Vitis/Grape Bonsai Deadwood Carving

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This Vitis/Grapevine bonsai came to me during May 2019 for carving. A large, old vine purchased from a garden centre, the tree had a height of 36"/91cm with an impressive 5"/12cm diameter trunkbase.

Vitis/Grape Bonsai Deadwood Carving

Vitis/Grape Bonsai Deadwood Carving

Vitis/Grape Bonsai Deadwood Carving

As can be seen in the images before work began, the tree already had some deadwood, was completely hollow and had good trunk movement. One problem that had to be addressed immediately was the forked-trunk. Looking much like a slingshot, one side or the other had to go and was sawn off!

Vitis/Grape Bonsai Deadwood Carving

Vitis/Grape Bonsai Deadwood Carving

After chopping the second trunk and then carefully brushing off the loose bark to help me find the live vein using a brass brush. As with old Juniper bonsai, Grape develop distinct live veins that meander their way up the trunk. The exterior of deadwood is very hard after many years of exposure to the hot Italian sun!

Vitis/Grape Bonsai Deadwood Carving

After 7 hours of work. First with power tools to shape the old second trunk, followed by a combination of wire brushes and a gas-torch, a dremel and a knife. For more details, please see the video at the foot of the page.

Vitis/Grape Bonsai Deadwood Carving

The flow of the live vein makes this the best front, however, I prefer the deadwood on the opposite view (see images below). The owner will need to choose which is his preferred front-view!

Vitis/Grape Bonsai Deadwood Carving

The styling of the branches will be straight forward; a natural weeping style that will allow the flowers and grapes to cascade.

Vitis/Grape Bonsai Deadwood Carving

Detail of the aged, cracked wood on the tree. Although I cleaned this area, great care was taken not to damage it. It is virtually impossible to replicate natural deadwood by hand, or by machine.

Vitis/Grape Bonsai Deadwood Carving

A recording of the whole styling process condensed into 3 minutes. All recorded on the fly on an iPhone X, my apologies for the quality!