Many people who work a lot with black pine bonsai develop a special relationship with tweezers. Fall, winter, and sometimes spring and summer offer opportunities to remove copious amounts of needles from pine bonsai in later stages of development. I like tweezer work because it leaves pine foliage looking clean and even – balanced, in a word. I’ve also finished plenty of days’ work with sore fingers.
After a very brief stint with low quality tweezers, I switched to Masakuni tweezers. I like these a lot and have used them for more than 10 years. Recently, however, I began seeing folks using a different kind of tweezers. I was curious, so I picked up a pair from Boon at a BIB workshop.
I couldn’t use them at first as they needed a slight modification. By grinding the tip of the tweezers – common practice among folks who use this brand – the tweezers can enable very accurate tweezing. Pictured below are my new tweezers next to an older pair of a similar style.
New tweezers below, an older pair above
New tweezers and modified tweezers
The older pair is made by Van, the newer by Plum. I don’t know if they’re commonly available in the U.S. or not.
Plum brand tweezers
I’m happy to report that the Plum tweezers work really well. I’ll admit that I like finding excuses to try new bonsai tools, but it’s even more rewarding to discover simple enhancements to the standard tools.
After sharpening the new tweezers, I walked straight toward the pines in my garden and – noticed that I’d yet to remove this year’s pine cones. To save the trees from putting energy toward developing cones, I removed each with a twist of my fingers. I think the colors are great. Here are a number of the first, and some second-year cones I removed.
Young pine cones
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