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Cutters for small curvilinear shapes

If you had a budget of $100 to buy a tool to cut one-off, curvilinear shapes approximately 1" by 1\2" from 24 gauge hard sterling sheet, what would you choose? Thanks!

This topic was covered in a recent discussion, but I can’t find it. The general agreement was that aviation snips work well for this applicarion. Thicker material may need a little more help such as a bench shear. Some are able to do fairly large curves and the open throat type shears will cut both straight and curved. You may be able to cut 24 gauge with a a heavy duty pair of sissor type snips. Don’t skimp on what you buy as this is a tool that will be around a long time. Don’t forget your jewelers saw. I often times sketch the shape on a piece of address label material and stick it on the sheet that I want to cut. I saw just outside the line and then either file or use an expanding drum on my lapidary lathe with a 220 to 600 grit belt to get to the final line. Regardless of what you use, you will likely have to do some clean up of the edge when you are done cutting it out. I find that, if I set my rolling mill just a hair thinner than the material, you can pass it through your mill to even up the edge. Others may have some better ideas…Rob

Hi Rob, thanks for the great overview!
In my hands, the aviation snips caused too much distortion and lacked the maneuverability I need for tight curves and left hand/right hand direction changes.
I’d like to be able to cut shapes as if they were paper so maybe scissors would work.
Any recommendations for scissors by brand and model number would be very helpful.
Thanks again!

Problem with scissors are the scissors themselves. As you cut the part you are pressing down to cut the metal is where the sheet moves towards. You need something that cuts where you have more manuverability. I know this is overkill, but the only one that I know shear wise is a beverly shear. Maybe a smaller one would work for you. I’ve used them to cut large circles and snake shaped cuts on larger sheets of metal. They also handle thicker gauges with ease. If it is a large sheet, you may need a second person to help guide the sheet while you bring the cutting arm down. beverly shears are not cheap, and the knock offs from China are crap.

Aggie, do visual/virtual handstands of joy for this is my last day of physical therapy for two years when I have my knee replaced!!!

I’ve used this scissors from Rio Grande & it worked well for me. Fumasi 60 Rockwell Shears. Item #: 111249. All the best!

A classmate last year used good quality bonsai scissors, which were better than the titanium scissors I was using.

I mentioned an open throat bench shear in my previous reply. As Aggie posts, they are also called a Beverly shear. They appear to allow you to do what you want to do, but for a bit more money than you want to spend. The shear that I bought a couple years ago is mainly a straight line shear that isn’t limited in the total length that you may want to cut. It will also cut a wide curve because it is kind of an open throat. You can buy a Beverly from most of the suppliers that we deal with. The shear that I bought is a less expensive option from Woodward Fab and it serves my purposes well. They sell both a throatless (Beverly), type shear and the one that I bought for less than 300. I have been very happy with the shear that I bought. It allows me to buy large sheets of copper and brass and cut them down to the size that I need and also cut out shapes that can be further refined on a sanding wheel or with a file. My .02…Rob

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Hi kjingersoll, thank you for the exact co-ordinates!

Hi lastleaf: maybe the universe just suggested I take up bonsai cultivation to go along with the jewellery…thanks!

Hi Rob, you’re giving lots of good advice. I see there’s a small beverly shear on
Do you have any experience with their tools? They have a lot of tools geared toward smaller applications, such as making jewellery.

Other than machine tools, no. I believe that Beverly refers to a type of design and you may see the design under different names. The key is that it looks like a pair of bench mounted hand shears. Good luck and let us know what you decide on, it may be of help to someone else…Rob

I love Micromark. Not for everything, but they do have a number of unusual items that you don’t see elsewhere. Also good for tiny brushes, sanding tools and other handy stuff thst modelmakers use.

Joyce Chen Kitchen shearers are pretty amazing too. Thinner blades than Aviation shearers but will cut 22-20ga metal like butter

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Bonsai scissors? I use them to trim Bonsai it is very easy to pinch your fingers. Be very careful if you are cutting metal you could end up with a huge blood blister on your finger