Lets face it. Straight bonsai trunks can be quite boring, especially on tiny shohin trees.
You can develop trunks with far more interest by wiring really small, flexible seedlings then growing them out to thicken the trunk.
Maples tend to be quite brittle really quick so for best results start with really young, thin seedlings.
Wire the trunk then bend – gently. Even thin trunks will crack if you bend too much. Nice even wiring with relatively close turns will support the trunks while you bend and should reduce breaks.
Both these examples snapped because I was trying to get too much bend too quick so I could take the photos. A better strategy is to put in initial bends then set them aside (bury the roots in damp soil) for a day or 2 then tighten up the bends. The resting period seems to let the stressed cells and fibres relax so that it is possible to bend even further with less chance of breakage.
Plant your little twisted trees as normal. Don’t forget to keep a close watch on them. The trunks will thicken rapidly when they start to grow in spring. Wires should be removed before they mark the bark too badly. Minor wire marks will disappear as the trunk thickens but if you leave them too long the trunks will swallow the wires completely.
If you want to try growing some small twisted maples ask for ‘small’ tridents or Japanese maples. Just 50c each for tridents and $1 each for the Japanese maples. Delivery cost extra.