Drilling My Marble Bonsai Pot

Drilling My Marble Pot and Pruning, The Bonsai Zone, Feb 2022

With all those cuttings from pruning, how many would root? In sand or bonsai mix and leave in pot in the cold and see in the spring/summer for growth. Would be a nice little experiment.

hi everyone nigel saunders here today i’m going to be working on my marble pot i’m going to be drilling the drainage holes in it and i’m going to be pruning up all these seedlings that i have up on the shelf here here’s a look at all the seedlings i have to prune today so i’ve got my royal oaks or my english oaks here i’ve got my black locus at the back i’ve got my ammer maple which is actually starting to butt out a bit i’ve got an elm here that i collected from the backyard i’ve got a larch here that started to butt out about three weeks ago in the colder winter here i’ve got i think this is a poplar or i’m not sure what it is uh i think this is a red maple and then i’ve got a field maple back here so just some quick pruning on those to get them ready for spring here’s a look at the marble pot my first step i’m going to drill my four drainage holes in the bottom of the pot and then i want to reshape the pot a bit my love for marble pots began by looking through this book chinese bonsai the art of penjing there’s the authors so i’ll show you some marble pots in this book here’s one of the marble pots here and you can see it has some fancy kind of scroll work on the feet the sides are tapered and has a bit of a lip and i really like that my pot just says straight sides it’s like a a rectangle and i would rather it to be a little more sculpted and shaped here’s another marble pot here and this is very simple but again the sides are tapered mine is square down the sides i would rather something like that with tapered sides here’s another one tapered sides the feet are a little more pronounced in the bottom another one with tapered sides you can see the patina they get really nice here’s a nice pot this one has sort of slightly rounded tapered sides fancier feet a little lip along the top of the pot and an indentation again really nice some nice patina on the pot here’s a multi-sided pot very thin delicate feed a thin lip at the top very nicely carved nice and smooth nice pot here’s the last two examples so here’s a marble pot lots of patina on it very nicely sculpted rounded kind of rounded bottom on the sides here very thin lip there’s another one very similar to that pot again nice patina on it looks really nice i’ve also seen marble pots with beautiful dragons carved along the sides of them the possibilities are endless so i’m going to experiment with the marble pot and try my hand at carving marble for the first time in my life it should be kind of fun uh i did a little stone carving when i made my cement temple last year i was chiseling it away with a hammer and chisel and it worked quite well and i think marble will kind of behave similar to the concrete i’ll find out anyway i’m going to begin laying out my holes in the bottom of the pot now so i’ve got a pencil and a ruler here so i can lay out the position of the holes to get them all the same and i’m thinking of going with four holes two here and two down here and if the drilling goes quite easily i might add a fifth one in the center of the pot i’ll see how it goes i’m laying out my holes i kind of uh roughly sketch where i want them so i’m coming in three inches from the edge and two and a half inch from this side and that they look about right there so i’m just going to uh i’ve got these ones marked out i’m just going to trace where the holes go trace around my cutting tool here like that now let me step back and have a look at it that looks about right to me it looks very balanced i think that’s perfect i think i probably should have another hole in the middle six so 18 half of 18 is nine so we want our center hole to be right about here and width wise it is 10 and about 10 and a quarter so we want five and an eight so about here will be our center hole so i’ll just trace that in place right about there there’s a cinema so five holes that looks just perfect the next step what i’m going to do is i’m going to fill the pot with water just a little bit and that’ll be my coolant for when i’m drilling down i’m going to drill it by hand uh i was going to use a drill press but a lot of people wrote in the comments they said no you shouldn’t use a drill press you should always you know come in with the drill bit at an angle get it started and then kind of wiggle it around as you’re drilling so you’re not kind of you know constant force on the whole surface area at a time they said it’s better to just work a little bit of the edge at a time so i’m going to try that i’ve seen people do it both ways using a drill press or by hand and they both seem to work and i’ve even seen people drill marble without any water without any cutting fluid or cooling fluid and it seems to work too so all right let’s get my tool in here so i just need my water in the in the pot here and then i’m ready to drill all right in goes the water that should be enough and here i go i’m going to try the center hole first so starting on my edge gonna be quite a front [Music] gotta get it started [Music] there we go got kind of it started oh easy there because this water is going to get really cloudy [Music] [Music] going very well you can feel the water heats up around the holes where i’m drilling okay i’ve got to get something under here otherwise i’ll drill into my my stool maybe i’ll change the setup to the floor all right i’m going to put this board underneath it which i’ll cover my holes so i’m going to try and drill them evenly because once i go right through all my water will drain out so i’m just going to try and kind of work them all equally and then start breaking through to the other side [Applause] i think i’m through and i am there goes all my water so there’s the plug inside here i’ll just get that out there it is one marble plug that one’s through that’s hole number two done [Music] that is through there’s my third plug there it goes hole number four is done [Applause] [Music] that is done okay so that is my five holes done i’ll just clean my tool off here and we’ll flip it over and see what the holes look like on the bottom hopefully you know they’re not too jagged the edges okay let’s have a look at the bottom here it is so i can see there’s a little bit of chipping around the edges not a whole lot it’s pretty clean but there is some and you can see how the feet they’re not real feet you know it’s quite thick the bottom surface they’re just kind of chamfered on each of the four sides and that creates your feet now i could carve that away and make a thinner bottom if i wanted we’ll see about that so i’m going to clean these holes up i’m going to get a file out and just clean them up make them nice and smooth i’m going to try this rasp just see that works pretty nicely yeah that’s really nice beautiful hole so i’ll do all the rest [Music] that is looking really really nice all right i’m going to flip it over and start doing cleaning up the holes from the top now i might have to do it on the side here like that because i have to get my file in here that works well you can see the color the marble will be if i polish it up you know it’s got a nice nice grain to it looks really good [Applause] okay so my next step i wanted to taper those sides a bit and i wanted to leave a lip a lip and then taper the sides in that’s going to be very difficult to do i’d have to bring the feet in too yeah that’s not easy to do i’ve got the marble pot all cleaned up it’s wet at the moment so this is what it would look like if it were polished up you would see the colors and the grain yeah really really nice makes for a beautiful pot the drilling of the holes in the marble pot went quite well it works out to about ten dollars a hole to cover the cost of this tool bit so i’ll have to drill lots of holes in the future to get my money’s worth i’ve had two of my trees in the greenhouse here trying to start butting out early so what i did is i moved them from the shelves the benches up here down to the floor level where it’s cooler and i also move them into a corner that doesn’t get much air flow so that should keep them cooler if they look like they’re still going to bud out i’ll have to move them outside the reason the other trees in the greenhouse don’t butt out is that it’s only warm during the late afternoon usually it stays kind of around freezing and then when the sun hits the greenhouse it warms up quickly for about two hours and the soil in the pot stays quite cool so the trees don’t really break dormancy if it got full sun all day in the greenhouse here yeah then everything would be coming out into leaf but because it only warms up for a couple hours in the afternoon and the pots stay nice and cool most of the trees stay dormant so far anyway the first tree that i’ll prune today is this little larch tree this little arch was originally pruned back by the rabbits and then i let it grow over the summer now i’m going to prune it back again to get it more compact so here i go all right so here’s the leader i want to prune it off to a upwards facing bud so it kind of keeps growing straight so i can either go back to this one or this one i’m gonna go back to that first one taking the top off so i’ve got a bud there this branch coming out front here i’ve got a branch come out the bottom one at the top i’ll just take it off here and try and develop that one there these ones i’ll take it off here this one off to here this one looks kind of weak i’ll leave leave it a little longer that one i got a strong branch coming out the side here and one here um i think i’m gonna use this chute that’s down below take that off and i’ll take this vertical one off like that still a bud there i got to get off like that and then i’ve got this big strong branch i’m just going to there’s a bud down lower i’ll just take that right off and that is the pruning of the larch tree the next treat i’ll be pruning is this emmer maple so you can see you know i have the trunk come up and then i’ve got a long kind of straight section it was pruned here it’s got some sub branching so i really need to take these back so i’m looking you can see dormant buds all over it there’s an outward facing bud here so i think i’ll take it off just above that like that this one i’ve got an outward facing bud here so i’ll take it off just above that one out the back i have a bud facing outwards up here so i’ll take it off to there and then the main kind of leader here i’ve got a bud you can see it’s already developing here so i’ll take it off just above there that’s got my hammer maple pruned back this is kind of unusual because i have you know the trunk coming up and i have a division of two here a little short section and another division of two but a lot of maples grow like that they have a lot of branches coming from one point so i’m going to prune this in a typical maple style with kind of a cluster of branches coming from one point this is a little red maple here i’ve got some buds coming out down low all i’m going to do is prune that apical tip off now some people if you got too much vigor in your maple sometimes you can let this tip grow in spring and then prune it off so all the vigor goes into that tip and then you remove it and then it develops these side buds with less figure so if you want to keep your branching really tight and tiny let the vigorous shoots grow and then prune them off right away once they’ve kind of extended so i’m i’m i can try that on this one uh i’m in no hurry to develop this tree so i’ll do that i’ll let this these sheets grow and then once they’ve extended i’ll prune it off and then let these two buds back here develop for the rest of the summer there’s a close-up so you can see that’s the the biggest bud on the tree so that’ll extend and develop and then i’ll develop these two little buds down here at this level once i cut this whole section off the next tree i’m going to prune is this elm i just dug this up from the yard and what had happened that the main trunk here i don’t know if it got run over by the lawnmower or something but the main trunk died and then another branch grew up and you can see where the main trunk was it’s kind of rotted away and the other branch took over as a leader and it kind of healed that wound around the dead part of the main trunk the remains of it so rather an interesting trunk highly tapered so i’ve got to prune it up um it’s not a very graceful looking tree i’ve got branches coming out at 90 degrees all over it that nothing flows nicely and that may be a characteristic of this type of elm tree i don’t even know what kind of element is i’ve got a dead part here i can prune that away so let me get rid of that for starters maybe i come in from above here like that i’ve got a really thick branch coming off here it’s way too thick and it’s way too horizontal to kind of be an upright trunk so that’s got to come off even though it’s a nice branch but it just again i don’t like these 90 degree transitions here’s a branch that’s more flowing that’s quite nice so this one’s got to come off it’s too thick like that now i think my apex is okay i just need to prune it back like that take my stump off there there’s a stump here i can remove another one here this branch down here might be too low i’m going to take that off it just it’s not very graceful it’s too low i think it’s off it comes there’s a dead stump here i can remove dad and then this one kind of flows up a bit this one droops i’m going to remove that one too like that so i think all the other branches i can keep i’m just going to prune them back a bit maybe even more and i think that’s it for the elm kind of taking it back to a stick but you know there’s no point developing branches that are not very good looking my brother wait for a nice graceful branch and develop that and make a nice looking tree rather than an awkward looking tree the next tree i’m going to prune up is this field maple so it’s quite tall so it needs pruning back so i’ve got it the trunk comes up it’s uh this branch on this side is dyed off we’ll prune that away this branch flows nicely it’s kind of on the inside of a kink here i may take that off i’ve got you know two opposite branches here so i’ll only keep one of them because if you have two opposite branches it looks kind of funny and you’ll get a bulge there and then i’m dividing from one trunk into two here i’ve got to decide is that where i want the height of my tree probably i think that’s a good division of first kind of division of my trunk into two liters so i’m going to prune it back and i’m going to take it off here and this one i’m going to take off here and then these two opposite branches i could pick either one tough decision i think i like this one it’s thinner it goes a little more vertical this one’s a little more horizontal so i’ll take i’m going to take this one off using my stealth pruners and then it’s just a matter of shortening some of these branches back so here here and i think that’s it that is it for the field maple the next two trees i’m going to prune up are a red maple and i’m not sure what this one is it just grew in the pot um i don’t really know what it is so i’ll prune it up um let’s do this one first it comes up in a trunk i’ve got a branch here branch here all nice these ones come up the branches are staggered they’re not opposite it looks quite good there’s a stub i could take off here from last pruning i could reduce the apex down a bit like that i could reduce these branches down it’s an outward facing bud there outward facing bud here take that all back i hope we’re facing bud there prune just above that that’s got that tree pruned up now the little red maple here it’s got two buds here some buds here i don’t think i need to touch that at all we’ll just let it grow for next year the next tree i’ll prune up is my black locust so this got chewed off by rabbits and it sprouted here again so i’m going to clean that up that transition point up so here i go like that and then i’ve got a strong leader coming up it’s being pruned here once so i’ll clean that transition point up this tree has little sharp thorns on it they’re very sharp so i’ve got to decide where to prune it now it looks like i have a bud here these are fast growing trees too i’m thinking i’m thinking down here putting it off here developing this bud kind of keeping you know a little branch structure down low so that’s what i’ll do i’ll come in here with my pruners and i’ll just take it off right here like that and the cuts are all nice and green you can see the green cambium layer there so the trees are really healthy there’s a another pruning point here i could remove like that this branch doesn’t look good i’m not sure it’s even alive it might be there’s a bud here but i think this part’s dead let me trim it off yeah it was but i think it’s alive up until this point so it should grow and that’s got that black locus pruned up ready to go the next trees i’ll be pruning up are my english oaks or my royal oaks there’s no right or wrong when you’re pruning up these young seedlings you know how high you want your first branch may be determined by how big you imagine the finished tree you know getting rid of opposite branches and kind of doing a general structural pruning to remove some of the flaws in the tree is important when they’re young but you know you can you could prune them up a lot of different ways there’s no right or wrong really so i’m going to start in the english oaks here you can see it comes up i pruned it all these lower branches away i have a branch that comes off to the side and then this branch crisscrosses the main trunk line so i’ve got to remove that so i’ll come in and get rid of it like that so there’s a structural flaw that i removed from the tree i’m going to prune these branches back and this one back to here always looking for outward facing buds so here i go i’m going to come in with the reconditioned stealth pruners and take off that branch like that so that really cleans up that structure it’s all fanning outwards it looks good it’s ready to go for spring so now let’s get to the larger tree let’s look at this apex oh my goodness what kind of an apex is that so you can see i have a butt on the outside of this corner here i’ve got a leader here this branch is very thick it has a lot of development on it it’s kind of you can see how the trunk curves here it’s kind of coming from the inside of a curve so i’m going to remove it entirely it’s just not a nice branch it’s vigorous but it’s not nice it’s off it goes now my apex i’ve got two opposite branches there so i think i only want to keep one of them so i’m going to keep this one on the inside and remove this one like that and then down low here i have a branch and the question is it flows nicely it’s not a bad branch so i am going to keep it i’m going to remove this one that’s growing downwards here take that off and this branch divides from one into two this is the better radial branch this one kind of crosses back over the trunk so i’m going to take this one off like that and i think that’s all i need to do on that tree or stick yeah those are pruned up and ready to grow for spring my royal oaks are planted in a 3d printed pot that i printed at the library it’s just a pla pot so it won’t last forever but you know it’s doing well i think this is it’s maybe third year as a pot so it’s doing all right eventually that plastic will break down and i’ll have to get a another pot for these trees but yeah nice looking pot this pot is available for free download on thingiverse if you go to thingiverse type in the bonsai zone you’ll find the file for this pot and you can download it and print it off all the trees that looked like they were going to bite out i put them down on the floor level where it’s cooler down here and right by the edge of the greenhouse where it’s also cooler and they should uh they should stay dormant i’ll keep my eyes on them we’re just beginning february so another month and then the temperatures will start warming up outside so usually usually in march i put them all back out on the benches all these hearty trees to keep them dormant until the real spring comes so yeah so they’ve got to get through another month in the greenhouse here so far everything’s doing well and yeah if they start looking like they’re budding out they’ll be outside on the snow-covered benches as long as the temperatures are you know not too far below zero if we get really cold days i’ll bring them back into the greenhouse here for those days but yeah you can always do that you know on the warmer days put them out on the benches to keep them cool and on the really cold days bring them back into the greenhouse and protect them a bit of a dance but worth it got a really nice day today it’s not real sunny it’s a bit of a haze in the air but definitely better than full cloud this will be the third sunny day in a row the plants in the plant room are really liking these sunny days they’re all starting to grow with some vigor good to see my marble pot is dried off you can see how the color has gone more of a whitish color so i was really happy happy i got my five holes in the bottom successfully without cracking the pot or destroying it or anything like that so yeah it’s a functional pot now so all i want to do in the next video or an upcoming video is to start shaping the pot a little better to give it a little bit more zip and style so that’ll be coming up it is so nice in the greenhouse here today i’ve got the heat off it’s room temperature it feels like spring i know it’s only halfway through winter but oh my goodness it feels like spring today i’m getting spring fever already it’s only the start of february it’s gonna be a long wait i was happy to get my marble pot drilled up today and get all those little seedlings pruned up for spring and that’s all for today i’m nigel saunders thanks for joining me in the bonsai zone [Music]

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