Here’s the tree I teased with in the last article. That’s how it looked two years ago in this post. I got the tree from Mary Madison, one of the best yamadori collectors in Florida. It was brought to my attention by a guy who used to be a friend but somehow, he and I aren’t anymore. Which is sad, really. It was bonsai politics that ruined our friendship. I could write a three part treatise on the deleterious effects of politics on the bonsai community. But I won’t. It’s not worth the space or the time. To quote Paul Pikel,
“I just want to work on my trees.”
With that said, here is the tree today. I know, I know, I’ve kinda neglected it. You can see why the buttonwood’s botanical name is conocarpus erectus. No, not because it has hard wood, but, if allowed to grow, it grows straight. I need to get the branching back closer to the trunk.
First, I need to carve the two cut ends and blend new carving with the old deadwood.
The tools I prefer to use for finish carving are:
A flex shaft carver (I use the Mastercarver brand)
I use a small rotosaw carbide wheel… …..and a flame shaped bit. They’re both a little gummed up at the moment but they still work. If you want to read about all the carving tools I use, click here.
The burning and then brushing of the wood enhances the natural grain (the grain is made up of hard and soft layers, the soft layer burns first and the wire brush removes it. Basically mimicking how the wood would decay naturally).
It depends on what the tree does.
This tree is so unique, to me it looks like a dragon swooping down, like Smaug, about to rain fire upon the hapless inhabitants of Laketown.
Thank you, my former friend, for letting me know (even though we had stopped being friends at that point) about this special buttonwood. I think this could be one of my masterpiece works.
And thank you Mary for being you. You are one of the great ones.