Bonsai tools are created with shapes, sizes and sharpness to do specific jobs and do them well.
Hundreds of different designs and sizes can be found on-line, in shops and catalogs.
These implements are available individually, as well as in sets.
It's a good idea to do a little research, before you buy your first tools.
Understand there are many different grades of these implements.
The least expensive equipment is often very poor quality. They may break and/or lose their cutting edge quickly.
Shop around. If they seem too cheap, it's probably for a good reason. Be cautious.
If you're just getting started, go easy. In the beginning, you need very few tools.
Don't be tempted by the exotic selection available. In time, you will know which ones are important for your particular needs.
Before buying a bonsai tool kit, make sure the set includes only the items you will use.
Otherwise, it may be better to purchase them individually.
Most "silver" tools are not stainless. Read descriptions carefully.
Whenever possible, buy in person.
This way you can see if the tool fits your hand. You can also see and feel how they open and close.
(At the very least, purchase from a "satisfaction guaranteed" vendor.)
Cleaning - Bonsai tree tools are no different from other garden tools. They need to be clean, sharp and disinfected. After use, wash in detergent and water, dry and oil them. Many people now use Camellia oil (available through many bonsai dealers.)
Disinfecting - Early on, I recommended cleaning with alcohol. Then a friend of mine, Jairo Betancourt (a lab specialist at the University of Miami) suggested a bleach solution, opposed to alcohol for resolving pathogen problems.
"Although soaking tools in alcohol for up to 30 minutes does serve as a disinfectant, a quick douse does very little.Dipping your tools in a bleach solution (such as 10% laundry bleach/ 90% water) for a minute or so between cuts is a quicker, more effective method to avoid transferring pathogens as you move from one plant - or even one part of the same plant - to another."
Keep the cutting edges sharp. A dull blade may damage or break a branch or stem instead of making a clean cut.
I was never very good at the traditional method of using sharpening stones and oil. When I discovered this sharpener, my problem was solved. Very easy to use!
No bigger than a pencil, it can go in any type of wrap or case. Many bonsai suppliers carry it.
Just ask for the "orange handle blade sharpener".
If you prefer the traditional way of sharpening, read the article on Sharpening Bonsai Tools.
In addition to the basics, one of my favorites is a 'freebie,' read about John Naka's recommended -- Magic Cloth
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