Which brand of stainless tools are the very best?

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Which brand of stainless tools are the very best?

Post  TpaBayFlyFisher on Mon Apr 06, 2009 8:56 pm

We all have our favorite tools, but which brand of tools do you consider to be the very best?

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Re: Which brand of stainless tools are the very best?

Post  TreeKiller64 on Tue Apr 07, 2009 1:33 am

WHO CARES!!!!
As long as you keep them clean and sharp,,,, regular forged metal do the same,,, right? At least that what
4 outta 5 bonsai artist recommend for their trees that need pruning.
cheers
KJ

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Re: Which brand of stainless tools are the very best?

Post  Kev Bailey on Tue Apr 07, 2009 6:16 am

And I have heard quite a few people say that stainless loses its edge faster than good quality Japanese steel tools. Judging from my limited experience with things like bonsai tools and saws, this seems entirely true. I have worn out 4 or 5 blades in a European manufactured saw in the same time as a fine toothed Japanese saw, that remains almost as sharp as the day it was bought.

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well.............

Post  TpaBayFlyFisher on Tue Apr 07, 2009 10:06 am

Clean and sharp are good, but that wasn't the question now was it........

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Re: Which brand of stainless tools are the very best?

Post  Jay on Tue Apr 07, 2009 10:54 am

I think the answer is subjective, there may not be agreement.
It's like with sports team (pick the sport)which is the best or which automobile is the best.....

My two cents
Jay

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Re: Which brand of stainless tools are the very best?

Post  Rick Moquin on Tue Apr 07, 2009 12:08 pm

TpaBayFlyFisher wrote:Clean and sharp are good, but that wasn't the question now was it........
Well... by the sound of your remarks go out and buy the most expensive ones. $$$ means quality doesn't it?

Any Japanese tools are of high quality. Avoid tools made in China, cheaper steel and low quality. The high carbon steel from Japan does a good job at a fraction of the cost.

My personnel experience with stainless steel knives is like Kevin says, they seem to loose their edge quicker. I will take Solligen steel over stainless any day of the week and 3 times on Sunday. My favourite (and best) hunting knife is an Old "Scout" (Solligen steel), paid $2.99 back in 1972 for it. It has outlasted and our performed many knives that I have acquired over the years to included but not limited to "Buck" knives.

Keep 'em clean and oiled and they will serve you well. My Joshua Roth tools are beginning their 6th season and have yet to be sharpened.

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Re: Which brand of stainless tools are the very best?

Post  JimLewis on Tue Apr 07, 2009 12:13 pm

My small concave cutters from Japan are going into their 15th year now. The hinge is a bit wobbly, but they still cut cleanly. Please don't ask for a brand name. If I ever knew, I don't now. I have a larger pair that I bought at some convention or another 5 or so years ago that also are still doing well, but I don't use them anywhere near as often.

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Re: Which brand of stainless tools are the very best?

Post  TpaBayFlyFisher on Tue Apr 07, 2009 1:35 pm

This is not the case of the new guy trying to cause trouble. I have bonsai tools, lots of tools of all kinds and makes. Some are just works of art to own [collect] others are used in front of others, but some sit on my benches 24/7/365/?.........those are almost always "stainless" because they get wet and lay there. I use them when watering-yes I do it by hand-when I want to clip something. I use small shears the most often.

But, I also collect handmade knives-high end stuff. I know steels very well and that for working knives, high carbon steel cuts the best, but dulls quickly. I love D2 tool steel for everyday carry. Stainless steels hold up to the elements better but have, in the main, inferior cutting characteristics.

Back to my question. At this point in life, I want to buy a few tools to assume the "all-day, every-day" roll. I wondered if anyone here has personal preference for any particular brand. Oh and Jim, I too have 3 tools that go in my pocket at workshops or demonstrations as they seem to do just fine for me.

Thanks for the suggestions.

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Re: Which brand of stainless tools are the very best?

Post  Rob Kempinski on Tue Apr 07, 2009 4:23 pm

TpaBayFlyFisher wrote:This is not the case of the new guy trying to cause trouble. I have bonsai tools, lots of tools of all kinds and makes. Some are just works of art to own [collect] others are used in front of others, but some sit on my benches 24/7/365/?.........those are almost always "stainless" because they get wet and lay there. I use them when watering-yes I do it by hand-when I want to clip something. I use small shears the most often.

But, I also collect handmade knives-high end stuff. I know steels very well and that for working knives, high carbon steel cuts the best, but dulls quickly. I love D2 tool steel for everyday carry. Stainless steels hold up to the elements better but have, in the main, inferior cutting characteristics.

Back to my question. At this point in life, I want to buy a few tools to assume the "all-day, every-day" roll. I wondered if anyone here has personal preference for any particular brand. Oh and Jim, I too have 3 tools that go in my pocket at workshops or demonstrations as they seem to do just fine for me.

Thanks for the suggestions.

I agree stainless tools don't hold an edge as well but if you accidently leave one outside for a few days they are not ruined.

I have tried several of the Japanese stainless steel bonsai tools. I can't say which of all the brands is best as I haven't used them all.
The Yagimitsu and the Ryuuko brand seem to be about the same quality. The Yagimitsu have more rounded steel sides and handle a bit better. I think the price is about the same although I haven't priced any lately. As I recall they were less than $100 each.
I have another brand of Japanese stainless steel tool but I can decipher the stamp and read the name. It does say it is "registered" but frankly this was my poorest performing stainless tool.

I have a spring loaded clipper with Katakana writing that says "Stainless Steel" and appears to be labeled "Onogi" in katakana. I can't recall where I bought this but I would not recommend this brand also. It quickly lost its edge and after a few resharpenings was not able to close all the way due to lost metal on the edge.

I've had a couple of Masakuni tools - and frankly was a bit disappointed in them. A small concave cutter bent during use and was impossible for me to fix without totally disassembling and then having to heat it to cherry red - and screwing up the temper. A spring loaded tool chipped very readily due to very brittle steel. I have not used the silver finish Masakuni - it is my understanding these are not stainless steel but plated carbon steel. If in fact they are more rust resistant and hold a better edge I might give one a try to see how it works out. They are very pricey though.

I haven't tried the Joshua Roth - although I suspect they are rebranding some other Japanese brands.
There is also Fujiyama, Yoshiaki, Kiku and Kaneshin to try but I have not purchased any of these.

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Re: Which brand of stainless tools are the very best?

Post  TpaBayFlyFisher on Tue Apr 07, 2009 8:29 pm

Thanks Rob. I have used Fujiyama, Masakuni and Roth. If I was a betting man I would wager that they are all made in the same factory. The size and shape are nearly identical and it would indeed be odd for tools to not vary in length and shape. Go to Google images and look at handmade knives to see how the oldest tools vary. My Fujiyama stuff seems to be made of more rust resistant steel and seem to hold up fine. I do sharpen with a stone once a year so perhaps that is why I don't fight dullness........I have a 10 year old rusty Roth wire cutter that is wonderful. I bought several of them and I give them as gifts to my bonsai friends and to fishing buddies-they cut stainless hooks better than any tool offered to that market.

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Re: Which brand of stainless tools are the very best?

Post  Alan Walker on Thu Apr 09, 2009 4:45 pm

Most of my tools are Masakuni, but that's mostly because they were the only game in town for for a long time, until Kiku came along and some of the others much later. Masakuni is generally regarded as the gold standard, but I haven't found the other Japanese brands to be a disappointment.
There have been a number of Chinese tools out. Like their pots, they started out with very inferior quality, but the Chinese have been getting better lately, and some will rival the Japanese in quality. I don't have direct experience with them, but I understand that Robert Steven of Indonesia has introduced a line of Chinese made bonsai tools which are supposed to be high quality. I would not hesitate to try them, based on my direct knowledge of Robert's high personal standards for quality.

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Re: Which brand of stainless tools are the very best?

Post  TreeKiller64 on Fri Apr 10, 2009 1:12 am

Well for what it's worth,,,(like we haven't heard that 10000 times)
Stainless is good for its rust resistance,, but loses the game when its loses it's edge, I find my steel
tools are much easier to re-sharpen after a "Mishap". I don't own any stainless tool but from being an ARMY COOK
and having to re-hone/ sharpen your tools of the trade, I would take a carbon steel tool over a stainless any day.
Just Mine,, Very Happy
KJ

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