In considering the general aspect of bonsai and before applying the techniques it is good to keep in mind and know some principles and news aimed at modifying the appearance of branches, roots and trunks with appropriate methods. To obtain a good appearance of these works of art of gardening, it is necessary, as is the case for normal plants, to perform operations of trimming, pruning and anything else that can contribute to making the bonsai unique. To carry out the work of realization, development and maintenance of the bonsai technique, some tools are needed that are used not only for a simple practical method, but each made for a specific function. Most of the tools needed to put into practice the bonsai techniques correspond to the normal gardening equipment and therefore can be found with some ease in specialized shops. However, there are some special tools commonly used in Japan, but difficult to find (or very expensive) in the West. Fortunately they are not fundamental tools with the only exception of the special shears able to cut the branches from the trunk, leaving on the same a concave wound. If possible, it is always advisable to keep them all together on the work table so that they are always at hand during bonsai processing. To start with bonsai processing, we therefore need important tools.
BONSAI: THE ORIGINAL WORKSHOP
A Japanese-style bonsai workshop is made up of many useful and fundamental small tools. First of all you need a revolving table that will be used when you have to submit the bonsai to some particular operation. In fact, there will be the possibility of observing it from all sides with ease and without making the plant undergo too many movements. The original Japanese revolving tables are equipped with a brake that locks them in the desired position. The most important elements, however, are the scissors and they will need different and of various sizes. These are used to cut, trim the foliage, prune useless or sick branches with pruning. It will be good to also have some of the Chinese type with a long handle. This last type allows you to reach the critical points between the branches and the foliage with a firmer hand. The scissors are also in the shape of pliers that are used to cut branches and stems of a certain consistency, such as the concave cut one. This is a brilliant Japanese instrument that allows you to create a concavity at the point of the trunk from which a branch comes off and during this same operation, which will welcome a new bark in its growth, preventing it from exceeding the surface of the trunk and creating an unsightly protuberance scar. The workshop is completed with the use of typical Chinese sticks that are used by the thin part to gently push the soil between the roots during the potting operation.
BONSAI: THE THREE SCISSORS
The fundamental scissors for bonsai processing are three and each has a different shape and function, studied in detail to allow operations to be carried out without the use of special cutters or saws to remove or cut thick and resistant shrubs. The first scissor we analyze is to cut the roots. This one has a very small cutting part but on the other hand the handle is very large and the handle allows you to insert more than one finger between the rings, not even four fingers allowing you to practice a minimum effort to cut roots that are sometimes very hard with steel wires. In simple terms, it is a so-called advantageous type of lever. The second type of scissors for bonsai is used to cut the sprouts especially when they are attached to each other and thanks to the thin tips allow us to be able to cut them one by one, without affecting the adjacent ones perhaps not to cut. The third and final type of scissor used in bonsai processing serves to eliminate small twigs. Its shape obviously the same with respect to the previous one is very elongated both as a handle and as a cutting part. With this tool the twigs to be eliminated especially those in depth, can in fact be cut with an operation to the limits of surgical precision.
Bonsai scissors: BONSAI THE TOOTH SCISSORS
The substantial difference between the art of creating and caring for bonsai, between Chinese and Japanese culture consists precisely in the cutting methods used by the two ethnic groups. While in fact the Japanese have handed down the art of bonsai and their fine cutting tools over the centuries, the Chinese are a people more reluctant to traditions and have continually changed the type of bonsai scissors due to laziness and comfort. In fact the three scissors have been replaced by two other types always with the sharp cutting edge to reach the roots and the shoots, but with the difference that the cut is no longer smooth but toothed. According to recent interpretations, shearing with this new type of scissor allows a less clear cut but in compensation, as the brittle flaps obtained from the cut, closing up, form a sort of cork in correspondence of the cut thus eliminating the risk of seeing the living part of the branch, blackened because it became soaked. Ultimately we can say that the art of bonsai to be practiced and applied according to the original systems must be equipped with these precious and small cutting tools.