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Guide to Bonsai Tools

By Edited Sep 17, 2016 1 1

To learn the skill of Bonsai you need the proper tools. I am going to list and describe the prevalent Bonsai tools. When you first start off you won't need all the tools listed and depending on your degree of involvement in Bonsai, you might never need all of them.

Pruning & Cutting Equipment

Pruning and cutting tools are used for any trimming that is too heavy to be performed using scissors.

Concave Branch Cutter: These are typically heavy duty blades created much like bolt cutters. They are used to neatly and smoothly remove fair sized branches.
Spherical Knob Cutters: Are similar to the branch cutter except the cutting piece is round. They are intended to slice through heavy knobs or knots.
Folding Pruning saw: This is a small rough cut saw that has a blade that retracts into the grip similar to a pocket knife. You can use them for cutting very heavy branches or even when you need to cut down the trunk of your Bonsai tree.
Shears: You use shears for a lot of diverse medium to lightweight cutting jobs.
Woodworking Gouges: Gouges can be used for numerous artistic purposes in Bonsai. They are commonly used to remove bark or even score the trunk to simulate natural damage to a tree.

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Scissors:

Scissors are a core tool for most Bonsai enthusiast, these come in various shapes and sizes to handle numerous tasks.

Leaf Cutting Scissors: Just like the title suggests these are put to use primarily for gentle work like pruning back or getting rid of leaves.
Shoot Trimming Scissors: These are a heavier pair of scissors designed to cut small to mid-sized shoots or branches.
Heavy Duty Shoot Scissors: They are an even heavier pair of scissors designed for all the shoots that are too large for your regular shoot scissors but too little for the pruner.

Potting Tools

The pot which you keep your Bonsai in is actually very important for both its health and correct growth. Bonsai require regular re-potting and root adjustment. These are the tools most useful for those tasks.

Root Hooks: They are used to separate the root ball into a much more manageable shape for cutting and pruning. These are a heavy wire curved at one end and in most cases honed to a reasonable point.
Potting Trowel: This is just a small garden trowel which will be used to dig and adjust the soil in your Bonsai pot.
Soil Scoops: Are small plastic or metal cups with a handle and the open end is cut to a scoop shape. They are used to remove or add soil into the pot.
Brush: Soft brushes are used to gently keep clean and maintain the trunk, branches and leaves of the Bonsai.

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Wire Tools

Wires are often employed to train the Bonsai plant to the appropriate artistic form. You can find a multitude of tools helpful to work with wire; many of these are available at any hardware or automotive store.

Common Wire Snips: These are typical wire snips that are commonly used by electricians; they must be heavy enough to handle the aluminum wire used for Bonsai.
Heavy Duty Wire Snips: These are just a larger variation of the snips mentioned that might be needed if you're utilizing some bulkier than average wire.
Pliers: Standard domestic pliers can be used for bending and twisting the wire to the proper shape and position.
Needle Nose Pliers: These are pliers that come to a fine point and are ideal for doing work in tight confines surrounding the trunk and branches.

Miscellaneous Tools
Some general tools that do not fit in any of the other groups.

Chop Sticks: These are ideal for tamping and working the soil down across the roots of the tree.
Gardeners Knife: This is handy for some of the heavy non-gentle slicing you have to do.
Rake: A little rake just like a garden or yard rake but in miniature is used to clean and look after the top of the soil.
Tweezers: Tweezers are often essential to work around the limited space on many Bonsai.

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Comments

Jun 25, 2011 8:27am
JudyE
This is a really comprehensive article. Thanks for so much information
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