Tools - do we know what we get ?

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Tools - do we know what we get ?

Post  marcus watts on Wed Dec 18, 2013 7:33 am

Hi everyone,

Tools - not yet another "what brand is best / worst" thread but a question about what we the end user think we are buying and what we may be actually getting. My perception when buying a tool was that I was getting a solid piece of real metal that was forged, shaped, tempered and sharpened. With use they last well, with misuse they bend or chip the cutting edge (cutting old copper wire with branch cutters etc). blackened steel tools are easier to sharpen, stainless are harder to sharpen but hold the edge longer etc

Over the last few months i've had a few tool failures - mid priced well branded models - jin pliers x 2 both snapped off one complete jaw while peeling back juniper deadwood with a twisting motion and one pair of large branch cutters that again lost a complete jaw section. to be fair I was cutting off a branch just under the equal width of the cutter, so it was beyond what is recommended. Once broken I could instantly see the tools were nothing like my perception - they were cast metal not solid metal. This lead to the realisation they were actually made in moulds with a casting process - far cheaper production, far cheaper product, but most importantly it makes a far weaker product that will have a massively increased chance of snapping rather than bending

Do we know the brands that are made from cast metal and the brands that are made from real solid metal ? I need to get a few new tools that will do a lot of work on a weekly basis and I do not want a cast product again. Price is not the option here as it is no good in this case spending £30 on cast tools that fail and need replacing when £60 or £70 would have got the 'real deal'. This thread is not about saying 'cast tools are cheap and rubbish' - if they are sold honestly and are priced low there is absolutely nothing wrong when used at a hobby level (we stock tools that I now know are cast in our shop with no bad customer feedback) - I need a few tools that can cope with commercial workloads, working on big, old, hard wood at times, sometimes working for several days per week etc

specific tools that do a lot of work
branch cutter, knob cutter, long handled jin pliers with flat, matching jaws

thanks for any observations

marcus

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Re: Tools - do we know what we get ?

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Wed Dec 18, 2013 9:01 am

Marcus,

I am a little confused, cast metal is not solid metal and then annealed or not at the working zone?
Later.
Khaimraj

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Re: Tools - do we know what we get ?

Post  brett2013 on Wed Dec 18, 2013 9:30 am

I am a fan of Kaneshin tools, so that's where I get my essential ones ...

http://kaneshin.shop.multilingualcart.com/index_en_jpy.html

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Re: Tools - do we know what we get ?

Post  Ashiod on Wed Dec 18, 2013 10:23 am

By "solid metal" do you mean forged? Your problem is very likely caused by poor quality alloys or poor casting processes. Most commercial and industrial woodcutting/working tools are cast, and are usually good quality. You might look into having a local blacksmith forge a set of tools to your specification. It would be pricey, but you're more likely to get a good quality, strong, long lasting tool since the blacksmith has his reputation at stake. Forged materials are also less likely to have microscopic fractures which commonly cause cast tools to break or shear.

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tools

Post  abcd on Wed Dec 18, 2013 4:54 pm

MASAKUNI, KANESHIN, NOBUICHI, best tools forged in japan

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Re: Tools - do we know what we get ?

Post  marcus watts on Wed Dec 18, 2013 9:15 pm

abcd wrote:MASAKUNI, KANESHIN, NOBUICHI, best tools forged in japan

yes i agree here - my tools that have never broken come from makers in this list, obviously because they are forged from pure solid pieces of metal.

I think from first hand experience over years of use cast alloys are substantially weaker and will potentially fracture with use - it makes me wish took makers using moulds to cast ready made tool shaped pieces and then assemble them would say so, equally makers using craftsmen to fashion the tool from an ingot of metal should shout from the roof tops. I still see a definite place in the market place for cast tools as long as they are priced accordingly

Interesting about the Nobuichi range - I could most likely import and stock these in the UK as a retailer so it will be worth making further enquiries.

Masakuni have 2 price structures for their tool range and the most expensive say 'custom made to order' and are about 5 times more expensive - does anyone know what extra quality you get for the extra cost? is it the metal quality or are they folded like samurai swords ?


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Re: Tools - do we know what we get ?

Post  Marty Weiser on Wed Dec 18, 2013 10:22 pm

There are two things that impact the quality of a metal part - the alloy and the processing.

Most tools are made from steel which is an alloy composed of iron, various alloying elements, and some carbon in most cases. The composition of high quality steel tools is carefully controlled - too much or too little of most elements will result in an alloy that is too soft, too hard, too brittle, or with some other undesirable trait.

Steel tools can be cast to shape, cast and then forged to final shape, or forged forged to shape from a billet. During forging the steel is heated and deformed which aligns the grains in the metal - much like the grain of a wood part that is made from a bent branch rather than cut from a nice straight branch. The aligned grains result in a better properties for a tool - both fairly hard to avoid deformation and tough so they are not brittle. It is fairly now common to cast a blank that is approximately the right shape and then forge it to the final shape - not as strong as one forged from a billet, but far cheaper. To my knowledge nearly all high quality steel tools are forged to some extent (although I am sure there are some that are injection molded from exotic alloys). The major exception would the large cast iron (technically not a steel) parts used to make the bodies of metal and woodworking equipment.

The final processing step for a steel tool is heat treating. For steel this normally involves heat to red hot, quenching to make it very hard (and also brittle), and tempering at moderate temperature to get rid of part of the brittleness. For some tools the cutting edges are heat treated differently than the main body - we want them harder so they hold an edge longer, but this is more expensive.

My guess based upon the original post is that either the tool was cast and lightly forged or was made from inferior steel.One way to tell if a part was only cast is to look for the mold parting lines - one or more continuous raised lines where the parts of the mold came together. You can check for poor quality of a broken tool by attempting to bend the remaining parts. Too soft and it bends, too hard and it shatters. If you attempt to bend it by hitting it, make sure to protect yourself and those around you from flying chunks of metal.

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Re: Tools - do we know what we get ?

Post  dre on Thu Dec 19, 2013 12:33 pm

marcus i'm a fan of kaneshin tool i'm almost done buying everything i need at the moment since i switched tool companies from another company to kaneshin and i couldn't ask for better quality. some say they are a little on the heavy side but that just comes to preference.

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Re: Tools - do we know what we get ?

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Thu Dec 19, 2013 1:15 pm

To All,

to be frank, if my Masakuni broke, I would probably just make a new one. I don't have the patience with all this shopping around, and this is not rocket science.
I already pound metal lumps into rings from titanium, niobium, tantalum, surgical grade stainless steel and 8k gold alloys. I doubt iron will prove to be a problem.
In fact if titanium at grade 3 and so on, could hold an edge, I would just use that.

By the way apart from the smaller concave pruner and a root pruner, I don't see any reason for other so-called Bonsai tools. [ said in a soft gentle voice ]
Merry Christmas. rendeer  rendeer  rendeer rendeer   santa  rendeer  rendeer  rendeer  rendeer 
Khaimraj

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Re: Tools - do we know what we get ?

Post  Todd Ellis on Thu Dec 19, 2013 1:22 pm

I enjoyed reading about metals and forging tools; thank you for the thread.

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Re: Tools - do we know what we get ?

Post  Fore on Thu Dec 19, 2013 3:06 pm

I recently bought a SS wire cutter from Ryuga. Very nice fit and feel. Not sure of others opinions, but I really like this one.

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Re: Tools - do we know what we get ?

Post  Guest on Thu Dec 19, 2013 3:26 pm

Fore wrote:I recently bought a SS wire cutter from Ryuga.  Very nice fit and feel.  Not sure of others opinions, but I really like this one.


My original set is almost two year old now. been using it almost everyday, from Thick new branches and up to hardest tropical deadwood like phempis. It is still going strong.

I think if we used decent tools properly and based on the specification that it says, it will last longer. I upgraded my tools to stainless steel.

regards,
jun  Smile

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Re: Tools - do we know what we get ?

Post  augustine on Thu Dec 19, 2013 4:35 pm

I'm with Khaimraj, I only have "bonsai" concave cutters and root cutters. Use regular tools otherwise.

Also, it is possible to find regular forged pliers with narrow jaws that replicate the function of jin pliers.

Happy Holidays to all.

Augustine

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Re: Tools - do we know what we get ?

Post  Fore on Fri Dec 20, 2013 1:12 am

jun wrote:
Fore wrote:I recently bought a SS wire cutter from Ryuga.  Very nice fit and feel.  Not sure of others opinions, but I really like this one.


My original set is almost two year old now. been using it almost everyday, from Thick new branches and up to hardest tropical deadwood like phempis. It is still going strong.

I think if we used decent tools properly and based on the specification that it says, it will last longer. I upgraded my tools to stainless steel.

regards,
jun  Smile

Nice to hear your positive experience with these tools jun. It is my first and only SS tool. I do need to upgrade as by basic tools, which are about 20yrs old. I bought some other, larger black steel tools a couple yrs ago, and now I'm sorry I didn't get the SS tools. They just feel great to work with. So right now, I'm 'ugrade' envy Wink

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Re: Tools - do we know what we get ?

Post  brett2013 on Fri Dec 20, 2013 2:33 am

Khaimraj Seepersad wrote:
By the way apart from the smaller concave pruner and a root pruner, I don't see any reason for other so-called Bonsai tools. [ said in a soft gentle voice ]

Khaimraj

Same here, my specialized bonsai tools are just a concave pruner and root hook, as well as a trimming scissor, my most used tool. I just could not find any like it at the stationery shop, the hardware store, ... at least in my city.

http://kaneshin.shop.multilingualcart.com/goods_en_jpy_68.html


.

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Re: Tools - do we know what we get ?

Post  prestontolbert on Fri Dec 20, 2013 4:42 am

Ask any knife maker. The very best stainless steel is not as good as the very best carbon steel, but costs more than 5 times as much for the material. If you can keep your tools clean and oiled, there is no reason to use stainless.

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Re: Tools - do we know what we get ?

Post  marcus watts on Fri Dec 20, 2013 7:37 am

prestontolbert wrote:Ask any knife maker.  The very best stainless steel is not as good as the very best carbon steel, but costs more than 5 times as much for the material.  If you can keep your tools clean and oiled, there is no reason to use stainless.

excellent info earlier about metals and forging, thanks

The above is exactly my experience with my fish filleting & kitchen knives. my japanese carbon knives are infinitely better than the stainless ones - they sharpen to a razor edge with relative ease and hold the edge for a very acceptable working time. The stainless knives are more robust but do not sharpen as well or feel as sharp in use.

I think in the tool league tables:

blackened steel tools of all brands in the low to mid price ranges will likely be cast in moulds and they have a lower maximum tolerance of use before bending or fracturing - I'd say 6-7 of all my failures fall into this bracket of tool, made up of tip sections of concave branch cutters, complete jaws coming off on pliers & concave cutters, but thats a lot of cutting on a lot of trees

The same companies ranges of stainless tools will have more tolerance to heavy use, so failures in use are less likely - I've only had one stainless wire cutter jaw fracture in 24 yrs but i've only ever bought that one single stainless tool !

My black masakuni tools have so far coped with all the use thrown at them so i think there is a degree of getting what you pay for. Time to drool over Yoshi's mail order site I think !

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Re: Tools - do we know what we get ?

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Fri Dec 20, 2013 10:51 am

I believe what is trying to be discussed is which company a beginner can purchase a tool from and not have to lose an arm or a leg, and if they quit the hobby, will not lose an arm or a leg.
Anyone, know of a decent, affordable tool company, and where to purchase?


Masakuni - made to order [ 70,000 yen ] $670.34 concave cutter
concave cutter normal [ 13,800 ] 132.15
http://www.j-bonsai.com/product-list?keyword=Concave+cutter&Submit=Search

It would probably help the newbees if we stayed off the manufacturing process and focused on use.

For example, this is how I know it - never cut anything thicker than half the length of the concave cutter's blades, and even less if the wood is very hard.
Also cut using the back section of the blades and not the front.
Keep the normal iron cutters wrapped in a well oiled cloth and remember to wipe down after use.

On our side the breaking of the blade part came from over ambitious bites into wood.
Later.
Seasons Greetings
Khaimraj

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Re: Tools - do we know what we get ?

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Fri Dec 20, 2013 1:11 pm

Okay, so to see what this problem is, I went and bought a cheapo concave pruner.

http://www.amazon.com/Bonsai-Concave-Branch-Japanese-Gardener/dp/B00H15LDMG/ref=sr_1_2?s=hi&ie=UTF8&qid=1387539108&sr=1-2&keywords=concave+pruner

It is larger than what I use, but I will adapt/adjust.
Should cost me about $20.00 US when it arrives on my door step, but may take 3 to 4 weeks, so I can't respond until then, sadly.
Later.
Merry Christmas
Khaimraj

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Re: Tools - do we know what we get ?

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Mon Dec 23, 2013 10:54 am

Introductory to Bonsai - supervised by Kyuzo Murata
AND the care and use of bonsai tools

by Masakuni Kawasumi [ 1971 ] $4.75.

Good book on how to use the tools.
For example - page 77 - No.16 - Nippers [ concave pruners ] --- use---- nipper for twigs.

Explains how much force to use when working with the tools.

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=sr_nr_seeall_3?rh=k%3AMasakuni+Kawasumi%2Ci%3Astripbooks&keywords=Masakuni+Kawasumi&ie=UTF8&qid=1387795947

Merry Christmas
Khaimraj

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Re: Tools - do we know what we get ?

Post  Robert Steven on Fri Dec 27, 2013 2:22 am

This explaination might be interesting for you : http://ryugabonsaitools.blogspot.com/p/quality-control-of-ryuga.html

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Re: Tools - do we know what we get ?

Post  Todd Ellis on Fri Dec 27, 2013 3:51 pm

Robert, thank you for sharing this; great read and information.

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Re: Tools - do we know what we get ?

Post  Robert Steven on Sat Dec 28, 2013 2:35 am

Thanks Todd.

For USA, Joshua Roth is the exclusive agent, and for other countries, can be found here : http://ryugabonsaitools.blogspot.com/p/ryuga-products.html And RYUGA give a two-years guaranttee for all of their products.

Happy 2014..Indonesian Bonsai Year !!!



Last edited by Robert Steven on Mon Dec 30, 2013 6:47 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Tools - do we know what we get ?

Post  Down Under Jason on Mon Dec 30, 2013 6:42 am

I'm in the process of replacing all my tools with new Kaneshin ones. I bought a pair of trimming scissors first, and they've just been amazing. Just holding them, you can feel they are made for quality.

Might be a little pricey, but I think its worth it. I originally bought cheap tools, and have since had all of them either break, or just bend out of shape at the slightest bit of pressure. The Kaneshin ones are powering along and handle anything I throw at them

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Re: Tools - do we know what we get ?

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Thu Jan 09, 2014 9:38 pm

Well the $11.00 US concave pruner came three days ago, as expected total cost about $21.00US.
Total length about 8" [ 20.3 cm ]

Very non descript package, just says - Bonsai Tools - made in China and the back has Bonsai, with images of other tools listed as D1, D2, D3 and so on.

Properties + the blades are very sharp, and the blackened finish was coming off in your hands, until I gave the whole tool a wipe down with mineral oil [ read baby oil - nice perfume -chuckle ]
Been cutting all the twigs in the yard as I would do with my smaller Masakuni.
So far does what it is supposed to do.

I keep my tools wrapped in an oiled cloth, by the way.

Will let the group know if it metal fatigues or other whilst in use.
Later.
Khaimraj


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Re: Tools - do we know what we get ?

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