Bonsai Tree Tools

Over the centuries tools unique to bonsai have developed with specialize shapes that perform the tasks of bonsai very well. Bonsai tools are recognized for their quality construction, durability and when needed extreme sharpness. A good set of bonsai tool if well maintained should last you a lifetime.

Bonsai Shears

The first bonsai tool you should own. They are used for trimming small branches, roots and twigs. You will use them quite often. They are designed to give a clean cut without ripping or crushing like normal shears or scissors. Instead of having blades sharpened on just one side like normal scissors the bonsai shears are sharpened on both sides of the blade.

Bonsai Concave Cutter

The second bonsai tool you should own. They are used for cutting branches completely flush with the trunk so that the wound will heal quickly and cleaning . There really is no other tool that can perform this function as well as bonsai concave cutters. You will not use it as often as you do the shears, but when you need one you will be glad you have it.

Bonsai Wire Cutters

The bonsai style of wire cutter has a rounded head which is helpful when you are cutting wire close to a branch. Other than the major difference between bonsai wire cutters and normal wire cutters is that the bonsai version is much better quality and can cut wire like it is yarn.

Bonsai Jin(Wire) Pliers

The bonsai Jin pliers, also called bonsai wire pliers have two uses. The first is to strip the trunk of the bonsai tree of bark and fiber to simulate age or natural damage. The narrow and angled head of the pliers work particularly well at this task. The pliers are also very useful when wiring a tree and removing wire.

Bonsai Tweezers

Bonsai tweezers resemble normal tweezers but have an extremely narrow and curved tip. You use them to remove small leaves, insects, weeds and other small debris. Frequently the other end of the tweezers has either a small rake or a spatula which can give the tweezers a dual function.

Hemp Brush(Broom)

The hemp brush, also called a hemp broom is a short, thick, fibrous brush used to smooth the topsoil and for general cleaning of your bonsai.

Do I need to buy bonsai tools?

Nope. You can do everything you need to do to your bonsai tree with regular tools you probably already have at your home. Use scissors instead of shears, regular wire cutters instead of bonsai wire cutters, needle-nose pillars rather than wire pliers. These tools work well enough for you to shape your bonsai tree. Just be aware that the bonsai tools are clearly better and everyone who sticks with bonsai eventually invests in the tools.

When should I buy bonsai tools?

The first time you are annoyed by the shortcomings of your current tools. If you trim a branch and are bothered because the cut is not clean enough, consider buying some bonsai shears. If you clip off a branch at the trunk and the cut is not flush enough to please you, it is time to consider buying a concave cutter. You are doing bonsai for your own enjoyment, when your tools are limiting your fun you need better tools.

What are the grades of bonsai tools?

There is no exact bonsai tool grading standard and grading can change depending on the manufacturer, but tools generally break down into four grades. In order of lowest to highest cost and quality they are novice/student, intermediate, professional and master. The major difference between the grades is the quality of metal used.

Which grade of tool should I buy?

That is obviously a difficult question to answer without knowing your experience level and financial situation. But generally speaking the novice grade tools allow someone new to bonsai a chance to work with tools made for bonsai at a reasonable price. After that I recommend jumping straight to the professional grade tools. With proper care professional grade tools can last a lifetime and you will never need to upgrade them.

Are all bonsai tools of the same grade equal?

If two tools are the same grade, made from the same quality of metal and in the same style they might still feel very different to use. Especially with shears(since you will be using them more than any other tool) comfort in the hand and ease of use are as important as quality. Whenever possible try out tools before purchasing them to see if they fit your hand, if the weight feels comfortable. If ordering online make sure the website has a return policy that allows you to return the tools for any reason.