Carving interesting deadwood into a buttonwood

This is the second tree I carved at my friend Bobby’s house, it’s a buttonwood.
20130528-132034.jpg
When one thinks of buttonwood one thinks deadwood.
Most buttonwood bonsai we see have been collected from the wild, more specifically, in the Florida Keys. Unfortunately, those trees are a limited resource. Development of the Florida shore is the main culprit.
What is the solution?
Buttonwood can be grown quickly. Why not do what the Taiwanese are doing with Shimpaku juniper and create an aged looking tree without having to harvest them from the wild?
There are too many oldsters who say it can’t be done.
I’m not old. Here we go.
This tree was collected from the wild (boy, is my face red)
20130528-132857.jpg
but not from The Keys. It was from the middle of the East Coast.
The range of the buttonwood goes from The Keys up to Cape Canaveral on the east and to about Tampa on the west.
The further north from the Keys you go the better and healthier the buttonwood grows. They will get as thick as oak trees (though not as tall) in an ideal environment. They really struggle in The Keys.
This tree has dieback areas but needs just a little tweaking to improve it.
It looks like it could have been nursery grown though. That’s what is important.
This is the right side trunk
20130528-141728.jpg
And this is the left side trunk
20130528-141837.jpg
The only natural dead wood is in the back. This will be the inspiration for the “look” of the carving
20130528-142050.jpg
It has points and hollows.
This piece is in question
20130528-142304.jpg
It may not stay.
So the idea is to give some movement and interest to this deadwood (right)
20130528-143541.jpg
It has a curve but can it have more?
I could easily carve a spiral into it like the last tree had done to it (the podocarpus)
20130528-143916.jpg
But I don’t think that fits the character of this tree.
And so I begin
20130528-165232.jpg
I’ve shown the technique before on how to create a movement in a straight branch so I won’t repeat myself. I’ll tell the story mostly with pics.
Left side beginning
20130528-165514.jpg
First pass
20130528-165610.jpg
Right side second pass
20130528-165743.jpg
And that little, middle dealio
20130528-165903.jpg
We are still not convinced about it.
We shall see.
At this point it looks ok.
20130528-170347.jpg
But I’m going pull out all the stops. Here comes the drill
20130528-170524.jpg
Lets see what I can do with this baby
20130528-170710.jpg
A drill bit makes a conspicuously round hole. Make sure you elongate them and generally make them irregular (the technical term is ream)
20130528-170834.jpg
20130528-171054.jpg

20130528-171128.jpg
20130528-171143.jpg
And you don’t need too many holes. Or you need a lot.
One of the two.
And of course I used a wire brush to finish it off and give the grain a little help being noticed.
And here it is:
20130528-171459.jpg
Oh..! What did we do with that skinny appendage?
We decided to neuter it
20130528-171616.jpg
And some detail shots for those clamoring for them
20130528-171749.jpg
20130528-171826.jpg
A shot with my hand in it. Because it needs to be there. Otherwise the post is just not up to standards
20130528-172003.jpg
The before!
20130528-172055.jpg
And the after!
20130528-172133.jpg
It just needs some wire and growth.

Thank you Bobby, my friend, for letting me carve some of your trees.
And to answer the question (from Nick, Dave, Guaracha, Jerry and everyone else)
Lime sulfur can be applied now to this tree.

About adamaskwhy

Visual artist specializing in bonsai, mostly.
This entry was posted in carving, sculpture, styling bonsai and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Carving interesting deadwood into a buttonwood

  1. Rick Jeffery says:

    nice job

  2. It doesn’t look carved, and that’s the point, eh? LIke it a lot!!

  3. I love the carving. I wish I could grow buttonwood up here. I’ve thought about buying a little one as an experiment to see how they overwinter indoors under lights. I have yet to hear about anyone doing it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s