Back to the drawing board


The last time I wrote about this tree was here. I just purchased this tree last year and had cut it back pretty far when repotted it from what I think was a 3gal nursery container. I let it grow freely all year without doing any additional work to it.

After getting another year under my belt and gaining more of a critical eye I can see I didnt do enough when I chopped it. I also made the mistake of letting it grow all year without trimming it a few times. Now I’m left with straight braning with no small shoots near the trunk. Just long, leggy, growth with no ramification gained. Shit.

I also don’t like the forking branches that are relatively similar in thickness. I need one to be more dominant than the other and right now it’s just uninteresting.  The tree only has 1 season of training so I’m not expecting a perfect tree at this point but I want it to get started on the right foot.

The one thing I DID do ended up terribly. I tried to wire a new leader vertically, but again, I waited too long and it was too thick. It snapped.


I covered it with cut paste but it didn’t recover.


Now several months later you can see the discoloration hinting that it’s dead around the wound.

A scratch confirms my suspicion. You can see it’s still alive a few inches up but there’s no coming back for this branch…it’s a goner.

Probably good news with the bad wire scars. I left on them on longer than I normally would have as not to disturb the healing process. Lesson learned.

My only option now is to rechop and start again with the left trunk. Truth be told, it was too long anyway.


I left a lot of branching on the right trunk to get some life into the branches and promote some back budding. It will all come off later once I pick a new leader. Im hoping to get one below the wound on the right trunk so I won’t have to look at that scar on the front. Oh well…time will tell. We’ll check back in once the buds really start pushing.

What to do with a dead tree?

I had collected what I was hoping would eventually be an awesome bonsai many moons from now. It was a beautiful Bald Cypress taken during my Swampathon 2014 post.


Long story short, it kicked the bucket.  I had hopes it would pull through but I never saw any buds when the rest of the collected trees were firing on all cylinders. I wasn’t sure why it happened and assumed it was just overstressed from collection. I felt really bad about losing it because it had a killer base with great potential.  On top of that I went in and removed it from the swamp causing its demise.  It may sound corny, but I felt bad about it.  I wanted to do something cool with it and not just throw it on the burn pile.  That would just be rude. Then a light bulb went off!

A lamp.  I could make a lamp…I think.

I went and pulled it from the container and looked it over.



I wanted to use as much of the width as possible.  I had envisioned sawing it off right above the root flare but it was just too damn wide.  It would have been too difficult to make a completely flat cut with a handsaw.



I decided to use my table saw like any self respecting Tim Taylor fan would…more power!! The blade height game me limitations on just how low I could cut it. It wasn’t ideal since I was losing a lot of the width, but it was the easiest way to do it. To be honest, a lot of planning didn’t go into this.  I just rolled with the punches.



Once I cut it, I could see it had a large interior wound most likely from some type of boring insect.  It went about 2-3 feet through the tree.  I’m not 100% sure if that was the cause of death but it sure made me feel a lot better about losing it.




Now I just need to drill out a channel through the whole trunk section to allow me to run wire through it.  The size of my bit (which I borrowed…Thanks Rick!) also limited the height of my finished lamp.  This was no problem as I wanted a small desktop size lamp anyway.




The next few pictures are pretty self explanatory. I screwed some adjustable feet on the bottom, taped the wiring to a piece of wire, and shoved it through.

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Once I had the wiring through, I connected it to a lamp kit and used gorilla glue to secure the bulb socket to the top.  I would do this a bit differently next time as it foams up and looks messy.  Since this was just a prototype I didn’t worry about it very much.  Since it would be covered by the shade I just scraped off the excess and carried on.12 13 14


We’re pretty much done at this point.  Now to just get a shade and a bulb.


Ah, there we go! I was glad I was able to save a piece of this tree as a memory of the awesome trip.