Why Bonsai Tools?
The art form of Bonsai originated in China and has since been perfected in Japan. The Japanese designed many tools over the years in their never ending quest to perfect the art of Bonsai. Today, Bonsai is appreciated and practiced throughout the world because of their exemplary dedication and perseverance.
What you need to get started
In the event you are just entering the world of Bonsai and, with this guide, discovering that Bonsai may appear to be more complex than you initially imagined, take heart- it need not be! First of all, don’t be overwhelmed by the wide variety of tools you see. Only two are essential to get started- #1: a Concave Branch Cutter, and #2: a very sharp, scissors-type shear. For example, we recommend our #8169 Novice Concave Cutter and our #8163 Ashinaga Shear as the most basic tools to begin with on limited budgets. The Ashinaga Shear can be substituted with most any sharp, standard shear. Our exceptionally sharp, lower cost #130 GardenCut™ Shear, lends itself very well to a wide variety of uses, in the event Bonsai does not remain your life blood! There is no substitute for the Concave Cutter, however, so it is the first truly Bonsai tool required for your tool box. As numerous projects go by, you will appreciate the advantages of acquiring additional tools that will assist you in your own quest for perfection.
To get started in the right direction, keep in mind that when the right tool is purchased, it’s an investment that will save you time and energy and will allow you to do tasks right without damaging your plants. When you just try to make do, you’ll make do forever, and it will most likely show in your efforts.
Although Bonsai tools are expensive compared to standard hardware store tools, you will soon discover having the right Bonsai tool to achieve your artistic goals will be well worth the difference. Ask any experienced Bonsaiist!
The Four Tool Grades
We take pride in supplying a wide range of superior Japanese tools to the Bonsai community at competitive prices. Our product lines are oriented towards providing the most appropriate selection of tools within each of the four tool grades described below.
In general, the life of a tool relates directly to the hardness of the steel used in its construction, to the manufacturing method employed, and to the detail taken during assembly. The greater the detail and the harder the steel, the more difficult it is to manufacture, hence the variations in cost from grade to grade.
‘Joshy’ Student/Novice grade
Our ‘Joshy’ Student/Novice grade consists of the most basic tools needed by beginners. They are constructed with a high quality steel and are finished very well for the price. Their cutting edges provide good utility as well as good life. Some suppliers offer wider ranges of beginner grade tools and represent them as comparable to better grades in order to offer lower prices. Often it is difficult to distinguish between two different grades of similar tools. The surest way to know that one is getting the quality expected is to buy a reputable name brand that clearly states the tools’ construction.
Our Intermediate grade provides better quality, longer life tools in a wider assortment, appropriate for enthusiasts with 1 to 10 years of experience. High carbon steel extends the life of our tools in this grade, and provides cutting edges that stay sharper longer.
Our Professional grade is by far the widest range of tools we offer. Longer life is achieved using steel alloys with higher contents of carbon than in our Intermediate line, and more attention is paid to detail during their manufacture. These are lifetime tools for Professional and Master Consists, as well as serious enthusiasts who appreciate fine tools.
Our Master grade consists of stainless steel shears and cutters in both standard (8 inch) and small (7 inch) sizes. When considering stainless steel tools, one should be aware of the difference between tools described as ‘stainless’ versus ‘stainless steel’. Tools advertised as ‘stainless’ are made with regular steel and then plated or coated with a rust-resistant finish which can eventually wear off, exposing the steel construction beneath and losing its rust-resistant utility. True stainless steel, however, keeps its stainless properties throughout its life, regardless of wear.
In addition to being made with superior grades of stainless steel, the cutting edges of our Master Grade shears are laminated with a high carbon compound to extend sharpness and life beyond the best of stainless steels. This additional process adds cost, but the results are tools that truly fit the designation of ‘Master Grade’
The JRL Bonsai Tool Warranty
Joshua Roth tools are warranted to be of the highest quality materials and workmanship for a period of three years after purchase. If you are dissatisfied with the performance of your JRL Bonsai tool for any reason, return it to us, along with a copy of your original sales slip, for a free replacement or refund, as you prefer. Before returning any product, please contact us to obtain a Return Merchandise Authorization (RMA) number. We cannot be responsible for items returned without our authorization.