David wv

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Trying to figure out what tools to buy, keeping it $150 or less. I am leaning towards this Tian set. http://www.tianbonsai.com/beginner-...nless-steel-standard-quality-level_p0183.html. The Tian tools look like they are well made and are not too expensive. Does anyone have any of these tools and how do they compare to other brands. Other questions, stainless or carbon steel, (matter of opinion probably) and is there much difference in the beginner/standard grade Tian tools and there professional grade tools, not too much price difference. Or should I just use that money to get a pair of shears and a concave cutter that is better quality. There is so many different styles of shears. Is there one type of shears that would be better for all around use.
 

Wires_Guy_wires

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I never found Japanese made or Japanese style tools comfortable to work with. I don't know if the Japanese have small hands or if they're just into hurting themselves.
Those scissors are a pain after a while, so I switched them with regular pruning scissors. Same goes for the wire cutters, I found a high quality one in the hardware store for less than 10 euros/10USD.
Concave and branch cutters from bonsai stores are superior to the ones I find in hardware stores though.. I can't replace those.

I'm a fan of working with tools I find comfortable, it doesn't matter to me how it looks. It also saves a bunch of money. My hardware store wire cutters literally have a life long factory guarantee.. My 'bonsai' wire cutters were 40 bucks and if I want them replaced I'll have to ship them back to China.

Not really helpful in your search, but it's an idea worth playing with.
 

HENDO

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I bought this little Tian set and the concave branch cutters and knob cutters are very nice:
The quality is there for sure in materials and craftsmanship. Can't beat stainless IMO, dealing with corrosion is a pain especially for lazy people like me who don't clean tools after every use - just gotta know how to sharpen.

However, I then acquired a used set of American Bonsai tools which are now my go-to for day-to-day. I paid much less than what they list on the website for beat up tools, but they cleaned up / sharpened well using a sharpmaker. The have a nice 6pc set online but out of the $150 budget... however check out the reconditioned ones!:
Also, the AB scissors I find are a good size and don't hurt my hands like the smaller Chinese/Japanese ones.

I have 3 shears/scissors that are used often enough that I'm glad I have them:
1: "Slim" Refining Scissors for smaller branches and tight spaces:
2: Standard Scissors for larger, more robust branches:
https://www.americanbonsai.com/American-Bonsai-Stainless-Steel-Scissors-p/ab100-09.htm
3: Cheaper pair of Chinese bonsai scissors for cutting roots etc.
If you want to have bonsai-specific tools you could probably just get away with 1 and use a branch cutter for larger branches, household scissors for roots.

I agree 100% with @Wires_Guy_wires on the wire cutters. Just get the hardware store ones, same with pliers if you're just starting off.
 
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Colorado

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I’d go with Joshua Roth as @PiñonJ mentioned.

I got a Chinese set awhile back, NOT Tian. But nevertheless, I had a bad experience. Tools breaking, becoming loose, etc in no time.

I’ll go with the tried and tested brands from now on.
 

David wv

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I bought this little Tian set and the concave branch cutters and knob cutters are very nice:
The quality is there for sure in materials and craftsmanship. Can't beat stainless IMO, dealing with corrosion is a pain especially for lazy people like me who don't clean tools after every use - just gotta know how to sharpen.

However, I then acquired a used set of American Bonsai tools which are now my go-to for day-to-day. I paid much less than what they list on the website for beat up tools, but they cleaned up / sharpened well using a sharpmaker. The have a nice 6pc set online but out of the $150 budget... however check out the reconditioned ones!:
Also, the AB scissors I find are a good size and don't hurt my hands like the smaller Chinese/Japanese ones.

I have 3 shears/scissors that are used often enough that I'm glad I have them:
1: "Slim" Refining Scissors for smaller branches and tight spaces:
2: Standard Scissors for larger, more robust branches:
https://www.americanbonsai.com/American-Bonsai-Stainless-Steel-Scissors-p/ab100-09.htm
3: Cheaper pair of Chinese bonsai scissors for cutting roots etc.
If you want to have bonsai-specific tools you could probably just get away with 1 and use a branch cutter for larger branches, household scissors for roots.

I agree 100% with @Wires_Guy_wires on the wire cutters. Just get the hardware store ones, same with pliers if you're just starting off.
Thanks, decisions decisions. The American bonsai tools are super nice and I am a sucker for well made tools.
 

David wv

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I’d go with Joshua Roth as @PiñonJ mentioned.

I got a Chinese set awhile back, NOT Tian. But nevertheless, I had a bad experience. Tools breaking, becoming loose, etc in no time.

I’ll go with the tried and tested brands from now on.
Good to know, thanks.
 

David wv

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I never found Japanese made or Japanese style tools comfortable to work with. I don't know if the Japanese have small hands or if they're just into hurting themselves.
Those scissors are a pain after a while, so I switched them with regular pruning scissors. Same goes for the wire cutters, I found a high quality one in the hardware store for less than 10 euros/10USD.
Concave and branch cutters from bonsai stores are superior to the ones I find in hardware stores though.. I can't replace those.

I'm a fan of working with tools I find comfortable, it doesn't matter to me how it looks. It also saves a bunch of money. My hardware store wire cutters literally have a life long factory guarantee.. My 'bonsai' wire cutters were 40 bucks and if I want them replaced I'll have to ship them back to China.

Not really helpful in your search, but it's an idea worth playing with.
Good to know thanks.
 

Warlock

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Good info.. Thanks.. I was looking for same info
 

David wv

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Just wanted to give a update, it might help some other people out. I got the stainless pro series tian tools from there ebay store, they are pretty good tools. They did need sharpened right out of the box, but I like really sharp tools with a nice polished edge. The steel isn't the hardest but isn't super soft either. At first I sharpened the shears at a single bevel on the same angle as the main grind (if that makes sense) but it was to fine of an edge and would deform the edge when cutting larger branches that were harder wood. I had to go back and create a second bevel that was a couple degrees more, but that is still sharp enough to shave arm hair. Once I did that they are holding up well. I think they are very well made. If I had to buy tools again, I think I would spend a little more (or just get less tools) on some Japanese or American made tools and probably carbon steel instead of stainless, even though the stainless is very nice because I don't have to worry about rust. But I am not disappointed with the tian tools for the price.
 
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I never found Japanese made or Japanese style tools comfortable to work with. I don't know if the Japanese have small hands or if they're just into hurting themselves.
Those scissors are a pain after a while, so I switched them with regular pruning scissors. Same goes for the wire cutters, I found a high quality one in the hardware store for less than 10 euros/10USD.
Concave and branch cutters from bonsai stores are superior to the ones I find in hardware stores though.. I can't replace those.

I'm a fan of working with tools I find comfortable, it doesn't matter to me how it looks. It also saves a bunch of money. My hardware store wire cutters literally have a life long factory guarantee.. My 'bonsai' wire cutters were 40 bucks and if I want them replaced I'll have to ship them back to China.

Not really helpful in your search, but it's an idea worth playing with.


What are those wire cutters called ans where did you buy it per chance
 

Wires_Guy_wires

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I bought them at a local hardware store here in the NL's @Mara of dragon clan
On your side of the world they're probably called 'mini bolt cutters', or at least that search term yields similar cutters on Ebay.
 

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