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Guillotine shear


I would like to buy a guillotine shear but I am would like a bit of
help to come up with a decision. Has anyone tried both the Pepe 6"
guillotine shear and the Rio precision 7" shear (the yellow one on
the Rio site)? Does anyone have any experience with either of these?
I mostly use 1 mm. silver and I would cut strips that range from 3
mm to 10 mm/15 mm wide. Which is the better tool as far as making
straight smooth cuts as well as ease of operating? A good quality
guillotine is also important.

Thanks for your help.
Velta (Toronto, Canada)


I like the Pepe brand-works great, has instructions for maintaining
the blades and their realignment should you try to cut something too
large for the blades, and they sell replacements if you don’t want
to resharpen em yourself… Forget the harbor freight made in china
ones - the blades rarely match up for precision cutting or the gap
between the blades is non-align-able, or your material will
invariably torque in the shear…Also check out Micro-Mark, a
company i have no affiliation with but has one on sale at the moment
depending on what the max size metal you anticipate cutting…as their
ad says cut’s up to 1/8" cold rolled steel… FDJ tools on time is
another jewelry supply vendor that has pretty much the same inventory
as Rio at much reduced prices- as the tools are identical ( any
company-buying a minimum of course- can have a manufacturer label a
product with a vendor/ client’s name, so all the tools look identical
have identical specs but have proprietary nameplates put on them).

While there are a number of guilliotine shears out there for sale
the cheaper one is not the best one in this particular case…You will
know very soon after purchase if its good or bad so check the
warranty that comes with it and buy with a credit card if it is to
your advantage ( for the extra or extended coverage without buying
into a store’s often useless extra protection plan)…and use the hell
out of it when you buy it to make sure it retains the alignment, has
no problems and can handle the materials you need it to - practice on
nickel, brass and other cheaper substitutes for precious metals.
Don’t throw the 'owner’s manual away with he packaging, keep it in
case you need to return the unit!

Another thing to consider if you have an air compressor and don’t
anticipate using a guillotine daily or weekly :are air shears. They
are handheld, pneumatic and with solid metal bodies, and run with an
air compressor ( which has plenty of uses in a small studio as well
as around the home, etc. ), In this case the harbor freight metal
shear model(s) work quite well, are speedy and will make a clean,
straight cut through any gauge metal that the particular model is
rated for… I had recently acquired one ( pre hurricane Issac…Yes I
lost half of my studio AGAIN ( this time the tools are still there
just ruined by water that blew in, and acids and corrosives that blew
down off shelving all over two benches and being activated by water,
ate through a metal cabinet of other chemicals underneath. This time
round the studio was not completely flooded and everything in it
washed out to sea- but I did get looted/robbed and the insurance
deductible is over $10,000.00 due to Issac being a “named storm” so
no real help kicks in until after spending the 10K extra I don’t have
lying around. In fact, I’m not really sure how I’m going to pay for
the net 30 metals/casting grain order I received just before the
storm hit ! We have had zero electricity until FRIDAY ( YESTERDAY)
and the MRE’s they were handing out to us were not like those after
katrina- no vegetarian, Hindu or Kosher meals- just all meaty (if
that’s what it was) items that had names like " homestyle", etc- when
no one ever made any of that in any home in New Orleans- and the
beverage mix in each packet one is supposed to add water to is all
synthetic flavored lemonade that had some strange experimental
artificial sweetener added to it !!! I ask- does artificial gross
lemonade with homestyle garden vegetable ( read: kidney beans, corn
and carrots as the’ garden vegetables’) in Italian style tomato
sauce/paste with pasta like stuff- (although we couldn’t identify an
individual, seperate piece of vermicelli, noodle, orzo, or anything
like a pasta product in the packets) sound appealing to anyone? Our
dog wouldn’t even touch the leftovers if that paints a good picture
of this year’s govt. MRE’s… However, i’m sure the 'lemonade can be
used for pickling silver ! And the moist towellettes were a boon to
cleanliness. Yes, I am in a quite bad mood* :* after* just* getting a
bit more than half of the repairs finished post-Katrina which is
still ongoing all over New Orleans, getting more work though still
sporadic, and students this happens…But I digress…as I ponder
having to try and make things with high enough perceived value( to
produce some income) out of - niobium, nickel and ‘jeweler’s
bronze’… Looter’s, by the way are really low scum. We even suspect
students were the ones that did it… Stealing precious metals, tools,
equipment, etc. which is clearly how someone makes a living, or
teaches someone skills so they may learn a craft or make a living
too could not have helped anyone through the storm or its aftermath,
but could have provided the looter a pretty nice studio set-up…
To top it ALL off, I just got an electricity bill today with a $5. 79
( varying monthly )charge still being added to everyone’s bill since
2005- and ongoing, to cover Entergy’s Katrina repair costs, and an
additional $4. 30 for Hurricane Gustav !..Aren’t those charges the
costs of their doing business and didn’t FEMA grant them money to fix
their business( while citizens were forced to accept SBA loans
whether one has a business or not) not to mention Entergy’s insurance
proceeds? Frustrated, hot, robbed, and again back to square one…

But back to the subject- perhaps try the metal shear before
investing in the guillotine as you may find it more versatile than a
guillotine unless you are cutting long strips from plate…My
recommendation for the Pepe still stands over the others available,
and do shop around for the best prices from lesser advertised
companies like Rosenthal, FDJ, Content, Gesswein,etc… ( oh and
apologies for the rant about this hurricane, but it’s hot, windless,
no power and this was only a category 1 storm ! I miss living totally
off the grid, making my own power with a gas back-up system ( lights,
refrigeration, etc. ) and would to move back to the mountains - if
only I could afford to do so ! )… rer


Hello Lewis, If you do a considerate amount of shearing - Get a
Guillotine, 24" + or LARGER.

Stephen Wyrick, CMBJ, GG


When I was setting up my studio, I went to Contenti, because I was
going to be in Providence, RI for 4 days, and could pick up and pay
from the proceeds of the Conference I was attending. Like many
people starting out you are living from pocket to pocket, and learn
to get very inventive with many of the tools.

I think it is rare that you can set up a studio all at once with all
that you want–good for those who can–but it’s not always possible.
I taught a lady in NC two winters, every two weeks just to learn how
to do some very basic procedures. She had a massive studio with all
the bells and whistles. I was overwhelmed just looking at the 40
pairs of pliers when I first got there, AND the two gorgeous
benches-none of which she had a clue about. At least she had the
good sense to get some help. :slight_smile:

Anyway, I got an Arbe polisher, an Italian rolling mill, a Pepe
guillotine cutter, and a Pepe stake set. I saved tons on shipping. I
had to wait almost 8 months to organize the trip and pay for the
machines, but I’m happy that I did. It saved a great deal on
shipping. I’ve been able to put these tools to daily use and they
are excellent even 12 years after I bought them.

One of the things I’ve learned here on Orchid, and there have been
many, is that if you are going to get a particular tool or machine,
think into the future and get the best you can the first time.
Quality is so important.

Kindest regards,