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Bonsai Wire - Copper Or Aluminum?
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Bonsai Wire - Copper Or Aluminum?

Bonsai wire is one of those things that all Bonsai enthusiasts will need. If you don't have wire (and can't wire a tree) then you will have to wait for the tree to do what it wants to do, rather then what you want it to do. 99 times out of 100 the tree will not do what you want it to do, and as such you will need to buy some wire.

You can get wire down at your hardwired shop, but buying specialist wire on the internet will mean that you have more options and a wire that has been designed for use on Bonsai trees.

When buying Bonsai wire you will have several options on what you are buying, but the main one is between aluminum or copper wire. These two wires are primarily what you will use. There is a difference as well.

Aluminum often tends to be easier to use the the copper wire. Aluminum is softer and easier to bend into position. Also, if you make a mistake it's relatively simple to bend back into what you want. Copper wire is a lot stronger but is used more by experts who know what they are doing. You will find that aluminum is usually the better option for you.

Wire comes in difference thickness or 'gauges'. The idea here is to try and get a thickness that is roughly 1/3 of the size of the branch that you will be wiring. This is just a rule of thumb - if it's more or less don't be too concerned. I would suggest that you err on the side of caution and go for a smaller gauge if you are debating between two sizes. If your wire is too thin for what you want it to do you will find that you can simply double back on yourself and make the wire stronger.

Once your wire has been on a tree for a while you will need to remove it. I highly recommend a pair of Bonsai wire cutters since these make it easy to get the wire off the tree. The branches tend to grow around the wire and it can make it tricky to remove properly. Some hardened people like to uncoil their wire from the tree so they can use it again. If you're using aluminum, this won't be too hard. Don't bother with copper as it's far too easy to get kinks that won't come out.

If you are going to un coil the wire from the tree, be extremely careful. It's far too easy to damage your tree by enthusiastic coiling. Be careful, and when in doubt, cut it.

Over all, Bonsai wire is up to you. If you're a beginner, aluminum is much easier to use and many experts will use it as well as it is a hang of a lot easier to work with then copper. That said, there is a joy in working with copper. It has a nicer colour as well.

* image by Flickr user quinn.anya


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