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Metal Cutting Tools: How to Use Foot and Bench Shears

The Voice: Hey, Kevin. What are you doing?

Kevin Caron: I'm here in the studio working with a foot shear. It's a metal cutting tool with a big, sharp blade. It's got two blades: one on this movable bar, the other one mounted to the table itself. Don't stick your fingers in there.

This is what?s called a presser foot. Line up your piece of metal on your guide; put it down in there and get it just as far as you want. As you lightly push down on it, this spring-loaded presser foot holds the metal in the table. The blade will then come down and make the cut. Just like that.

We've now got a nice 90-degree edge right there. Let's finish that off and get rid of this little jagged spot; that's what I was trying to get rid of.

The Voice: What's this thing called?

Kevin Caron: This is a foot shear, as opposed to a bench shear, which is this little tool over here. We'll play with that metal cutting equipment in just a second.

I'm on my guide, so I'll have a nice 90-degree edge. Just like that. Instead of having to use the plasma cutter; you draw a line and cut it, then grind it and get it flat because any little wobble in the grinder will give you a wobbly edge.

Now, I've got a nice, clean, sharp edge on there. I'm going to cut this off. Because this piece is a little too wide to run through the bench shearer in one cut, we'll have to use it like a big pair of scissors, it's that easy.

This cutting tool will cut up to eighth-inch plate, where the foot shear will only do up to 16-gauge, such as what I have here in my hand. So, that's better for, sheet metal, any of the thin metals. It'll do stainless steel, copper; it'll even do plastics, long sheets - up to 4 foot wide, where this one just does little pieces.

It's just a different way to cut. You'll get a nice, clean edge, and you don't have to grind it. You can cut your metal here, go to the bench, jig it up, and get to welding.

Tools: You gotta love 'em!

See you next time.

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