Bench Shears

I have been through the archives and can’t find anything new on bench shears. I need to buy a general purpose shear that will allow me to cut down stock, trim the ends of pieces and maybe cut some wire. The quality of the edge is not as important flexibility in what I can cut. I like the looks of the Beverly Shear. Any suggestions or ideas are appreciated. Thanks…Rob

Hi Rob,
Ive had a browse on the net and Ebay, a 180mm sheet metal shear Chinese made, start here with free shipping at $30
Looked for a s/hand or new Beverley(nice!) couldnt find one here in the UK.
Ive something similar which clamps in the leg vice. Use it all the time. then ive igger ones with 8 in shear jaws with a 4ft long lever. Mainly for 1/8in steel plate tho, I now cut steel with a 4.5in dia by 1.5mm disk cutter in my angle grinder. No distortion of the material which you get with a shear…
Beverley looks nice if you can find a s/hand one!

I like the Beverly Shear, but my experience is only with model B1. It has a small footprint and cuts thick metal and curves easily.

The blades are short, so the maximum length you can cut is less than 3 inches. It’s impossible to maintain a straight and smooth longer cut. Therefore, it cannot replace a guillotine shear.

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Other stuff about the Beverly B1:

Similar to using hand shears, the cut metal tends to curl (unlike a guillotine shear). But that’s easily remedied with a leather mallet and anvil.

When you are making a long cut on a big sheet, the narrow neck provides space for the separate pieces to move out of the way, a feature which is really nice for curved cuts, especially long ones.

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I ordered an 8" throatless hand shear from Woodard Fab. Time will tell if it was a good choice. The person that I talked to was very forthcoming with the pluses and minuses of the shear and indicated that it is used by many people who do the work that we do. I only need to cut down larger pieces of stock to sizes that I can forge, texture and press. Stay tuned…Rob

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Robert Meitner
I do not know if you have made a decision,
I have a 12” Di Acro shear. They are listed
on EBay, around $1,000.
I have had it for about 15 years, and I can
cut up to 16 ga.,just have to move the sheet
over to where I can get the lever at an angle to
get the leverage I need.
One of the best investments I have ever made.
I cut my own bezel stock, I mill down fine
silver 1 ounce rounds or 10 ounce bars,that
alone has made it more than worth the price.

Richard…Thanks! See my previous post. I found a small inexpensive shear that I will try. If I discover that it has some shortcomings, but that I really need the tool, I will buy a better one based on my experience and the suggestions of others like yourself. This is how it went with my rolling mills. I bought an economy mill about twelve years ago and soon wondered how I ever got along without it. When one of the gears broke, I bought a Durston knowing that I would use it and that it was a good investment. Thanks again…Rob

I’m with Richard Hart - the Di Acro shear is the bomb. I got a 12" one about 18 months ago to cut precise rectangles for mokume. I absolutely love the hold-down that keeps the shear from pulling the metal out of square.

I have a throatless shear from HF and it does a reasonable job it’s intended to do at a great price, but I do agree that it is darn near impossible to cut a truly straight edge and for that you might want to look at a guillotine shear. I like it for the quick and dirty job of cutting stock that needs cutting without precision. You can cut a longer length by opening the blade and repositioning which is the whole purpose of the throatless design.

Peggy K.

I started this topic several weeks ago and promised to post pictures of whatever I finally purchased. I found a throatless 8" shear at Woodard Fab (Heck Industries). It looks like a standard straight shear, but because of the design of the outlet side, it is also throatless. That remains to be seen. For $126 plus shipping, it is a very heavy duty shear. It will readily cut 18 G steel as well as very thin silver with no problem. The cut is clean and ready to be finished. I will use it, at least to start with, to cut down large 12"X12" pieces of copper into 1X6 strips to make into anticlastic and synclastic bracelets. the people that I talked to at Woodard Fab indicate that it can cut both straight as well as moderately curved shapes (that also remains to be seen). More when I know it. Following are the pictures. I clearly need to build a bigger forming bench…Rob

I have one. My husband added a table to the left side flush with the cutter. It makes it easier to cut from larger sheets of metal.

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I need to do the same, but I need to build a bench first. Thanks for the picture…Rob

Hi Rob,

Were both into this engineering kit world, nice shear by the way.
But can you give me more details of the hyd press also in the pics.
1.The sq box section hollow?
2. does it go right through the base? and welded on the underside as well?
3. is the base sheet or solid steel?
4. Tonnage of the jack?
5. did you make it?
6. the circular gauge? is that a BSWG gauge or american standard whatever?
7 .The Durston, like mine with the sq roll grooves on the side of the roll. nice one.
PS, Just added more weights to my primary (best) fly press. Still barely enough. 1cwt now total each side.

Ted…After looking into making it and determining that, after buying the material and paying someone to weld it, I would not really save a lot of money. Finding a 20 ton jack with a gauge was also an issue. The real cost was in cutting out the platten guides and installing return springs. In the end I bought a Boony Dune 20 ton standard press. I am having a lot of fun with it. If you go to the Rio Grande website you can find a very good description that will answer your questions. It was also on sale during the holidays. The real expense is in the fixtures. I bought some from Potter USA and I have found a local retired machine shop manager with a very nice shop who will make just about anything that I ask him to make. I have also purchased a small MIG welder to start making ingot molds and whatever else I can think of to weld up. Lots of fun…Rob

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Ted…Yes, the gauge is a B&S gauge that I use all the time and my rolling mill is a Durston 130 with square inside rolls and outboard D type rollers. I am curious about coining, but the only experience I have is a guy with a home made drop press at a local Renaissance Fair. You seem to use a fly press. I have never seen one, will it coin?..Rob

Hi Rob,
Its 1am here so it will be a short reply till tomorrow, when Ill take some pics for you to look at,
of flypreses, coining presses and upload pics of my drop hammers.
Ive looked at the BD press video and the brass dies shown are NOT coining dies, but embossing dies. IE just bending metal, not coining in the currency/ money sense.
Thats a several orders of magnitude more difficult . The tonnage needed for a 1in dia by 1/8in thick double sided coin struck cold is , depending on the metal, from 150 tons. about half that struck hot,
500C. that can only be done with a drop hammer.

will it coin? even my 10 ton one 1in by 1/8th dia will not. But emboss? yes. More on that technique another time IF youd be interested.

  1. Where are you? im in Cent S UK. some 2.5 hrs by train fron cent London.
  2. I you were really interested in proper, as in professional coining youd be welcome to come for a few days to see how its all done.

Now to fly presses. Hand operated, screw, with top arm and weights thereon.
there are basically 3 types.
open throat, deep open throat and arch as in double sided.
They come in sizes from 1 ton to 10 ton. thats the force available on the punch between the base and the douvetail slider that holds the top tool below the screw.
Above 10 ton there friction screw type motor driven.

This one I found in a scrap yard before xmas for $50. Complete! its circa 1950’s B’ham UK made well known maker Sweeny bloxidge height 4ft ,weight 600 lbs 3in dia screw. Std open throat.
Around 6/ ton capacity.
A spare!


This is my precision press, also 6 ton but uprated to probably 8.
Its closed arch ie has pull down 1in dia load support to prevent spring in the frame. C 1900, the “T” slots in the base are not worn and is accurate to run open tooling ie no die sets.
This is specific for the jewellery trade as the dovetail slider has a 1 in 8tpi thread into which you screw the top tool. In this case im using it to mint a 1/2in dia button that will be the basis of a 4mm nut for my buckle assy. im using the middle of a “viking” victorian cape die.

Next is my drop press.

This is the portable assy of a medium one. anvil base 1/2 ton. total height 10ft. Hammer 275lbs.
approx tonnage 75/100, on a hard conc under base. On soft turf less.
The 4 castings cost me $400.00 in B’ham some 25 yrs ago. To build this complete structure approx 25/30 days. A winter project.
to assemble unload by hand from the commercial 7.5 ton truck, approx 1 day. total expo unit assy some 2 days.
With the right tooling coins ie accurate enough to to strike into a collar consecutive run of 500,
to international coin proof standard.
Back to fly presses, look out for one its such a useful tool for all kinds of work. but that would mean moving from a bench jewellers approach to an industrial production method.
The B’ham jewelley industry moved over to fly presses, drop hammers in the 1880’s and what ive here is just that.
nothing really new except the argon tig etc.
hope its of interest.


Neat stuff! I don’t see this type of tooling here in Central New York State other than in museums. Then again, it may just be covered with snow. So far it has been a real old time winter here. We have a local Renaissance Fair where there is a guy doing coins with a drop press. That is the only time that I have seen any equipment like that which you included in your picture essay. Other than for curiosity, I really don’t have any need for this type of equipment. At nearly 70 I still have a lot of tooling and material to work with to keep me occupied for the rest of my life (hopefully a long one). Thanks for taking the time to post your pictures and captions. I hope that it also helps others understand that of which you speak…Rob

Im the same, so re coining, if youve access to a library service, try and ask for
The Art and Craft of Coin making by Dennis Cooper published by Spink and Son in 1988 out of print current s/h price $300.00!
.isbn 0907605 27 3
I do hope you have lots of yrs ahead doing what you like. Im also the wrong side of 70 by 14 yrs. Blessed with useable health. Tho somewhat slower .

Just as an aside I just picked this shear up at Goodwill $20. It’s in excellent shape.

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