Bonsai Tools

There is a bewildering choice of tools available to the Bonsai enthusiast. But do you really need them all. This guide will hopefully point the uninitiated in the right direction.
Scissors - It is a good idea to have at least two pairs of scissors. A long pair with fine tips will be useful for trimming small branches while a heavier pair with thicker blades and larger handles will be useful for trimming roots. Having separate tools for these two areas will help to prevent the spread of any disease.
japanese general purpose bonsai trimming scissorsjapanese bonsai root pruning scissors210mm japanese long handled bonsai fine trimming scissors

Concave Branch Cutters - Available in several different sizes, the cutting head is curved so that when cutting branches a slightly hollowed out wound is produced. This shaped cut is ideally shaped to heal with a good chance of minimum scarring. Straight edged tools would leave the wound flat and resultant healing would produce a slight bump. They are widely used for general ranch cutting work but are only suitable for removing small branches flush to the trunk. They are designed to be used from the side of the cut and are sometimes referred to as side cutters.
210mm japanese bonsai branch cutters200mm chinese bonsai branch cutters170mm chinese bonsai branch cutters
Knob cutters - Available in several different sizes they are similar to the concave cutters but go one step further and produces a spherical cut. They are designed to be used end on to a cut and get their name from their main use removing knobs or stubs of branches flush to the trunk. They are also useful for nibbling away chunks of wood prior to carving.
japanese bonsai knob cutters 170mm210mm japanese bonsai knob cutters200mm chinese bonsai knob cutters
Wire cutters - Cutters with very strong tips are needed for removing wire from trees with the minimum of damage. Conventional wire cutters can be used in most cases but they must be a quality pair that would cost as much as custom made Japanese cutters anyway.
200mm chinese bonsai wire cuttersbonsai wire cutting scissors170mm chinese bonsai wire cutters
Jin Pliers - are designed with flat blades that are used for removing bark from jins. A cut is made through the bark around the base of the jin using a knife or branch cutters and then the jin pliers are used to squash the bark which separates it from the wood beneath. The jin pliers can then be used to crush the end of the jin and grasp fibres that when stripped away will give a natural looking finish
japanese bonsai jin pliers 180mm
Root Cutters - At repotting it is sometimes necessary, particularly with yamadori (wild collected stock), to reduce large roots. Root cutters are designed like knob cutters but with flat blades and a much thicker blade that will stand up to the added wear and tear experienced in amongst the dirt and grit of the root ball
japanese bonsai root cutters

Trunk Splitters - An advanced tool used to split trunks or thick branches to allow bending or for separating deadwood from a branch.
japanese bonsai trunk splitters

Root Hooks - A simple enough tool for combing out the root ball but one that will make repotting that much easier

Rakes, Tweezers, Spatulas - Mostly available in double ended combinations they are useful for a multitude of maintenance tasks.
stainless steel bonsai rake tweezersstainless stell bonsai spatula tweezers

Sieves - To get the best out of your potting Medium it should be sieved into its various sizes. Different grades can be used in a single pot with large particles on the bottom or if you have trees on different scales then different grades can be matched to the size of the tree.
Sieve sets come with 3 different sized interchangeable meshes to cater for all sizes.
stainless steel bonsai soil sieves

Scoops - can be improvised by cutting the top off an old pop bottle but purpose made sets are available in plastic or stainless steel. This Japanese set of 3 includes a mesh back in the largest which is useful for removing dust from top dressing material.
stainless steel bonsai soil scoops

Bending Jacks - Again can be improvised in more traditional ways but these small clamps have their uses.
bonsai bending jack

Turntables - A simple plastic turntable is invaluable for working on trees making it that much easier to move around the tree. Also useful under trees that require turning on display benches to allow light to all areas.
bonsai turntable 10 inch

Folding saw - For the removal of thick branches a quality saw is invaluable. A folding saw has the advantage that it can be carried easily when out collecting.
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