Shear - Running in Circles

I’ve been through the archives looking at past posted
about shears without much luck. I’m looking for a shear something
that will cut 18-20g copper. Ideally something with a side guide or
backstop, because I plan on mostly cutting copper squares for book
covers. I will be cutting quite a number of them (80+) Ideally
something with very little warpage, since I hope to use the squares
as is, save for some light filing.

I’ve been looking at the standard type bench shears, but I am worred
that it will be difficult to get consistent shaped squares because of
the lack of guides. The cutters I can find with more parallel shears
(that look like a paper gulliotine) cost upwards of 1000 dollars for
something that can handle metal this thickness. I was hoping to spend
something between 100-500 dollars.

I keep running in circles doing research. I almost ordered the
mini-shear from micro-mark but I am worried that my metal is too
thick since its at the top range of what they say it can handle, and
I prefer something just a wee-bit wider since I was hoping to buy
12inch by 48 inch copper sheets. The Harbor Freight everyone spoke of
no longer appears to be available in the smaller sizes.

Anyone have a bright idea or am I doomed to lop-sided squares on a
standard bench shear or paying three times the cost to buy custom cut


Have you tried American Metal Craft for your squares? They have
reasonable prices and have stock shapes and will do custom shapes at
the same reasonable prices, in most cases.

2074 George Street
Melrose Park, IL 60161
(708) 345-1177

Nice folks.
Usual disclaimer.

Elaine Luther
Metalsmith, Certified PMC Instructor
Hard to Find Tools for Metal Clay

My husband (bless him) cuts 18 gauge copper for me using a hand held
circular saw (appox.$150) with a carbide blade designed for use on
non-ferrous metals (approx.$80).

Alana Clearlake


Try your local sheetmetal supplier. Most of them will cut to order
and 80 plus on that size is no big thing. If they cannot do it, just
go to a sheet metal fabricator in your area. I am sure for a small
fee they will be happy to cut the squares for you.


Hi Debb–try using a good quality large paper cutter–several
dealers that sell sheet stock use them to cut metal as thick as 18
ga. or as thin as 30 ga.

Vi Jones in the beautiful and WARM Pacific Northwest

try using a good quality large paper cutter--several dealers that
sell sheet stock use them to cut metal as thick as 18 ga. or as
thin as 30 ga.

If you buy a paper cutter, be sure to get one with a sturdy base
(wood or steel). The cutters with plastic bases flex when used to
cut metal or over about 6 sheets of 20# paper. They can be a real
pita! (Been there, done that.)