Jewelry Tools: Bench Shear

This was a serious splurge and I don’t regret it for one minute. I cut a lot of metal and working with a new sheet of metal is like breaking in new shoes. At first it’s too large for my bench pin and too wide for my saw frame. I have to cut it down to be able to work with it. And I’ve been cutting it down by hand. This isn’t cutting that gets you any jewelry. It’s cutting just to be able to deal with the metal. And even when you do cut it down, it’s still a little hard to work with. But as you use it and cut pieces away, it gets easier and easier. Until it’s at a wonderful place of being super easy to work with and then it’s used up.

A bench shear helps tremendously because you can cut metal down into manageable pieces in one motion. They had them at Penland (Penland has the mother of all bench shears and a number or smaller ones) and whenever I went I would take extra metal just to cut it down. You can pay a small amount to Rio to cut sterling but brass and copper come pre-packaged in 12×6 sheets.

I have the beginning stages of arthritis in my hands and I know that I have to off-load any work I can to a tool if there’s one to do it. That’s why I bought this bench shear. And I wish I’d had it years ago. When I ordered it I was worried about safety but the area where metal is inserted is too small for a finger. Once I put a piece of metal in, I pull down on the long arm and cut the sheet where I want to. I love that it came with two areas for attaching the long arm and mine is set up for lefties.

So, if you ever come over, you are welcome to bring any metal you want to cut down. I understand completely.

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One Response to Jewelry Tools: Bench Shear

  1. hi there! just wanted to say first that i love your work! came across your blog by accident as I am looking for info on the shear you own. I am considering it for my studio and was wondering if you might be able to give me your opinion – how well does this shear perform on small or narrow cuts? i’m a newbie, developing some brooches lately that require 1/4″ strips of 8″ long, 20 ga copper. the accucutter 2001 (the one that looks like a paper cutter) tends to deform the strip mightily qhen doing the 1/4″ cuts , causing me more work to flatten and straighten the strips. i couldn’t even make the tiny little tabs (roughly 1/2″ x 1/4″) using scraps of sheet, as the finger guard got in the way of holding down such tiny pieces. any feedback would be appreciate, but i understand if you’re totally busy. 🙂 🙂

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