Bending a bonsai branch

In this post we will be talking about raffia and how you can use it to bend branches in to to your bonsai tree.

 What is raffia?

Reffia is basically a natural current fiber that comes from a palm tree.

 We’re concerned about it is protecting the cambium layer on our branches so what we’re going to do is we’re going to use this to wrap it around the branches, so we can protect the layer when we do heavy branchs.

Raffia starts outlooking like this:


Usually you can buy it like this it comes in the big roll pack so what we’re going to do is we’re going to take this big roll thing of raffia here and we’re going to separate them into strands.

We’re going to take out little strands like this one by one just like this and the goal of this is just to create a thicker strand that we can wrap around the branches.

 What we do is depending on the thickness of the branch and how heavy the bend is, how thick we’re going to make this grouping

I’ve got four or five strands here together, this is too thin so we’re gonna keep on going and I’ll just go keep on picking at this until this bumble here.

 I’m going add one by one take thin ones. I’m gonna get a little bigger, probably got about 15 strands. If you’ve got a thicker branch that you need to bend you’re gonna have to go a little bit thicker that way you can really protect the branch that you’re wrapping it around that you’replanning on bending.

it’s really strong together.If you have only one, it’s gonna tear but if you got a grouping of them it’s gonna be really strong.

What we’re going to do is one to tie them together.  Come on take one strand and wrap it around the end and we just go tighten up. We get tight double knot because we want to make sure that doesn’t slip away.

Cut the excess with my shears. Now it looks all nice and organized.

 I’ve got this whole strand so what I’m going to do is I’m basically going to wrap this around the branches i want to bend.

The first thing I have to do is soak this because the raffia is much stronger when it’s wet

I’m going to put my little bundle in water for a few minutes.

 the raffia has soaked for a little bit, we can take them out and it shouldn’t tangle so now I’m just gonna lay them on the table

You don’t want them fully soaking when you’re working on it so let’s get just let this drain.

I’m going to apply some raffia to a branch just to illustrate I use it and how to bend a little thicker branch that maybe you wouldn’t want to do with just wire and you want to protect it so you want a little bit of insurance.

With raffia you can bend a branch without worrying that you’re going to kill the branch. I’m gonna apply it to this one just for illustration purposes so you guys can see how to use the raffia once you prep the raffia how you can use it on your branch

 Make sure that you have a very very tight wrap around the area you want bend so start the raffia on that side and you just go around the branch.

raffia for bending a branch

Take the whole strand and go around the branch what you’ll actually do is you will end up wrapping so if you pull the whole strand you’ll be wrapping it over the raffia the end of the round so that way it keeps a thing and then you just kind of wrap it so once it’s locked in place.

You can continue to move up a tree and you will get dirty during this process get it really tight and if you see that since we use the full strand then we use the bundle here it’s got really wide sort of surface area for you to wrap the branch stay right there now we’re going to find out where that branch is is this one right here sowe’re going to weave through some of these branches because those branches we’re not concerned with we’re just concerned with that that one in the middle so that you just slowly get the wrap make sure you don’t actually put branches out because the wrap you will get stuck on a lot of stuff type the whole way okay and you can see that it’s wrapping around that branch so we’ve around the branches probably the hardest part is that we round the branches

You can see that I’m wrapping this branch this one righ there that one right there and I’m basically creating a flat flattening out the raffia and just going around it slow and I’m only concerned about that one branch so now this is actually a thinner branch you can use this technique on very thick branches

This one just want to illustrate how to use it so that way you can start tousing it you can start to use it immediately so see I create that nice little flat segment right there there you go so this is the part that was about bended now I’m gonna assume that we’re just gonna bend it down just for illustration purposes today we’re justgonna Bend this one down so that’s thepart it’s the dangerous spot yeah get every strand you see tight you can see it’s almost like a little band it turn around wait on the branch right there it’s extremely dirty keep going now at this point if some ofthe rapids they’ll be shorter than the others that’s okay just wrap it and then wrap over it on the next one so that it looks like really nice clean bandage flat there

you can see how it’s very secured and it’s protecting a campaign really really well so you keep going upit’s like that so at this point this isthe dangerous part right here and I’ve already got that we wrapped it really well we can keep on going up since I got raffia left if I decide to make more bands higher coordination so I’m not pending on two major bends up into this area

I can actually stop it now okay so right here just finish this outzoomed up a little bit I’ll just eat onemore round okay so now here’s the trick okay let me tie it I want to take two strands one in each in and spin them around each other okay maybe two times just like that do around it you twist it and come around like this and just hang out and just try to tie that tie the knot right there.

knot the raffia

it’s really tight do one more time just grab furiously just cutoff all the excess hair

bonsai raffia for bending a branch

now if you’vegot your knots tied there it won’t slipso you’ll be in good shape now this branch right here is now completely protective sight come in here I can bend this down really aggressively because I know at this point right here where it’s connected if it’s this branch it’s connected to that primary branch right there this one so this branch right here is the neck to that primary branch and it’s it’s very very strong and even if I snap it so even if I break it the cambium is going to be protected at that branch to survive that’s the wonderful thing about using raffia let’s see

now I can bend this one all the way down now I’m supporting because the danger spot is right here that’s the break spot so that’s why I’m keeping my finger right there but you can see you can bend this down really far as long as you support it right there just because of that raffia so you can see it again that’s where it is and if now I can bendit down really far and it won’t have an issue now the breaking points will beright there but if I’ve got the raffia tied on there really tight then I know it’s not gonna break

wire for bonsai branch

but at this point you can see that you know if I since I put the raffia for bonsai out there I can bend this parish and put any spot I want I’vegot a giant seven wire on here you can see that that’s pretty thick so you want to make sure that you use when you use them somewhere that you have a very verygood manner that means that will not move will not budge at all applying this sometimes you gotta break out some other tools here so that you can get this anchor down really jin pliers are avery good way of doing it

bending a bonsai branch

so now you can see that I can take thisbranch and I can bend and I’ve got the wire right over the danger spot because that’s where it would break now you can see then you can bend that down pretty far with just the wire now if I wanted to go further I can guy-wire get down even further but this was just a little straight what you can do with the raffia and some thick wire so you can kind of tell that if you’re trying to bend something further down and you really were kind of worried about it worried about whether or not it would break you can use raffia to create that banner and then over time we’ll just set in this position so afterwards you can remove the wire with raffia and your branch will just be in that position

branch bended with raffia

so I’veseen a lot of people use different materials to do this I’ve seen them use burlap rope or some grafting tape but the overall goal is the same it’s to protect the cambium so that way if you protect the cambium and you accidentally break the branch while doing the bend they’ll prevent it from chewing a bridge all right so hopefully you guys enjoyed that post.