It does sound like the shear's blade is misaligned. Generally, people
don't use a lot of thin 'jewelry' metal with them, so the tolerance
between the cutting edges is set with a little slop. Two piece die
sets are also engineered with slop (which would never do in my world
of tight-fitting pancake dies (yes, the entire universe does in fact
revolve around pancake dies (^). The big warehouses I send people
to for copper sheet are notorious for loose shears and edges with
I would get that alignment tuned in and see how it behaves. The
thinner you want to cut, the tighter and more even it will need to
be. Some brass and nickel siver is very uncooperative in the thinner
gages unless the shear is tip-top. It's surely ok to exceed it's
stated capacity with metals softer than mild steel, but if you ever
need to cut some 10ga 14k , that could be a problem.
Another issue might be the hold-down device. Is there a spring-loaded
bar going across in front of the blade, that presses down on the
stock when you stomp?. Those are nice but get in the way when working
with small pieces.
If there isn't one, or it's not working, that would contribute to
I don't quite get what you mean about scissors vs. guillotine, so
I'm leaving that alone.
Good luck with it (and the rest).