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Bonsai Scissors

          

First a word on the importance of quality. Whilst all levels of tooling will do what they are designed for, the difference in raw materials make the difference as to how well they perform and how long they will last.
In the UK as of 2013 there are loosely speaking three levels of tool generally available.
Chinese budget tooling, often sold on a yellow backing card is a popular choice for beginners and will satisfy the purpose of introducing someone to the hobby. If they lose interest then, comparitively speaking, financial outlay will not have been great. If they are bitten by the bug they will appreciate that an upgrade to better tools is now required.

A recent arrival on the UK scene is a range or in fact two ranges of high quality chinese tooling that is of excellent quality and appears to rival the Japanese equivalents. Only time will tell how durable they really are. They are sold under the Ryuga brand name but can also be in equal quality as an unbranded tool from some traders.

Top of the pile we find Japanese tooling, notably Yagimitsu brand which has been accepted as the best for many years. I use these tools and would recommend them in all case as being the obvious choice if you intend to stick around for a few years and can afford the extra cost

Amongst the two better ranges there is the additional choice of black carbon steel or stainless steel. The jury is still out on this question. Stainless steel is considerably more expensive and will retain its good looks for longer. However some users have found that stainless steel does not hold an edge as well or for as long as carbon steel.

Bonsai Scissors come in several shapes and sizes each of which has a designed purpose.

General purpose scissors or Japanese style scissors have sturdy blades and a gap between the handles designed to minimise the chance of trapping fingers and foliage between them.
japanese general purpose bonsai trimming scissors
I have always found these blades to be too coarse for trimming of leaves and foliage as much for the lack of "feel" as anything which may be an effect of the shaped handles.

Fine trimming scissors also referred to as long handled scissors
210mm japanese long handled bonsai fine trimming scissors
These come in 3 standard sizes 150mm, 170mm and 210mm. The fine tips of these scissors and the long, straight handles combine to give excellent feel and allow access to the inner regions of foliage.
I have always used a 210mm pair of these for most trimming jobs.

Root scissors have sturdy blades and large rounded handles. I have never fully understood the design benefit of these handles as they can be difficult to control. These scissors should be kept purely for root work to prevent the spread of disease between roots and foliage. Also bear in miind that they will be cutting through dirty, gritty soil so will not hold an edge for as long. For this reason this is one area where cheap, disposable scissors may be a better option.
japanese bonsai root pruning scissors

Not mentioned here are the very small 105mm and 120mm scissors that are widely available. These are poor quality and if you are serious enough to have read this far, they have no place in your journey.

Current range availability
chinese yellow card
chinese high quality
Japanese
Carbon steel
Carbon steel
Stainless steel
Carbon steel
Stainless steel
general purpose scissors
YES
YES
YES
YES
YES
Root scissors

YES

YES
YES
YES
YES

150mm fine trimming

NO
NO
NO
YES
YES
170mm fine trimming
YES 185mm
YES
YES
YES
YES
210mm fine trimming
NO
YES
YES
YES
YES

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WHAT IS BONSAI? - A brief introduction defining Bonsai

GETTING STARTED - A few simple pointers to get you going

TOOLS AND TECHNIQUES - An outline of the basic requirements

THE CHINESE ELM - Everybody starts here, some home truths

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS - A whimsical look at some common problems

BONSAI CALENDAR - What to do and when to do it

STYLING - DEVELOPING THE EYE - Slightly more advanced but essential

5 MINUTE RAFT PLANTING - A simple project

THE ILLUSION OF BONSAI - More food for thought

BONSAI SOIL - A look at the essential of mixing a good Bonsai potting medium

BONSAI FEED - An overview of feeding practices to get you thinking

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