I have been around this game a long time now, about half my life in fact. Who knew little trees were so engaging? One thing I know is that, much as in other areas of life, there is a lot of crap out there just sold to get your money. As a practical old fashioned bloke I do like tools but there are two things I hate. Cheap crap tools and useless tools. I own a lot of stuff but only have a small place (relative to what I own) and having stuff around that I don’t use is not an option. My wife has one of the largest collections of kitchen gadgets in Britain which for someone who does not really cook in and adventurous way is a little beyond me. Still ????
Over the years I have been in bonsai I have owned every tool there is and even a few that there aren’t. One thing I know from experience, you get what you pay for, cheap is cheap. I don’t understand the mentality of a lot of bonsai folk, everyone bragging about how cheap they got everything. I was raised in a world where life was a ‘pissing contest’. As kids we made up spectacular and implausible nonsense about what we payed for everything, thus gaining a degree of gravitas in the eyes of our compadres. But I digress, a very great deal of what is out there is not of much use. However everybody works in a different way and I have never seen two folk with the same tool kit. Therefore it is possible to justify the existence of most of what is available. What you need and what you want are rarely the same thing and in my experience a bonsai toolkit needs only about seven items to allow 98% of all work to be done in a very professional way. Having said that I have used about a thousand different tools before settling on my little kit that fits in my back pocket, providing I am not wearing my spandex 😉
Of my seven ‘go to’ tools two are wire cutters. My most expensive tool is a Masakuni wire cutter (£275.00 wholesale price). That sounds like a lot of money but I have never regretted buying it. Cutting wire is easy enough when applying it but cutting wire off a nice tree is a demanding task. The other wire cutter looks to be on it’s way out now. It’s a rare day a new tool comes along that is worthy of the name and I was certainly sceptical about this new WIRE CUTTING SHEAR. It sat on my desk for several weeks before I put it to use. I have to say I was VERY impressed.
Bonsai wire cutters are different from other wire cutting tools. They need to cut right to the tip and so most have short jaws to allow good leverage. However they also have to allow good access. Cutting wire off a roll requires nothing special but poking around in the canopy of a mature bonsai does. A tool needs to provide sufficient power to cut with one hand, or two fingers. It needs to cut cleanly without twisting or folding the wire. Consider also the fact that we use wire from a half millimetre right up to six millimetres. A lot to ask and the reason why you cannot buy one tool to do the job. There is a lot a good bonsai wire cutter needs to do and that’s why it is the most expensive tool in my kit.
Wire cutters can be divided into two categories. Plier type tools have jaws that butt up or barely appear to cross and are used full in the hand. These are normally stout tools and allow the cutting of heavier gauge wires. Then there are the shear type tools where the blades cross. These tend to be made as a heavy type of scissor with finger loops and are best suited to lighter cutting. There are a few tools that combine elements of both designs but there is not a single tool to do everything.
These new shear type wire cutters bridge the gap between heavier tools and the fine long handle wire cutting scissors. I have big fingers and the little scissors are not nice to use. This new tool allows accurate removal of light to medium gauge wire, cuts very cleanly without twisting and only requires a minimum of effort to cut. The length allows unhindered access in awkward areas and the tool is very nice to use. This design does not require a SHARP edge, the cutting ability is in the geometry. So long as the pivot is oiled regularly (as with all tools) this should last a very long time and I predict will become one of you most important ‘go to’ bonsai tools.
We have limited stock at this time but more are on the wing as we speak. You should get one, you will very quickly wonder how we ever managed without them.
am I the only one who has read all of that and still can’t remove the thought of Graham in his spandex, which incidentally has burnt it’s way into my mind… Great read as always but excuse me whilst I go and find something to erase that thought from my mind 😀
Graham in Spandex? Love to see the photo, or then again maybe not. Old tools are great, I still use my original 40 odd year old socket set regularly. Thanks for this very informative post on wire cutters, something similar on other bonsai tools would I am sure be of use to many readers.
These are GREAT cutters! Removed what seemed like miles of wire from a dense old JBP. And preserved all the new, delicate interior buds. Couldn’t have done this with my old wire cutters.
Fast shipping to the USA too.
p.s. Where’s the spandex shot?