Besides the basic tools like wires and cutters, you’ll also need a few other tools in order to save yourself time, and hassle. Growing bonsai should not be exhausting and boring work. It should be something enjoyable which you look forward to, and tools do help to make the whole experience more worthwhile, as well as reduce the risks of injuring your bonsai tree unduly.
Pruning saws used for “other” gardening tasks are also helpful in growing bonsai. They are small and lightweight, and can go in between the nooks and crannies of the branches. They are able to fold into the handle for safe carrying and storage.
These saws are much better than cutters for removing thicker branches, because opening cutters further than 60 degrees makes them harder to control. Also, cutters are designed to grasp and snip the entire branch in one cut. If you have to make more than one cut, the tool is too small for the job. That results in cuts which are not clean and ragged wounds don’t heal as well as clean ones.
Tweezers are a good supplement to the thumb and forefinger for pinching off dead or new growth, in order to refine the shape of the foliage. The tweezers designed for bonsai work have a small trowel at one end, which can be used as a miniature shovel to compact earth, arrange ground cover and a myriad of other fine-level work.
Root rakes are useful for clearing away the dirt and pebbles stuck around the roots, and combing tangled roots, during repotting. In growing bonsai, repotting is done every few years to prevent the tree from being “pot bound” or “root bound.” So, root rakes will come in handy during these times. It’s not advisable to shake the dirt out from the roots, because the trunk might get injured or worse, broken.
Small scissors are useful for cutting off leaves and twigs. For daily maintenance tasks, the small scissors come in real handy in shaping the outward edges of your bonsai tree and giving definition to it. If you have seen the bonsai masters at work, you will realize it is the scissors which they use most often, for everyday simple pruning.
There are lots of other small, specialized tools that make your work easier, which are really improvisations by bonsai gardeners, given the long history of bonsai growing. As you would have guessed, bonsai borrows a host of tools from conventional gardening, but there are some tools specific to bonsai alone. “Necessity is the mother of invention.”
Jin pliers are used to strip bark and create deadwood for decorative purposes. These are mostly 20 cm or 8 inches long.
Grafting tape and cut paste are helpful for healing accidents introduced during trimming and wire work gone awry.
Branch benders are a set of clamps used to supplement wire work.
Root cutters are specialized cutters that are meant to cut off troublesome roots safely.
There are many different types of tools in bonsai growing which are really only suitable for more experienced hands. Quality of tools is important, and for this, you would need Japanese made tools because the general view is that Japanese tools are of better quality compared to tools made elsewhere.