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Bench top shear


I have been looking for an inexpensive bench shear/brake. I found one
at Harbor Freight. It is an 8" bench top shear/brake for 159.99.
Would appreciate any advice about this or any other bench top shear.

Thank you
Cin Hollins


That one is a knock-off of a very expensive Swiss model.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t work nearly as well as the real thing (I
got mine on sale for something like fifty bucks, which was more than
it is worth!)

Subsequently, I found a used guillotine shear from a sign-making
shop, used to cut brass sheet to size for engraving signs. Got it on
ebay for about what that HF piece of trash lists for.

Bob Edwards
Chromis Designs
San Francisco


I think this is the same one I commented on a few years ago.

I fixed it and kept it but have made some attachments i.e an infeed
table use as an outfeed table to cut duplicate strips/ Otto Frie
sells the Swiss made original… Expensive and the accessories for it
are that too!


I have made some comments on some other bench shears too.

You have to be careful with most tool capacity ratings. The salesmen
are over zealous.

Since then Durston is selling a good one and the Diarco shear is
being made again by the original US makers.

I wish I had bought one many years ago.

Harbor Freight will accept returns. I would hope they are made right
now!. You can’t expect much from the Chinese untrained assemblers at
the prices!!



If that is the shear that I am thinking of, then it cuts on the
upstroke instead of the down stroke, which makes it a little less
accurate. Also you’ll have to tweak the blade position a little bit
before you get a good clean cut. That being said, for the money,
it’s a good buy, but think of it as a starter tool.

My 2 cents,


My first bench shear was one of those Harbor Freight things. It sort
of worked, but the quality (precision machining, type of steel) was
not high. It now sits rusting in my garage under a tarp. I then
bought a 6 inch PEPE guillitine shear and have used it for several
years and am contented with it, except for the fact that it only
cuts 6 inches wide. Because I have my students use a lot of 2 x 2
inch copper squares for their early soldering exercises, I cut a lot
of copper sheet. Having a 12 inch guillatine would be helpful. One of
the features of the PEPE I really like is the metal hold-down bar.
This is a bar that presses down on the sheet on the near side of the
blade and keeps the metal from moving as it is engaged by the blade.
It’s held by a pair of adjustable thumb screws on either end. You
adjust it for the thickness of the sheet, then rotate a lever on the
side of the shear and the bar presses down on the sheet while you
cut. This is especially helpful when cutting, say, a 6 inch wide
strip from a short sheet. I’ve have access to the Durston shear at a
club I belong to and it a lot. Like all Durston products, it’s
really well made (and very heavy) and has an excellent adjustable
stop on the back side (The PEPE has one, too). Unfortunately, the
Durston adjustable stop uses the English measuring system of
fractional and decimal inches, not millimeters (Odd, I thought the US
and Albania were the only remaining metric hold-outs!). The Durston
does not have any kind of hold-down bar on the front side, so it IS
harder to hold down a short bit of sheet with one’s fingers as one
cuts it. Another guillatine shear I’ve been looking at is the Accu
Cutter. ( It’s
primarily used by the sign industry. I have not actually used one,
but the specs sound pretty good. It has a hold-down bar on the front,
similar to the PEPE. The 12-inch Durston and Accucutter cost about
the same, a little over a grand. For now my little PEPE 6-incher
works for me.

Denny Turner


I bought this one and it works fine.


I bought a small guillotine shear from Pepe for 239.00. Works fine.


I wanted to purchase a Durston bench shear #113-517 in Rio’s
catalog, but at $1,190. and due to some unexpected expenses, I had to
indefinitely postpone this. Are there any other bench shears that are
comparable to this, at less expense? I found a bench shear on Harbor
Freight’s website (I know, no comparison!) for about $160, but I’ve
gotten a delay in shipment, backordered for over 2 months. Other than
me holding off, saving the money to get this top of the line product,
any other suggestions?

Sharon Perdasofpy



I've gotten a delay in shipment, backordered for over 2 months.
Other than me holding off, saving the money to get this top of the
line product, any other suggestions? 

I don’t know anything about this shear, but I do know that sometimes
products are available in the Harbor Freight stores when they are on
backorder in the catalog. If you buy one, let us know how it works.



Hi Sharon,

This can be done in a pinch.

You buy the best quality straight tin snips that you can, lock the
bottom arm in a vice, and use a piece of steel pipe on the other

This will work well if you’re on a budget.

Tin snips come in many sizes, and are great for cutting sheet,
however they are not designed to cut rod, however if you are using
precious metals then it should be fine depending on the gauge of the

Regards Charles A.


I got mine from Warg Enamels, think it might be a Beverly? (I’m on
the road so can’t check, sorry!) Not a Durston, that is for sure, but
it works for my needs. Now when I hit the lottery… Durston here
I come!

Beth Wicker


I am using an heavy old manual paper cutter which cost me $ 10.00. I
have re sharpened and re adjusted it like scissors - NOT CHILD SAFE!.

It works very well for up to 18 gauge copper and silver. Width of
cut, over 12 in. For cutting bezel strips of 24 - 26 gauge it’s

I can flatten any twist remaining between a heavy plastic block and
a 3 lb. soft face hammer. I have a rolling mill which I can use as
well to very lightly roll the strips.

Facing Medicare, Oh Joy ! Working with several Native American Silver
smiths, Oh Joy for real.

The difference between Got To and Want To - Sublime



How do you sharpen the blades?


Take a look at McMaster-Carr’s shears here:

They’ve a much better selection and return policy than HF.

Mike DeBurgh, GJG
Alliance, OH


My old paper cutter had a wooden body and a heavy cutting blade which
had a large spring attaching the moveable blade to the stationary
blade. I cleaned off the little rust and corrosion with a medium to
fine ( 320 to 400 ) diamond hone. A good small diamond file (1 x 3 ")
of a similar grit would probably work.

Clean off the corrosion, if any, using light oil on the large flat
side of both blades keeping the hone absolutely flat to the surface.
You are just removing the larger amounts of corrosion and making the
original surface clean and shiny DON’T CHANGE ANYTHING.

Then keeping the original angle of the top beveled edge, draw file
the top cutting edge until it is clean and shiny as well. Again, you
are not removing much metal, just refining the existing edge. The
bottom blade will be done the same way.

Look at the blades nearest the handle end to see what the blade
angle is. Keep the hone at that angle as you draw it toward and from
the hinge end which would be the most worn.

You may wish to try cutting both 22 gauge metal and 28 gauge metal
first before you do any sharpening, or cleaning. There is an
adjustment nut on the large spring holding both blades together. You
can tighten this some if necessary.

I cut the metal by pushing the upper blade handle against the lower
blade handle and then, push it down.

Some one at a sewing center who sharpens scissors or some one who
works at a printing shop can show you how to sharpen the blades, or
even sharpen it for you.

But try it first, then you might tighten the spring a little bit at
a time.

Be careful, the big ones can cut off finger tips.


Here is one source for the paper cutter I have been using on 22
gauge silver and 21 gauge copper

Check EBay for " vintage paper cutter ".

The Ingento brand looks like what I have

Here is an accompanying jpeg with more

Rots o ruck

The Ingento brand looks like what I have 

Let me second this. I have an Ingento (ca. 12.5" X 12.5"), purchased
even cut 20-gauge nickel-silver sheet with it.

Judy Bjorkman