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Neccesary Bonsai Tools for beginning to train Bonsai plants

NECESSARY TOOLS FOR BONSAI

Many people are confused which Bonsai tools that they need to buy as a beginner in this field. To answer this question, I decide to write this to help you to make your decision in purchase and prepare your Bonsai tool kit.

Bonsai, a small plant in a pot, become a popular hobby nowadays. Before, many people thought that this ancient art form is just for “old men”, but currently, more and more people are interested in it. For any kind of work, we still need right tools and equipment, so proper bonsai tools are required to get the best results when creating your work of art. Many specialized tools are essential for your bonsai training (ex: task of pruning, wiring, planting, watering and other general maintenance of your bonsai plants). Although there are a number of bonsai tools in any gardening shop that you visited (which may overwhelm you), there are certain tools to help you ensure success, make task easier and quicker.

When you want to start with bonsai gardening, you should consider investing in frequently used tools. Tools can range from very little money to the big amount. Of course, the higher money you pay for your tools, the better quality of those you can get. However, just buy the best basic set of tools that you can afford. Make sure to buy equipment that give you clean, sharp cuts in order to avoid the damage as much as possible to your Bonsai plants.


Nowadays, there are several different of shears. Depend on your purpose, tastes, and budget, you can decide which one is suitable for you.

A basic Bonsai tool set could be your entire collection of tools, or you could expand it over the years. Your tools will last long time if you care of them.

So what are a few basic tools that are essential to begin the Bonsai training? They are shears, knob cutters, and concave cutters.

 People who are interested in Bonsai are able to purchase those Bonsai tools at the store of Thanh Tam Bonsai Vocational Training Bonsai Center. Add: 2889 (Old No. 8/2) 1A Highway, Tan Thoi Nhat Ward, District 12, HCM city, Vietnam. We provide Gardening tools with different prices and qualities (depend on manufacturing locations) which are suitable for demands of Bonsai players/ artists/ Masters... Photos displayed in this article are just some examples. Other similar products can be found at our Website:  www.thanhtambonsai.com


1.      Pruning/ Cutting Shears/ Scissors: 

Shears are the main tool to use on your bonsai.  They help refine your plants into the desired shape. There are shears/ Scissors with fat noses and ones with slim long thin noses. In Vietnam, we called the former ones with fat noses are “branch cutting shears/ scissors” and the latter ones are “leaves cutting shears/ scissors”.

For medium Bonsai and big size Bonsai, you will need a PRUNING SHEARS. This one is used to trim Bonsai branches, twist, and remove leaves.

 


PRUNING SHEARS FOR REMOVING LEAVES with V in the middle.

  You can purchase these at the stores of Thanh Tam Bonsai Vocational Training Center



Pruning Shears for removing leave and small branches with Spiral Springs in the middle.

  You can purchase these at the stores of Thanh Tam Bonsai Vocational Training Center

 

Pruning Shears for branch cutting with Spiral Springs  

 You can purchase these at the stores of Thanh Tam Bonsai Vocational Training Center



 


Pruning Shears for branch cutting with V in the middle.

  You can purchase these at the stores of Thanh Tam Bonsai Vocational Training Center

 

For medium and small Bonsai, the butterfly scissors are useful to cut Bonsai branches and leaves.


Butterfly scissors. 

 You can purchase these at the stores of Thanh Tam Bonsai Vocational Training Center:

 

Shears/ scissors with slim long nose will allow you to do the fine work of trimming (small branches and leaves) in a small space. These shears/ scissors should be shard and just be used for bonsai work. Because of its ability to be nimble, the shear is the ideal tool to use to get in between small, fine branches and take out a specific twig or leaf set. (Many people use these to cut buds also).


Long blade scissors for leaf/ small branch removal

  You can purchase these at the stores of Thanh Tam Bonsai Vocational Training Center:

 

2. Knob Cutters

Knob cutters, also called “melon ball cutter” because of their spherical head, have unique and special functions. Knob cutters can bite aggressively into the wood, and remove protruding stubs easily. The rounded blade is designed for creating a hallowed out wound that will heal flush with the branch or trunk for minimal scaring. With a knob cutter, you hold the handles at right angles to the area you want to cut and then dive straight in to gouge out the knob or other protuberance you want to remove.

This tool can be used to finish cuts made by a regular branch cutter. It also help get rid of excess callous located underneath the trunk, which other tools cannot remove; it means that it is also good for pruning roots and removing knobs or bumps from branches and trunks.

Today, there are many sorts of Knob cutters with different manufacturers (From Taiwan, Japanese, Indonesian....) and different material (Black steel, stainless steel....). You need to consider to buy Knob cutters which can bite aggressively into trunks/ branches, and leave minimum damage.


Knob cutters made by Black Steel.


 You can purchase these at the stores of Thanh Tam Bonsai Vocational Training Center:

 Knob cutters made by stainless steel.

  You can purchase these at the stores of Thanh Tam Bonsai Vocational Training Center

 

3.     Concave cutters

This tool is also used to help shape the bonsai tree, but it is especially designed to remove or crop branches while leaving a concave wound that causes less damage and allows for rapid healing. This helps minimize scaring; the wound will heal much faster than a straight cut, It cut a small groove into the tree so that when the tree heals, the scar will be minimal. When it heals, it will heal flush and smooth, thus and will callous over in such a way as to make it very difficult to tell a cut has been made at all.

 As Knob cutters, please choose Concave cutters which minimize scars after cutting.


 

Concave cutters made by black steel


  You can purchase these at the stores of Thanh Tam Bonsai Vocational Training Center

 
Concave cutters made by stainless steel

 You can purchase these at the stores of Thanh Tam Bonsai Vocational Training Center

 

 4.    Round- edge cutters:

A round-edge cutter is a blend of the traditional concave cutter and the knob cutter. Because of this reason, many people (especially beginners) consider to buy just Round- edge cutters instead of a pair of concave cutters and knob cutters.

Bonsai Masters prefer to have Concave cutters and Knob cutters in their tool box because they want to utilize their specific functions. For Bonsai Masters, multiple- task tools are convenient but they cannot bring 100%-perfect-result as specific single-function tools do.

 A round-edge cutter (In the middle) is a blend of the traditional concave cutters (at the left)  and the knob cutter (at the right).

The functions of these cutters are similar to ones of concave cutters. The blades are at 45 degrees to the handle, just like the concave cutter, but the blades are rounded instead of straight. This creates more curve and depth to the cut, and very useful attribute when working with larger branches or odd angles.

 

Round- edge cutters made by Black steel.


 You can purchase these at the stores of Thanh Tam Bonsai Vocational Training Center

 

Round- Edge cutters made by stainless steel.


 You can purchase these at the stores of Thanh Tam Bonsai Vocational Training Center:

 

5. Wire

Bonsai plants need to be wired their branches or trunk to create desired positions and shapes. You can control the shape and appearance of your bonsai by using wires, and you can train your Bonsai plants in a way that will bring out their natural beauty.

There are many different thickness of wire, just choose the one which is suitable for your branches and trunks. Among those, Aluminum with cover and Aluminum without cover have different thickness, and it is used to train medium and big branches/ trunks. For TINY branches/ trunks, you can use copper wire or Aluminum wire looking like copper.

You can purchase them at the store of Thanh Tam Bonsai Vocational Training Center with the price 65.000 VND/ kg for Aluminum with/ without cover. Aluminum looking like copper is 80.000 VND/ kg.

 Aluminum Wire with thread cover

  

 

Aluminum without cover  


 

Aluminum looking like copper for Tiny branches


 

6.  Wire Cutters 

If you put wire on, you will eventually have to take it off. After your Bonsai plants get the desired shape/ position, you need to remove the wire. Then, wire cutters will help you to do this easier and quicker. These wire cutters allow you to cut the wire right up to the tree's bark without harming trees. You can use regular wire cutters or  professional Bonsai wire cutters . Bonsai artists recommend you to use professional Bonsai wire cutters since you will need this tool to get rid of wires from the bonsai, you need to invest in a good quality cutter that is useful in removing training wire and avoid causing any damages to the branch.  Bonsai wire cutters have very short cutting blades and a rounded head that allows you to cut right next to the bark without leaving marks.


Professional wire cutters for Bonsai plants 

 You can purchase these at the stores of Thanh Tam Bonsai Vocational Training Center

 


 

Normal wire cutters

  You can purchase these at the stores of Thanh Tam Bonsai Vocational Training Center with variety of options


7.      Folding Saw or Pruning Saw:

If you have big Bonsai plants, it is important to have a saw. Big branches (of big trees) which are larger than the diameter of shears, concave cutters, or knob cutters require to be cut by a saw. Trying to cut a big branch with shears will ruin those shears as well as damage Bonsai branches.

There are folding and fix saw. A folding saw resembles a pocket knife, while a pruning saw looks like a steak knife. Both have very fine serrated-edged blades that narrow to a small tip. This design helps you prune branches inside the trees.

Folding saws for Bonsai

 

 

 

 You can purchase these at the stores of Thanh Tam Bonsai Vocational Training Center:

 

Fix pruning saws


 Fix pruning saws with bladed which is narrow to the top.





 All of these saws are sold at the stores of Thanh Tam Bonsai Vocational Training Center: 

8. Other useful tools for Bonsai Gardening (You can consider whether they are necessary to buy or not):

Once you become more proficient at Bonsai, you can add to your tool box more equipment to help make certain tasks easier and more efficient.

A.    Bud scissors:

These look similar to surgical scissors with very short, sharp blades, long handles, and small finger holes for precision and control. Bud scissors are used for trimming leaves, buds, and small branches from your bonsai. They are especially helpful when working with smaller specimens and are ideal for fine details and delicate work.

 

You can purchase these at the stores of Thanh Tam Bonsai Vocational Training Center

 

 B.   Root Cutter

At the first time that you place your untrained Bonsai into a pot, you have to shorten or get rid of large roots. You can do this with many tools, for instance, concave pruners. However, to avoid small stones surrounding roots harming the blades or getting stuck in the blades of these tools, you can buy root cutters which blade construction is thicker and coarser.


C. Root Hook

It is very helpful when potting or re-potting your bonsai. When you move your Bonsai plants from old containers to new ones, you need to untangle of roots and remove soil. The root hook help you loosen and remove the soil, dislodge the roots, and untangle any root clumps.

This tool has hooks with one to three points. A single-point root hook is more efficient in removing soil without causing damages to fine and small roots. While hooks with multiple points are great for soil removal purposes, roots often get tangled in the points, which can lead to breakage of fine roots

 

 You can purchase these at the stores of Thanh Tam Bonsai Vocational Training Center

D.    Root Rake:

Generally, this tool is about 8-9 inches in length with three rakes on one end and a flat tamping spatula on the other end.

Like the root hook, the rake can be used to untangle roots or remove soil before pruning and potting.

However, it is also useful for removing debris or weeds, and for stirring and aerating the soil to help the bonsai receive food and water more efficiently. A root rake is used to clear away dirt from the root ball before repotting. It is used to gently comb out the roots and to remove dirt. The spatula end is helpful when digging out roots or tamping down soil after replanting.



You can purchase these at the stores of Thanh Tam Bonsai Vocational Training Center

 

E.    Tweezers:

This tool is most commonly used to pull dead needles from pine trees, but tweezers are also helpful in removing from pinching back new growth and pruning to removing unwanted objects from your bonsai such as insects, weeds, fine debris, and unwanted buds, or dead foliage.

These look like a regular pair of tweezers, but little difference at the ends. Most bonsai tweezers will have a small trowel on the end, useful for patting down moss, sowing seeds…..

 

 You can purchase these at the stores of Thanh Tam Bonsai Vocational Training Center

F.    Bending Jacks:

When you find it difficult to use wire to train thick branches/ trunks of your Bonsai plants, bending jacks will save your day. This bonsai tool is used to gradually bend bonsai trunks when is attached around a limb or trunk. A tightening bolt applies pressure, which can be increased in small increments over time, slowly causing the desired bend or curve.

  


 You can purchase these at the stores of Thanh Tam Bonsai Vocational Training Center

 

G. Bonsai Trunk splitters:

This tool has blades that are perpendicular to the handle (like the knob cutter), but are more widely spaced and with a straight angle to make splitting cuts rather than the digging action of other cutters. The trunk splitter is a beefy tool, idea for big projects, difficult deadwood and major design changes. Trunk splitters can be used to bend a tree trunk by splitting the trunk in half (or in thirds or fourths), and then using raffia and wire to wrap, bind and shape the pieces back together into a new design. Over time, the trunk will fuse back together in its new stance.

 You can purchase these at the stores of Thanh Tam Bonsai Vocational Training Cent

 

H.    Other Tools

Aside from those, you will need other devices that are handy in various situations, These are the main tools used in the art of Bonsai, however, there are many, many more specialized pieces of equipment that are designed for shaping, carving, replanting, and growing the various styles and forms of bonsai. For example: including jin peelers, gouges, and brushes for moss removing…..


Jin Peelers/ Wire removal


 You can purchase these at the stores of Thanh Tam Bonsai Vocational Training Cent

 

Brush to remove moss

 

 You can purchase these at the stores of Thanh Tam Bonsai Vocational Training Center


Professional Bonsai knife

 

Jin/ Shaki tools





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