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Metal shear


Introducing Andy Crosby Getting into silver – I have lots of tools and
books, and a few beginner pieces. I enjoy making my own tools to
solve weird problems, so jewelry will give lots of scope for that!!
Does anybody have experience of using a good quality paper cutter as a
shear to cut sterling sheet? Paper cutters are said to cut 10 or more
sheets of paper at a time – maybe OK? a company called Corporate
Express has an “Insenti Classic Maple Trimmer” 12 inch, for $99.50 –
appears to be heavy construction. Is there a "preferred shear out
there? Thanks, Andy


Hi Andy. I have a heavy duty paper cutter which I thought would be
good for cutting nice straight bezels from 26 to 30 gauge fine
silver. It went through the metal with no problem at all,
but----I had a real problem keeping the metal straight–as it tended
to slip and I ended up with bezels narrower at one end than the
other. It is hard to hold the metal down firmly with one hand, and
pull the cutter lever with the other----as the metal gets off at an
angle----very very slight, but a problem with bezels. I have a
Beverley throatless shear which cuts curves and straight pieces
from heavy gauge metals. For thin metals—such as bezel material I
have found that fiscars shears are great. Score your metal first, and
cut along the score line.-- hope this is helpful-- Alma


Go to the tool junkies friend & budget enemy Harbor Freight: Search under shears. they have several
plate shears from 39.99 to 79.99 I have the heavy duty 8" plate shear
at $79.99. It will cut 6" wide stock of any normal metal crafting
material. All these shears are rated by some irrational system and
will only crosscut narrower material than the base length. This shear
will also slit longer metal strips but requires care in guiding. They
also have a Beverly shear copy (throttles shear). These tools are
generally asian made mostly mainland China today. They are very
relatively cheap but they do the job. Just watch the limits and derate
the capacity (true for almost everything) and they will work for you.

    Does anybody have experience of using a good quality paper
cutter as a shear to cut sterling sheet?  

G’day; I don’t think you would have much joy in trying to use a paper
shear or guillotine for cutting sheet silver, unless that is, you are
thinking of silver foil :slight_smile: You’d never be able to put in
sufficient power to cut any reasonable length of metal and to cut
cleanly. Metals are quite a different proposition to paper! I
believe that unless you have access to a professional metal shear
bench, you’d do far better to use the time honoured and laborious
cutting of sheet silver with a jeweller’s hand saw. Engineer’s metal
cutting hand shears certainly cut sheet metals up to about 2mm
thickness - but don’t give a decent finish to the cut, by any means;
the edge invariably turns over. Mind you, I do confess to having made
and frequently using a little tiny guillotine to cut paillons of
silver solder from thin sheet, but the sheet is only about 0.2 - 0.3mm
thick and about 10mm wide. Even so, it needs a good punch down on the
handle! Cheers, – John Burgess


I use one all the time . . . I’ve even cut 20 Gauge sheet (sterling)
using a paper cutter. Make sure it’s not the plastic one. . . The
one I use is from Office Max.


Hey Andy, I’ve used a paper cutter to cut my silver (to 18 gauge) and
my copper (20 gauge) for 10 years now. Mine was on sale at Flax’s for
$37.00. But the local artist who taught me that trick Edith Sumner has
used her paper cutter for 30 years without it’s being sharpened!
Welcome to this great world of metal. Helene


Hi Andy,

Compared to the description of your paper cutter, mine is a cheapo.
It’s a 12 inch Boston brand, if I remember right, it cost about
$30.00 at an office supply store.

To keep the piece of metal from moving when it’s sheared, I some
times place a piece of rubberized web between the metal & paper
cutter bed. The web is sold in the household dept. of many stores (Wal
Mart etc.) to line kitchen drawers & cabinets to prevent dishes etc.
from sliding. The web doesn’t have to be the full size of the metal.
Often, a smaller piece will work. When using the web, line the metal
up against the front edge of the cutter bed, then press the metal
against the web firmly while cutting.

Works for me.


While paper cutters will work to an extent They are not built to be
very stiff and can be easily twisted out of line which may not be
repairable. I have seen many damaged ones just from trying to cut too
much paper at one time. They can be easily resharpened as the blades
are not very hard. As a result the blades can be damaged by cutting
too hard a material. Metal shear blades are thicker and the frames
stiffer. The blades are hardened and need to be machine ground to
sharpen. These can also be damaged by trying to cut too heavy or hard
a material. Jesse