Unusual bonsai "tools."

So we all have our set of traditional bonsai tools; concave cutters, knob cutters, etc.  But before long, we need some other "tools" as we advance in our work.

Today's item is the very important... bicycle tire.

 Hybrid bicycle tire.

Hybrid bicycle tire.

Bicycle tires make excellent patches to protect our trees from physical damage when being worked. A piece of tire can protect damage to delicate bark and too much pressure on live veins. When we first start with smaller trees, many of us use thinner materials since they work with the lower pressures and tensions. But before long we realize that inner tube material or small medical tubing just doesn't protect the tree from stronger forces.

The photo above is of new tires. I keep an eye out for closeout sales at the big online bicycle outfitters. Even better is getting worn out hybrid tires from a local bike shop; often they're free. Old garden hoses are also thick enough to provide good protection. 

 Bicycle tire protecting trunk.

Bicycle tire protecting trunk.

So as you prepare yourself for next season's bonsai work, maybe a trip to the local bicycle shop is in order.