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Harbor Freight Bench Shear

I’m looking for a mini bench shear that I can use for metals up to
about 20g thickness. I found that Harbor Freight has one for about
$119. It looks like it won’t take up too much room, which is great.
I’m wondering if anyone has one of these and if it will effectively
cut metal up to 18-20 guage thickness… or better.

The one you are talking about i think is a knock off of the Swiss
made Profiform 200 that sells for about $750 from Otto Frei:

it doesn’t include the accessories that Profiform has available but
they probably fit but will cost more than the HF base unit . I
bought one from another supplier and had a bit of trouble with it.
The machine was very stiff (Too stiff) to operate. I found the
problem was poor quality control on the Handle Pivot hole through
the side plate and the pivot bearing. I fixed mine but most people
would not want to or be able to. HF has a good return policy and
they may not all be the way mine was.??

The problem is such that the assembler is just not knowledgeable.
If would be expected that the problem would have been apparent at
assembly and the problem corrected in design. I made an infeed table
Used as an outfeed table to cut thin strips. It will cut very thin
strips in the thinner material . I think it does these well but all
shearing on any shear will deform the top edge a bit. For me this
doesn’t seem objectionable and is much easier and better than sawing
I noticed that the lower shear blade isn’t stiff enough (actually
clamped well enough) to cut well on the heavier( rated?) material.
The blade deflects. The Profiform seems to be built the same way and
should not be better in this respect… The materials and size and
mounting methods are the same. I can correct this problem with a
little more involved infeed table. I know what to do but haven’t
machined it. Thickness capacity is a little overrated for
performance - probably on the Profiform too- I can’t see that it
would be different.

Peter Rowe has the real thing (Profiform) and has spoken highly of

I have a couple of the Heavy bench shears an 8" and a 12 "( less than
$100 each) that work with a pivoting moveable blade like a paper
cutter These will do heavy material with no problem. To use they are
best fitted with a frontside infeed table… This is a do it yourself
thing nobody sells one.

You may find that a 12" Wildcat shear is really you best buy:

I have never used one of this brand.


I’ve heard of people cutting 14g steel with these shears without a
problem. From all reports though, the quality of these shears are
REALLY hit or miss. Some people have gotten them and they have
worked great, some people have had to make modifications to get them
to work at all. One of the common complaints are that the blades
are very brittle.

I’ve never actually owned one, I went for an actual Beverly shear


Hello Catherine;

I have one, and it’s already paid for itself in the time savings over
cutting the sheet with a jeweler’s saw. It’s actually a knock-off of
a machine called the “Profiform” although I’m sure it’s not nearly as
well built as the brand name. It also does right-angle bends and has
"fingers" like the typical pan-and-break benders, so you can make
right angle bends perpedicular to each other, to make boxes and the
like. We had a recent production run which required cutting lots of
strips and squares from 20 guage sheet, and it was real handy. I’ve
cut up to 18 gauge sterling with it without a problem.

David L. Huffman

On the HF Beverly type shear.

Take the blades out and temper them by baking in a kitchen oven at
375 to 400 F for about an hour. a toaster oven works. Many of the
Asian edge tools are erratic in heat treatment. Wood chisels are
especially so. I think she was talking about the Profiform straight
cutting type shear Where the blades are fine but see my post about
the other problem …


Hi Catherine,

I have been away so I didn’t see you post until today. I bought one
about 4-5 months ago. They have raised the price by $20 since I
bought mine. I use it to cut 18 guage. It works fine. I haven’t
tried cutting anything heavier.

Joel Schwalb