Wire: Copper vs. Aluminum

shohin kid

Shohin
Messages
271
Reaction score
0
Location
New Haven, CT
USDA Zone
7a
Hey Everyone,
I was wondering your wire prefrences. Do you like copper wire or aluminum wire???
 

DaveV

Shohin
Messages
408
Reaction score
54
Location
Nebraska
USDA Zone
5a
I like to use aluminum wire since it is easier for me to wrap around branches and kinder to my finger tips. Since I do not have to use as much force when applying the wire, I think its probably safer for my trees.

Dave V.
 

Mortalis

Yamadori
Messages
98
Reaction score
0
Location
Texas
Myself I anneal my own copper wire. With smaller gauges I don't even bother to anneal.. My source for wire? The local hardware store.. With my smaller gauges I sometimes don't even strip the plastic off. Yeah yeah.. it does not matter I'm not going to show it that way.. :p
 

Paul H.

Seedling
Messages
24
Reaction score
0
aluminum it's cheaper ....that why
 

meushi

Mame
Messages
186
Reaction score
97
Location
French Ardennes
USDA Zone
8
Do you like copper wire or aluminum wire???

Do you prefer walking with your left foot or your right foot?

Copper and aluminum are sort of complementary, they serve variations of the same purpose. I like copper for its strength necessary for some conifers or from a certain size onwards, I like aluminum for its ease of application. If you buy them in large rolls and shop around, they roughly cost the same anyways... if you anneal yourself, copper is actually cheaper than anodized aluminum.
 

Glider

Yamadori
Messages
68
Reaction score
0
Location
London
Aluminium, but mainly because half my trees are azaleas. Copper tends to be more effective, gauge for gauge, as it's stronger than aluminium, but aluminium is kinder on very thin barked trees such as azalea.

Using aluminium, you have to use a thicker gauge to achieve the same bending power that a thinner gauge copper wire would provide. This means that with aluminium, the actual contact area with the bark is broader, so less force per unit area is applied to the bark (i.e. it's a bit gentler), so I use aluminium wire on all my trees to save me having to buy essentially the same sets of wire twice.
 
Messages
1,773
Reaction score
14
Location
Ottawa, KS
USDA Zone
6
Also consider that using copper on conifers gives better hold for a longer period of time. Many conifers are slower to add girth to their branches, so the wire will be able to stay on longer. They tend to want to spring back a bit and could use a longer period with wire on them. We try not to scar deciduous trees too badly in most cases, and since many of them grow much more quickly than some conifers, the wire won't stay on as long.

Each has its strong points for particular uses, and a well-rounded bonsaiist should learn to use both properly.

Chris
 

JasonG

Chumono
Messages
786
Reaction score
16
Location
NW Oregon
If I had my way I would use copper for everything! I love copper when annealed properly. I get mine from Jim Gremel and have to say it goes on like butter.

Like everyone has said, copper is much stronger than aluminum and when workign on pines, Junipers and other conifers it is nice to have that extra strength to help hold and set branches. Plus sometimes you have to bend a big heavy branch and only copper will have the strength to work as a guy wire.

I use aluminum only on decidous trees because of the thin barks and it is easier to take off, unwind, than the copper.

For anything other than a decidous tree I will only use copper and am using copper to tie in most trees to the pots now. It is much stronger and easier to work with.

Once you use copper that properly annealed it is very easy to use and fun to work with.
 

shohin kid

Shohin
Messages
271
Reaction score
0
Location
New Haven, CT
USDA Zone
7a
I have always used aluminum wire myself because it was easier to use. I am thinking that in the future I will try to use more and more copper wire on my trees.
 

rockm

Imperial Masterpiece
Messages
9,683
Reaction score
12,474
Location
Fairfax Va.
USDA Zone
7
Copper--yeah, sure

I love copper too, but it's a pain to either get yourself and anneal it, or find an economical supplier with cheap shipping--copper also weighs more than aluminum...

Aluminum wire is available at just about any big nursery that sells houseplants and mallsai.
 

JasonG

Chumono
Messages
786
Reaction score
16
Location
NW Oregon
I love copper too, but it's a pain to either get yourself and anneal it, or find an economical supplier with cheap shipping--copper also weighs more than aluminum...

Aluminum wire is available at just about any big nursery that sells houseplants and mallsai.

Tom Brown at Shady Side bonsai is near you (compared to Gremel) and has double annealed wire that is pretty good stuff too. I have used it and it is nice. Just a thought :)
 

meushi

Mame
Messages
186
Reaction score
97
Location
French Ardennes
USDA Zone
8
copper also weighs more than aluminum...

I usually buy the 1kg rolls for both aluminum and copper as it is way cheaper than buying small quantities in the end (aluminum 100g is $5.95, 1Kg is $22.95). The price difference between aluminum and copper wire is amazing in the US, $30 extra for 1Kg copper. My supplier in Germany charges a 5 euro extra for copper.

If you are patient, you can also order a complete set of wire from Japan and get it delivered seamail. The price difference makes it worth waiting.
 

rockm

Imperial Masterpiece
Messages
9,683
Reaction score
12,474
Location
Fairfax Va.
USDA Zone
7
Thanks Jason

I've bought from Tom and Julian Adams too. I really like their wire and buy it at the Potomac Bonsai Show in DC almost every year --to avoid shipping all together. :)
 

Similar threads

Top Bottom