasing to me!!!!
In the past week I've worked two trees, my ficus then one of my bougies (still working it ATM actually), on both I had to do some more 'radical' interventions and honestly I *like* how they look, for instance on the ficus I had to anchor the hell out of the primary leader to bring it over the center of the trunk, which I achieved by drilling into the trunk-chop for anchor and then using a load-spreader (cut-up pen) and beefy zip-tie to anchor it down, as right now I'm growing-out a very long leader both for taper and chop-wound-closure:
20181218_172129.jpg 20181218_172222.jpg
20181218_172156.jpg

Or the bougie I'm working on right now, some of the branches needed more than wire, sometimes if they're too-thick/lignified already I'll wire them as best I can and then use zip-ties to force the wiring a little further & retain it (this is after 'back&forthing" it to work-harden it into place of course)
20181226_121451.jpg

^would be remiss not to point out that this is the only deadwood jin w/ such beautiful thorns in my entire collection!! Looks like it could use some LS today though lol, actually that bark looks like it could use a scrub I may just re-pot him today as I know he's pot-bound (top-growth severely stunted)

Or this guy I did earlier in the year (and am removing the wiring from right now as it's bitten a bit too much, will be going in this afternoon's fire!)
20181225_172706.jpg

So yeah apples-to-oranges, in the same way I like the look of a colander on a rapidly-growing plant I like my interventions! You say "bonsai is an aesthetic art form" and that is accurate, I just don't have a garden of bonsai though, I've got a garden of stock & pre-bonsai so this is what looks good because it's what's right, because it's what eventually lands me in the spot of perfectly-placing my 16g copper on finely-ramified outer branches sometime down the road (though, living in FL and working w/ bougies & BC's, the growth-rate really helps you go further, quicker!)
 
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#15
That's not a "problem" it's just a facet of copper (IE I, preferring copper[for multiple reasons!], would say "The problem with aluminum wire is that it is a lot weaker than aluminum, not only in raw holding-power but the degree of work-hardening the metal exhibits, so is inherently inferior on that ground alone") To each their own! However, I can't pass-up a chance to try and push my copper-loving agenda so just consider this- removal shouldn't be significantly harder for either. That's assuming a premise, but it's an important one, which is that you're using the appropriate-strength wire & time-length to get the bends you want (typically, some level of visible biting - I understand there may be exceptions) In such a case, whether it's the slightly-thicker aluminum, or copper, in either case the strength of the wire against the tree should be the same and the rigidity of the wire upon un-winding should be the same (otherwise you're not comparing apples-to-apples IE you're comparing a tighter copper job to a looser aluminum job, if same strength - and needed-strength should be a given quantity based on the particular branch -then removal should be very similar in both cases) There's always just using nips to get it off, I've found the fastest way (if you don't care about re-using everything) to remove wire isn't un-winding or nipping, but a combination of both, IE nipping the tighter spots and un-winding the looser spots :)


Is there an easier way to access it than setting up the account / "buying" the free class? I've got it up & active in another tab - thanks a ton! - but just curious if there's a quicker way for others who may not watch it if it's not click&watch (surprised nobody ported it to youtube...says the guy who hasn't checked youtube ;P ) So far I've gotta say I'm happy to see c.lewis has a nice affect, have loved his writings but never saw him, some of the people who I've loved their writings turned out to be real surly or short when speaking which is a bit of a put-off (I bet one of them is such an obvious fit to that description that others know who I mean rofl, and no I won't confirm who I mean!) Again thanks, was just going to re-watch a vid while stripping this wire in front of me but now have a new video to see a new perspective (from someone I hold in higher regard, no less! Never heard of that Mauro guy, though the wiring vid *is* solid)
I was referring to the problem of copper being more difficult to remove because of the hardness. I doubt there is a way to access the vodeo without registering—after all they want to be able to sell you on other purchases and this is one way to do it. I have been thinking about looking at his other video on bonsai, so maybe their approach works.
 
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#17
no clue I could just toss old wire on my charcoal grill. Very good to know
 

coh

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#18
The only thing that seems like a bad idea to me in your process is your “back and forth” work hardening in place technique. And I don’t understand when you say you pre-bend the branches first? That whole part in post 8 doesn’t make sense to me.
That sounds like a result of using wire that is too small to hold the branch in question, so he has to bend it back and forth to further harden the wire. As opposed to using the right size and having it hold after just one bend...maybe?
 

Adair M

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#19
All I can say is you have gone into a long and detailed explanation of why you have to overcompensate for doing something half-assed.

As an earlier post just said, you are using wire that’s too small for the job.

Now, as to whether you can re-use copper... of course you can! You just need to anneal it after it’s been removed and straightened.

Remax wire is annealed, but not nearly as well as the bonsai guys do. You THINK you know what you’re talking about, but, sadly, you’ve deluded yourself.

1). Re: Craftsy... yes, you have to register. But, no, they don’t pester you to buy stuff. The reason they ask for a registration is so that people WON’T steal their stuff and post it on YouTube!

2). You said that you spin off wires where it’s loose, but cut it off where it’s tight. Well, Dude, that’s EXACTLY backwards!

3). The easy way to straighten out wire that’s been used is to grab each end with a pair a pliers. Then bring both hands in front of your chest, and abruptly jerk your hands out wide at chest level. The wire will be straight! Now anneal it.

4). When annealing fresh copper, use coils as large as is convenient for you. Or, as large a coil diameter as you can anneal. This makes for less bending when you are selecting some as you use it.

5). When annealing re-used copper, many people leave it straight, and then anneal it. They store the annealed pieces of wire in tubes made from PVC plumbing pipe.

6). Romex is available in only limited gauges at HD and Lowe’s. Check on-line to buy coils of bare copper. Saves you time and money stripping off the insulation.

7). Honestly, aluminum is usually used for tropicals rather than copper. Yes, the wire is fatter. Fatter wire cuts in less than thin.

8). One strand of properly sized wire holds better than two double strands of undersized wires, and cots less, too.

9). If you used heavy aluminum, after use you would just straighten as described above, and you wouldn’t have to anneal.

10). Using insulated wire is fooling you. Since the insulation makes the wire look bigger than it really is, you’re using wire that’s too small to do the job effectively. Therefore you double up, try to soften the branches, try to work harden the wire, etc.

11). Some of your wiring looks ok, some of it sux. Watching colin’s Craftsy class should help you a lot.

12). Using zip ties, props and stuff can be helpful, when used appropriately. The traditional methods are using guy wires, rebar and jacks. I guess it’s up to you if you want your trees to look nice and tidy or redneck.

13). Stainless steel wire is strong but very stiff. Thin pieces of SS can be used for guywires.

14) use of screws for anchors for guywires. We usually use SS screws. They don’t react or rust in the tree.

15). And finally, wiring is part of the art of bonsai. Many trees will always have some wire. It’s not something that’s done once or twice, then the wire is removed forever. No, wire is placed, the tree grows, the wire is removed. Sometimes the curve holds, sometimes not. So, a rewire is probably required. But at any rate, NEW growth will need to be wired into position. Every time the tree grows, it may require wire to position that growth. So, even finished trees may be wired. Doing it properly will not draw attention to it. The only way to get good at it is by actively try to do it as well as possible at all times.
 

just.wing.it

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#20
All I can say is you have gone into a long and detailed explanation of why you have to overcompensate for doing something half-assed.

As an earlier post just said, you are using wire that’s too small for the job.

Now, as to whether you can re-use copper... of course you can! You just need to anneal it after it’s been removed and straightened.

Remax wire is annealed, but not nearly as well as the bonsai guys do. You THINK you know what you’re talking about, but, sadly, you’ve deluded yourself.

1). Re: Craftsy... yes, you have to register. But, no, they don’t pester you to buy stuff. The reason they ask for a registration is so that people WON’T steal their stuff and post it on YouTube!

2). You said that you spin off wires where it’s loose, but cut it off where it’s tight. Well, Dude, that’s EXACTLY backwards!

3). The easy way to straighten out wire that’s been used is to grab each end with a pair a pliers. Then bring both hands in front of your chest, and abruptly jerk your hands out wide at chest level. The wire will be straight! Now anneal it.

4). When annealing fresh copper, use coils as large as is convenient for you. Or, as large a coil diameter as you can anneal. This makes for less bending when you are selecting some as you use it.

5). When annealing re-used copper, many people leave it straight, and then anneal it. They store the annealed pieces of wire in tubes made from PVC plumbing pipe.

6). Romex is available in only limited gauges at HD and Lowe’s. Check on-line to buy coils of bare copper. Saves you time and money stripping off the insulation.

7). Honestly, aluminum is usually used for tropicals rather than copper. Yes, the wire is fatter. Fatter wire cuts in less than thin.

8). One strand of properly sized wire holds better than two double strands of undersized wires, and cots less, too.

9). If you used heavy aluminum, after use you would just straighten as described above, and you wouldn’t have to anneal.

10). Using insulated wire is fooling you. Since the insulation makes the wire look bigger than it really is, you’re using wire that’s too small to do the job effectively. Therefore you double up, try to soften the branches, try to work harden the wire, etc.

11). Some of your wiring looks ok, some of it sux. Watching colin’s Craftsy class should help you a lot.

12). Using zip ties, props and stuff can be helpful, when used appropriately. The traditional methods are using guy wires, rebar and jacks. I guess it’s up to you if you want your trees to look nice and tidy or redneck.

13). Stainless steel wire is strong but very stiff. Thin pieces of SS can be used for guywires.

14) use of screws for anchors for guywires. We usually use SS screws. They don’t react or rust in the tree.

15). And finally, wiring is part of the art of bonsai. Many trees will always have some wire. It’s not something that’s done once or twice, then the wire is removed forever. No, wire is placed, the tree grows, the wire is removed. Sometimes the curve holds, sometimes not. So, a rewire is probably required. But at any rate, NEW growth will need to be wired into position. Every time the tree grows, it may require wire to position that growth. So, even finished trees may be wired. Doing it properly will not draw attention to it. The only way to get good at it is by actively try to do it as well as possible at all times.
I want this post immortalized here in Bnut!
 

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