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Basics of Grades and Styles of Bonsai Tools

A basic guide to the different grades and styles of Bonsai tools:

First and foremost, you should know that not all Bonsai tools are created equal - A good bonsai tool can, and should, last a lifetime. The bonsai tools we offer are high quality Japanese forged steel tools, not mass-produced Chinese  or Korean tools - and that's important. These tools are hand forged in Japan by craftsmen that have been making metal tools and swords for generations.

Our Bonsasi tools fall into three basic categories: Standard Grade, Professional Grade, and Master's grade.

Standard grade:

These are very high quality tools that are forged from solid steel and have a tempered steel blade. They're excellent Bonsai tools at a great price.. These tools will last a very long time with a little oiling, cleaning and proper storage.

Professional Grade:

Professional Grade tools are forged from solid steel and have a higher grade finish and superior blade than the standard level tools. The blades of these shears are made from highly refined steel ingots that are forged into the tool separately. The quality is superb.

Master's Grade:

Master's Grade tools are made out of solid Stainless Steel (not plated) and are handmade from start to finish. Stainless steel tools hold their sharpening for years and will never rust. This tool will give you a lifetime of easy care.

Five Essential Bonsai Tool Styles 

Concave Cutter:

Concave cutters are almost always listed as the top Bonsai tool to have because nothing beats a concave cutter when you're removing a branch or making larger crops. This tool makes and indentation when cutting and the wound heals faster and is much less prominent. A Concave cutter is an essential tool.

Butterfly Shears (Hasami):

The "Butterfly" shaped shear is the most famous Bonsai tool. It's easy to use, very powerful because of the spread angle of the handles and has lots of room in the finger holes which makes it easy to use even with gloves on. This the most popular Bonsai tool in Japan. (Hasami means "shears") 

Long Handle Shears (Ashinaga Hasami):

The "Long Handle" shear is the American Version of the Butterfly shear. Favored in the U.S. because of its familiar scissor feel. Identical in every other way to the Butterfly shear. (Ashinaga means "long handle")

Twig Shear (Kiri Hasami):

This shear is very similar to both the butterfly and the long handle shears but is as slender as it can get. It's excellent for reaching deep into foliage or small areas of your bonsai tree. (Kiri means "wood." Kiri Hasami translates roughly into "twig scissor"

Azalea Type Shear (Satsuki Hasami):

A very popular shear that's all precision. More petite than the three shears above but perfect for the fine tuning type pruning jobs. Don't let the size fool you, they can handle larger jobs too. They're an excellent compliment to the other shears. (Satsuki mean "Azalea," but that just refers to a style; they're great for other trees too.)

Shopping Tips:

The Butterfly, Long Handle and Twig Shears are identical to each other on the blade end of the nut (pivot point). The significant differences are in the handles. Remember that the wider the spread of the handle, the butterfly being the widest, the more leverage you get on the blade. In other words, the more powerful they are generally. On the other hand, the more narrow the tool, the more useful in reaching tight spots.

These tools are very sharp. Always remember: Safety first.

DISCLAIMER: The content provided in this article is not warranted or guaranteed by Bonsai Outlet. The content provided is intended for entertainment and/or educational purposes in order to introduce to the reader key ideas, concepts, and/or product reviews. We are not liable for any negative consequences that may result from implementing any information covered in our articles or tutorials. Happy bonsai gardening.