Bonsai Knife for Grafting

I’m somewhat ambidextrous,but rely mostly on my left for detailed things.I bought a right handed grafting knife a few years ago,that the guy told me could be turned into a lefty and said he could have done it then,if he had his sharpening stone.So,it didn’t sound too difficult.A couple years later and I’m still working at getting it to make even cuts.
I found this left handed bonsai knife online for a decent price.I’m wondering if anyone has or does use something like it for fruit tree work. Thanks,Brady


I don’t know if this would help you, but for a long time I just used the cheap disposable break-off type razor blades. They were always sharp, so that was an advantage. The disadvantage is that the blades are a bit too flimsy and so it’s harder to make good cuts.

I’ve not tried a Bonsai knife for grafting, but below is what I use. It’s some type of electrical knife I bought in a box full of stuff at an auction. It would seem to work right or left handed (although I only use it right handed). My point is that I think many types of knives might work if they fit your hand well.

I use an Opinel pocket knife. Super sharp, easy to clean off.

I haven’t seen one quite like that.Maybe it’s the light,but the blade looks kind of golden,like brass,but I’m sure it’s steel.I do notice quite a few people use the utility/box cutter type knives.It’s probably me that needs more practice.
I may have one of those somewhere brownmola.I used them for fishing.
I may also have messed up the cutting edge of my graft knife,trying to change the bevel.I’ll keep working at it.Has anyone tried the Lansky sharpener?Do they work for a one beveled blade? Brady

Another Opinel fan here.
Opinel knives

I’ve noticed people using Opinels for grafting, but on the Opinel website there’s no mention of a grafting knife, and I haven’t seen a left or right hand designation on an Opinel knife either.

What is it that makes them so good for grafting (thin blade?), and which side of the blade is the bevel?

I use a #6 Opinel with a carbon blade. It has a thin blade and both sides of the blade are beveled. I’m a lefty and have no trouble making nice cuts with it. With a Japanese water stone I can put a wickedly sharp edge on it.


I think the blade on my knife is stainless steel. Even though the picture makes it look sort of gold, it’s actually shiny silver colored. I like it because the blade is not completely straight from the back of the blade to the edge. Of course the back of the blade is wider than the edge, but the blade doesn’t have a straight taper from back to the edge. Instead, it’s sort of dished, or concave, like old straight razors used to be. But I think the blade is a bit stiffer than an old straight razor.

Tina has a good reputation for grafting knives, but I really think any knife which fits your hand is the best.

Here is a video of any expert grafter and he uses an old pocket knife (around 1:03 min. in the video) which looks like he cut the end off of. He makes a nice cut with the knife in the scion (around 5:00 min. in the video

If you don’t already have a knife you like, you might look at Omaha Knife company. I’ve bought a couple items from them, and received good service.

Some people like only one edge beveled on the knife. I think Tina knives are like that. I used to own a grafting knife with only one edge beveled and didn’t like it. I lost it somewhere. One of the things I need to do with my current grafting knife is put some red electrical tape on the handle. Green handles are the worst for losing knives (or other tools) in the orchard.

As far as the Lansky sharpener, it’s interesting you brought that up. I just ordered a Lansky sharpening kit (before I read your message). There are a ton of different kits out there, some really high end. I didn’t want to spend a ton of money, so I looked at a couple cheaper kits (Lansky and DMT, diamond kits). There were more complaints about the DMT.

Lansky was a bit more money, but that’s what I ordered. Plus I added the Ultra fine stone to the kit, which was a little more money.

What really sold me on the Lansky was watching a couple videos of some guy (not a Lansky rep) showing how to get the most out of the sharpening system. It didn’t look too hard to use and when he was through, his knife shaved like a straight razor.

I can’t get a razor edge on a knife using free-hand stone sharpening, if the knife steel is hard. I’ve tried on several different stones, but I just can’t do it. So I thought I’d give one of these cheap knife sharpening kits a try.

I use the exact same blade. It does get super sharp…have to be careful not to make a giant split when I do my cleft grafting : )

The old straight razors like the barbers used.That might be interesting to get one and make a grafting knife with it.
I like that video.It’s the first time I’ve seen someone slice an outline of the scion into the bark.Usually only one slice is made and then forced apart a little.His was more like a side graft,using the bark as a flap.Also good use also of common items like foil and bread bags.The tops of the scions were left uncovered too.They were fairly fat and probably could grow before drying.
I’d like to know how the Lansky kit works out.I think I first was reading about it on a hunting site.They were writing about growing and propagating things that deer eat.
This is a picture of a stone I bought from the guy who was selling the grafting knives.It’s meant to be used on an already sharp blade.I’m not sure what the material is,feels like smooth marble.
He had a booth at the All About Fruit Show in Canby,Oregon,put on by the Home Orchard Society every Fall. Brady


A straight razor might work as a grafting tool, but because the blade swings freely, I’d think it would be challenging to get good leverage to make good cuts. In other words, unlike a pocket knife, there is no mechanism to keep the blade locked open.

That’s a good looking finish stone you’ve got there. I don’t know if I have any as smooth as marble, but I have some pretty fine grit stones. I once bought a box of old stones on ebay in an attempt to try to find some stones I could use for hard knife steel. It had 4 or 5 stones of all different grits but I still couldn’t get a hard blade razor sharp with any of them. Someone once gave me an Arkansas stone, but that didn’t work either and I gave it away. I’ve successfully gotten softer steel blades sharp enough to shave using a free-hand stone, but not hard steel.

I suspect the extension agent in the film above has the same problem. I don’t know if you noticed in the video, but he said, “The reason I use this knife is because I can sharpen it.” I noticed his blade is badly worn from years of sharpening, but still seems to make very straight cuts.

greyphase,what grit was the japanese waterstone that worked for you?



I have a 1000/6000 combination stone. I was never proud of my knife sharpening skills till I got this :grinning:.