As a beginner to the wonderful art of bonsai, you may be wondering what tools you need to get the very best from your bonsai projects.

Although there are many extensive tool-sets available such as this fantastic 14 piece kit, they can be rather expensive and it may be difficult to justify such an expense to yourself (or your partner) when you are just starting out.

The good news is that in the beginning all you really need are a pair of concave cutters and some pruning scissors.

Concave Cutters

Concave CutterConcave cutters or concave pruners are designed to remove undesirable branches from your tree. Although they may appear to be "just another cutting implement", they are actually a precision tool that enable you to remove a branch without causing too much damage to your tree or shrub.

They do this by creating a cut that is concave (hence the name), which enables the wound to heal quickly with less risk of infection and without any 'ugly' scarring once it is fully-healed.

Concave cutters come in various sizes, however I would recommend the 200mm (8 inch) variety as they are effective on a variety of different sized branches.

A pair of half decent concave cutters will set you back around £10 GBP ($15 USD) and will provide adequate cuts until you feel ready to get yourself a set of high quality precision bonsai tools.



Pruning Scissors

Pruning ScissorsPruning scissors are used to cut leaves, twigs, buds and small branches on your bonsai.

They are available with two handle designs; one design looks very much like a conventional pair of scissors with holes for your thumb and index finger and the other has a longer handle and bigger holes for your thumb and multiple fingers. The design you choose will depend on your own personal preference.

Another important design feature of dedicated pruning scissors is that a gap remains between the shafts when the scissors are closed preventing any unintentional crushing of other parts of your bonsai when you are cutting in a hard-to-reach region.

Like the concave cutters, pruning scissors will cost you around £10 GBP ($15 USD).

When you're starting out on your bonsai adventure, it is possible to use a pair of nail scissors as an alternative to specialised pruning scissors.

Unfortunately, there is no substitute for concave cutters, so if you only ever buy one bonsai tool, this is the one to get.



A Nice Little Bonsai Tool Set

If you're in the US, do a nice little kit containing both concave cutters and pruning scissors for 20 bucks. They're not the highest quality but are well worth the money for a beginner bonsai enthusiast.


Other Bonsai Tools

There are a plethora of other bonsai tools that you will encounter at some point during your bonsai journey but the concave cutter and the pruning shears (or nail scissors) are all you really need to begin.

I plan on creating an article discussing more intermediate and advanced tools in the very near future - to keep up to date with this and other goings on here on Bonsai for Beginners, subscribe to the newletter.