Bonsai Study Group Forum

General Category => General Bonsai Discussion => Topic started by: BonsaiEngineer1493 on December 27, 2013, 06:44 PM

Title: Aluminum Wire
Post by: BonsaiEngineer1493 on December 27, 2013, 06:44 PM
I noticed home depot sells aluminum wire so I was wondering if it is a good idea to buy from there. I usually buy from hollow creek bonsai. Where do you guys purchase your wire? of course I still need to compare prices

Nick
Title: Re: Aluminum Wire
Post by: PT on December 27, 2013, 07:37 PM
I got an 80 foot piece of 18 strand aluminum wire for free from a buddy that does electrical work.  When uncoiled the strands are about 2mm.  Its great for trees in training because its easy to see which trees have wire on them. 
Title: Re: Aluminum Wire
Post by: Sorce on December 27, 2013, 08:52 PM
I like that. I found a bunch of copper strands about 2 feet long. And keep anything that will work.

Just make sure it doesn't have anything that will react to any saps and kill your tree.

I think Junipers are this way with nickel or iron.



Someone else should know better, research it first.

Sorce
Title: Re: Aluminum Wire
Post by: PT on December 27, 2013, 09:46 PM
I don't know about iron or steel wire for branches on junipers, but Naka put nails in the soil to add iron. Other people use chelated iron for junipers as well.
Title: Re: Aluminum Wire
Post by: John Kirby on December 28, 2013, 07:40 AM
Don't use Galvanized wire. Steel/Stainless Steel wire is fine.
Title: Re: Aluminum Wire
Post by: Jay on December 28, 2013, 02:38 PM
Some idyl thoughts.... Or at least mine.
You will start wiring on young trees. In a few years your trees will progress and their quality and value will be better.
Wiring is extremely important. Working with wire isn't easy for some. Different type of wire can create issues if you are not use to working with it.

Soooooo..... Why not work with Bonsai wire from the start. Copper (annealed) is the gold standard. It is harder to work with but it will hold much better. Do you want to wait till you have trees of value to learn?

Again just my thoughts
Jay
Title: Re: Aluminum Wire
Post by: Judy on December 28, 2013, 04:35 PM
And there is a learning curve for sure between alum. and copper.  I've done just fine with alum, but switched to copper for my pines this year.  There is quite a difference.  I will stay with alum for my D trees, unless I have a big bend to make.
Title: Re: Aluminum Wire
Post by: BonsaiEngineer1493 on December 28, 2013, 05:07 PM
Jay and Judy, I only worked with aluminum wire I purchased from Hollow Creek Bonsai. I was just wondering if I could just hop into my car to go to home depot instead of ordering it online.
Title: Re: Aluminum Wire
Post by: Jay on December 28, 2013, 05:18 PM
As far as I know, Home Depot does not carry bonsai type wire.
Perhaps others can Fill you in on other options
Title: Re: Aluminum Wire
Post by: Owen Reich on December 28, 2013, 05:49 PM
Jim Gremel has the best annealed copper wire available; especially for larger diameter.  His company is called Deer Meadow Bonsai.  Suggest a cooperative buy amongst a group of people to reach his minimum order for free shipping (like $330) http://www.jimgremel.com/copperwire2106.html (http://www.jimgremel.com/copperwire2106.html).

Julian Adams also anneals his own copper wire and he sells smaller roll sizes.  His smaller annealed copper detail wire is also good http://www.adamsbonsai.com/adamsbonsi2013_008.htm (http://www.adamsbonsai.com/adamsbonsi2013_008.htm). 

I get my aluminum wire from Brussel's Bonsai.  My hands have protested the use of Stone Lantern's copper.  If you buy it or already have some, I suggest reannealing it especially for the larger diameter sizes. 

I've seen an increase in availability of aluminum wire from China that has a brown to yellow hue.  I'm not sure if there is a difference, but I do not use it.  If anyone else has experience with it please let me know. 
Title: Re: Aluminum Wire
Post by: Anthony on December 28, 2013, 06:11 PM
Owen,

you might have seen some Jewellery wire. The Chinese sell coloured aluminium and coloured copper, to look like silver or rich gold.
I have used the aluminium coloured type for simple wiring, I think at 16 gage. The colour fades a bit, but it is a coloured plastic coating.

Once again. Any jeweller can draw scrap copper back into wire, and anneal it for you.
Good Day
Anthony
Title: Re: Aluminum Wire
Post by: M. Frary on December 29, 2013, 12:21 AM
  I get all of my wire at my local hardware. I use the stuff for wiringhouses with. It comes in all sizes. But it is insulated. I have an old grill I get a fire going in and throw the wire right on the grate. When the insulation is all burned off I take it off and toss it in a bucket of water to cool it and wash the residue off. Much cheaper than ordering "Bonsai wire". Copper wire iis copper wire.

  Thank you
 Michael Frary
Title: Re: Aluminum Wire
Post by: Judy on December 29, 2013, 08:26 AM
  My hands have protested the use of Stone Lantern's copper.  If you buy it or already have some, I suggest reannealing it especially for the larger diameter sizes.   


Sorry Owen :-[ :-[ :'(  
I did buy a bunch of Gremel copper wire, and it is the stuff for sure.  Live and learn....
As far as alum, I used to buy from the monks, but they don't do online anymore.  There's an ebay store that sells pots and wire called Oriental arts and furniture that has good alum.  I got my last batch from Stone Lantern, didn't get the more expensive kind, but the regular quality is ok.  Maybe I'll try the Yoshi type next time and see what the difference is from the Bonsai Aesthetics wire. The aesthetics seems to lighten up in color somewhat after a while on the tree.
Title: Re: Aluminum Wire
Post by: Jay on December 29, 2013, 09:34 AM
Michael, there is annealed copper an d then there is annealed copper. Yes you can do your own ..... But... You have to do it correctly. It needs to be brought to a certain temp for a certain length of time. So, read up and make sure you do it correctly.

So, copper wire is copper wire.... But, annealed copper can be tricky.

Jay
Title: Re:
Post by: Joshua Hanzman on December 29, 2013, 11:25 AM
I have used the alum from stone lantern for a while and was just thinking i liked it, but then realized it's all i know so i have no right to make a comparison. I encourage other beginners to explore other options as well if they have only tried one. Inasmuch, I'm willing to jump in for a group purchase from jim gremel, or if anyone knows a place that sells copper wire (non annealed) for cheap i would be interested in that as well as i have access to high temperature ovens which can be used to anneal q wire.

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Title: Re: Aluminum Wire
Post by: M. Frary on December 29, 2013, 03:12 PM
   Jay, I'm sorry I didn't post why I do my own wire. I'm cheap. Very cheap.
Title: Re:
Post by: Joshua Hanzman on December 29, 2013, 06:36 PM
M. Frary that is the best reason possible, what temperature do you heat the copper at to anneal it? I will be trying this in the near future and really am just wondering if the best temperature deviates from what is posted in the normal internet research material.

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Title: Re: Aluminum Wire
Post by: Owen Reich on December 29, 2013, 07:38 PM
  My hands have protested the use of Stone Lantern's copper.  If you buy it or already have some, I suggest reannealing it especially for the larger diameter sizes.   


Sorry Owen :-[ :-[ :'(  
I did buy a bunch of Gremel copper wire, and it is the stuff for sure.  Live and learn....
As far as alum, I used to buy from the monks, but they don't do online anymore.  There's an ebay store that sells pots and wire called Oriental arts and furniture that has good alum.  I got my last batch from Stone Lantern, didn't get the more expensive kind, but the regular quality is ok.  Maybe I'll try the Yoshi type next time and see what the difference is from the Bonsai Aesthetics wire. The aesthetics seems to lighten up in color somewhat after a while on the tree.


Judy, it definitely was not just you  :).  It's popular in Florida and the rest of the South as well.
Title: Re: Aluminum Wire
Post by: M. Frary on January 01, 2014, 02:09 AM
  Joshua, I don't know the temp except that I cook it right open flames till the insulation is gone. The wire turns out nice and pliable.
Title: Re: Aluminum Wire
Post by: John Kirby on January 01, 2014, 08:45 AM
Cheap is cheap. Don't stand too close and inhale the fumes off of the insulation. The goal is to get the wire to glow a dull red. The problem with doi nut this way is that you tend to get over hot and under hot spots, especially on larger wire. Those who do it well use a very uniform heating source. Also, removing insulation prior to annealing leads to more uniform product. I still gave kilos of badly annealed wire, that seemed ok until I got my hands on well done wire.

Then there is the term cost effective.  Damaging a good tree because of discontinuous annealing can be an expensive proposition. If you don't have trees of good/high quality, experimenting with wire may be a reasonable exercise. One of the reasons people say that using copper wire is so much more difficult is that all annealed copper wire is not the same.

I hope there is another Jim Gremel in development out there, we could always use another source.
Title: Re: Aluminum Wire
Post by: Anthony on January 01, 2014, 12:38 PM
John,

you are also allowed to use a small kiln / test kiln and just set the temperature, leaving the copper coil in for as long as it needs and it will be evenly heated.
Good Day
Anthony
Title: Re: Aluminum Wire
Post by: John Kirby on January 01, 2014, 03:32 PM
Anthony, absolutely, using a kiln and understanding the  heat required is a key step.
Title: Re: Aluminum Wire
Post by: Gaffer on January 01, 2014, 09:04 PM
I have some copper wire I have been given. Next I would like to heat it up in my barby to anneal it so I can use it for my trees. Does anyone know what temp and how long I should heat it for. My barby can heat way up there with the lid down so I want to do this right. Help.
Qualicum Brian
Title: Re: Aluminum Wire
Post by: Jay on January 02, 2014, 09:48 AM
Brian.... I don't know the temp BUT.....Warning do not use your barby that you use for food. This is not something you can have for dual use. This is especially true if you are burning off the insulation!!
Jay
Title: Re: Aluminum Wire
Post by: bwaynef on January 02, 2014, 10:15 PM
Does anyone know what temp and how long I should heat it for.

My quick Google search suggests 700-1200ºF or 900-1400ºF.  Brent @ Evergreen Gardenworks says (http://www.evergreengardenworks.com/copperwi.htm) "Generally annealing is done at greater than 1/2 of the melting point on the absolute temperature scale."  Google suggests that the melting point of Copper is 1,984°F (1,085°C).  Most sources comment that the Copper will exhibit a dull red glow, ...so you'll know when its hot enough.