Making a jin is one of my favorite things to do in bonsai. When you have a branch that is broken or needs to be removed you can turn it into a jin. The effect is quite simple. A jin in its most basic form represents a branch that was broken by wind, ice, or lighting. This technique really gives the bonsai tree the illusion of old age.
A jin is created by stripping the bark off of the rough-cut branch. Then the ends can be crushed and pulled to show the struggle using a pair of bonsai jin pliers. Finally, a preservative is applied to slow wood rot. Mixing the preservative with a little black ink will produce a more natural color.
Several tools make this task easier and include a spokeshave or a very sharp knife, jin pliers for crushing the branch, lime sulfur for preservative, black ink, and applicators brushes.
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