by Dale Krueger
Check these out. One of my favorite new tools for bonsai are the homemade chopsticks I make for re-potting trees. I learned about these during my studies with Ryan Neil at Bonsai Mirai. They are more versatile and a lot stronger than most of the Chinese restaurant chopsticks I had been using. You can break off various sizes of bamboo and cut to different lengths so that you can get to all of air pockets in the soil around the tree roots in the pot. The most difficult part to making these is finding a cane of bamboo of a suitable thickness. I purchased a 10′ section 2 years ago and have used about 2 feet of it. The only things you make these are the bamboo, a root cutter and a sander, or grinding wheel. Once everything is laid out, it takes less than 5 minutes to make one. They last a really long time and if they start to get dull or misshapen you can re-shape them again by sanding or grinding.