Affordable soils, tools, and wire

Just as I pictured you in my mind!!!

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So I’ve thought about trying to anneal my own wire, but wasn’t ever sure how to do it right. What’s your process? How hot, how long , cooling, etc?

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Annealing is pretty easy. I use a ceramics kiln and simply take it up to 900 degrees and pull the wire out when the temp alarm goes off, then dunk it in water. If you let it soak at temp too long the material begins to break down and the surface of the wire will become rough. The same goes for higher temps.


Cool, thanks! I don’t have access to a kiln nearby but I’ll figure something out

One caveat here, I haven’t done this myself, but some wood burning fireplaces can get hot enough to anneal copper wire. You just have less control over the temperature, which makes the process difficult for those of us without experience.

just curious, as a beginner, what is the advantage of annealing copper wire vs plain copper wire? less noticeable? or is there a horticultural reason?

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Annealing wire makes it easier to work with. Annealing resets the crystal structure of the copper wire to get the molecules to align and bend more easily. As you work the wire (as you wire your tree), it loses the structure slightly and gets harder as you work it.

If you are interested, go to Home Depot or a local hardware store and try to bend some 6 or 8 gauge copper wire that isn’t annealed (mine has some on spools in the electrical dept without insulation). It’s crazy stiff.


Hello Everyone,

Where is the best akadama to buy online?


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I think I have an idea for those of you who want to anneal wire but do not have access to a kiln. All you need is 6 bricks and a map gas torch. One of the bricks has a broken corner that will serve as our flame port.

Use some scrap metal to prop the flame at a slight upward angle. Keep checking through the opening to see if the interior of the tiny oven and your wire are glowing. For me this took about 10 minutes. Turn off the flame and carefully take the top bricks off. Remove the wire with tongs and dunk in water. Your wire should be significantly softer. If you want a little more temperature accuracy you can buy a 200-1000 degree thermometer on Amazon for $10. Just stick the pointy end through a gap between the bricks.


Not sure you have heard this from anyone else, but the Greater New Orleans Bonsai Society is very active , has beginner classses, guest artists, workshops, etc. there is also a club in the Gulfport area I think. Check GNOBS website. We have an auction in August where a bunch a trees and pots will go to new homes. I understand not being able to travel to every meeting, but some of our offerings may be of interest and helpful to you.

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Sourcing 4 gage copper wire is pretty tough, even more so if annealed. But 6 gage seems readily available. Will coupling 6 gage with another wire work? I know it will complicate things trying to keep no more than 3 wires in any location. But if unable to get 4 gage, can 6 gage be coupled with another wire?