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During one of the now countless lockdowns our state has been through, I enrolled myself into a Tafe Engineering (Machining) class as a point of difference in what at the time was a fairly monotonous pattern of “covid normalcy”.

It’s been a great change of pace and learning to run Metal lathes, mills and other machines (that seem to always be plotting to kill you or remove you digits) has been very enjoyable.

As re-potting season is gearing up, it was about time to steal another of my wife’s chopsticks to aid with soil settling. This year however, I decided that with 100’s of thousands of dollars worth of machines at my disposal that I should make a tool to do the job rather than raiding the cutlery draw.

So I fired up the lathe and started turning down some steel and brass.

I turned a handle out of some brass stock and made the shank from some 6mm mild steel bar. The two pieces are fitted together in a low tolerance fit and are held together with thread lock. That way should I ever want to change the shank (or switch to a stainless one), I can heat it up, break the bond and swap it out relatively easily.

I’ve repotted a number of trees with it already and it seems to work well. It’s certainly heavy in the hand and feels solid.

I enjoyed making it and there is something really nice about doing work with tools you have made yourself. Which brings me to a question back to who ever is reading this:

Does any one have any good idea for bonsai tools I could try to make in the future? If you have a good idea, please comment below. If it is something I could see myself using I will more than likely have a go at making it.

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