By Dylan Grantz

I think everyone who works with bonsai needs a branch bender. A few years ago, I did not think it was a necessity. After a few years of bending larger branches and trunks by hand, my thumb on my left hand was shot. Now, I can’t bend even medium size branches without pain shooting down my wrist. Pain is a great motivator to get your brain working, and I have to say, this is the best my brain has worked in a long time!

The needed parts to make your bender:

The parts needed for your branch bender.

  • 1 Alternator arm bracket (Mr. Gasket Co. part #9851) $ 12.99
  • 1 foot length of 5/16" rubber fuel line $0.79
  • 2 5/16" x 2" carriage bolts $0.32
  • 2 5/16" flat washers $0.08
  • 2 5/l6" bolts $0.10

Total $ 14.28

The alternator bracket and the rubber fuel line can be bought at an auto parts store. The nuts, bolts, and washers can be purchased at any hardware store. Be sure to buy carriage bolts because you will have to use two wrenches to tighten the bender up if you purchase regular bolts.

Now that you have your parts, it is time to put it together. Just place both bolts through the slot on the curved end of the alternator bracket. Then, put the washers on and then the nuts. Slide one bolt all the way to the end of the slot and tighten it. Just hand-tighten the other bolt so you can slide it back and fourth in the slot. Then, cut two 1-1/2 inch lengths of the rubber line to cover the exposed threads of the carriage bolts. Now, slide the pieces of rubber hose over the ends of the bolts, and you are done.

Completed branch bender.

Now, I know you are thinking, how does he use this gadget? Simple! Each bolt acts as one of your hands. The bolt on the far end of the bender acts as the hand you hold stationary when bending a branch. The other bolt acts as the hand that actually applies the bend. If you think of using it this way, it is simple; but, don’t forget your branch bending rules! You can snap large branches like a twig with a big bender like this. So, please be careful and bend SLOWLY. It works great and is under twenty bucks. Heck, it is even chrome plated!

Updated December 11, 2007