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Essential bonsai tools

Essential Bonsai Tools

When it comes to bonsai tools different grades and quality exist. The first option is too choose between Chinese built bonsai tools or Japanese built bonsai tools. While Chinese built bonsai tools are cheaper, Japanese tools are better built and overall stronger. There are rarely grades of quality when it comes to Chinese bonsai tools. However, built bonsai tools can be found in various quality grades. First, beginner tools are usually black and are of good quality for beginner tools. They are affordable and for a bonsai enthusiast use their tools rarely; these will do the best job. However, the nest grade is professional bonsai tools. These are stronger, usually black, but sometime chrome plated. These professional bonsai tools will tolerate a more frequent usage and as their name implies it, they are intended for bonsai professional, not because of the complexity of use, but because of their resistance to abuse. All of these tools will rust if not treated with proper oil treatment. However, one more bonsai tool grade is available. Stainless steel bonsai tools are available. They are the most expensive of bonsai tools, but for a professional they are ideal since they do not rust, even when untreated.

Concave cutter

Concave cutters are the essential tool and the most important. It should be the first tool ones buy when they start their adventure into bonsai. They are designed to remove branches and when doing so, they will leave a small indented cut which will help minimize the scaring process for your bonsai tree. Most popular site is an 8 inches concave cutter. However, this tool is often made in 7 inches size or even 11 inches for larger job. As you can deduct, the 7 inches version is for more precise job such as removing small branches. This tool can also be found in a narrow version, which will give further precision for small job.

Knob cutter

These cutters will remove more deeply a branch helping further the scarification of the wound. It is very useful for removing knobs on trunks and branches. While it is not the first bonsai tool someone would buy, it is essential as you further develop your bonsai skills.

Spherical concave cutter

This tool is a hybrid from the first two; concave cutter + knob cutter. It is a concave cutter with a rounded end that will help in removing branches and leaves a shallower wound, helping the scaring of the wound with little impact on your bonsai tree design.

Root cutter

Root cutter will look much like a know cutter and will cut in the same way. However, one would want to protect its knob cutter from excessive use. Roots are more fibrous then branches and often recovered of soil particles. These could damage the blades on your knob cutter. So to prevent damage to your useful knob cutter, you could use a dedicated root cutter for dirty jobs of removing roots.


Shears do come in various styles and sizes. From the shears used between the thumb and index finger to the full hand shear you can choose which best shears will suit your desired job. Too many too list, but some are made to cut buds, some are made to cut young shoots, some are made to cut branches and further on.

Trunk splitter

This tool is most used to create jin and shari; where you expose dead wood without the bark. It can also be used to prepare a branch or trunk for major bending. They split a trunk or branch lengthwise and leave very little damage.

Wire cutter & Pliers

Wire cutters are essential to cut the much needed cooper wired for styling your bonsai tree. These also come in many shape and sizes.

Pliers are also use for wire as it helps wire your bonsai tree branches into great position. It is also used to remove or peel bark from the trunk when creating a jin or shari. They pretty much look like long nose pliers.

These two tools can be substitute by regular garage wire cutter and long nose pliers. No need to buy the expensive Japanese built wire cutters and pliers.

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