While all sheet metal cutting tools cut sheet metal. Not all cutting tools are created equal. In fact, even metal cutting tools that are ostensibly very similar may vary significantly. Here are some of the main types of sheet metal cutting tools out there, how they vary and where they are useful.
The most basic of cutting tools for sheet metal is probably a pair of simple tin snips. The most basic of these look like a pair of short, stubby scissors with thick jaws. The simple ones do not have compound handles, have straight jaws (with no serrations) and are useful for making straight or curved cuts to sheet metal. It is important to note that tin snips can cut a straight line or a straight line and a curve to one side – but not the other.
As far as it relates to making straight or curved cuts, snips often have colored handles indicating what types of cuts they can make. If they have yellow handles, they’re great for cutting straight but not for making curves. Those with red handles cut straight and can also make left cuts, whereas those with green handles cut straight and to the right.
Another form of metal cutting snips is what are known as aviation snips, which usually have a compound handle that increases your mechanical advantage in cutting a piece of metal. Both plain snips and compound snips may have straight handles or raised handles, which keep the handles clear of metal while you’re cutting it.
Both of these forms of snips can make clean cuts in metal, but some of them have serrated jaws which help to grip the metal and make it easier to cut. However, these types of metal cutting blades are not preferable for softer metals like aluminum or copper because the little serrations left behind on the edge can tear over time.
In addition to snips, there are also tools known as slitters that are ideal for cutting coiled stock of sheet metal before it is even arranged into panels on a roof, cut in situ, and seamed and soldered. Usually, slitters are large, bulky contraptions that make the first cuts in a coil of sheet metal stock.
There is another form of sheet metal cutting tool that is known as a nibbler and is ideal for making cuts in sheet metal for one very specific reason. Nibblers do not create any deformity at the edge of a cut piece of sheet metal.
Sometimes, snips and other cuttings that use compounded leverage to “shear” through the sheet metal produce a wavy or distorted edge. Nibblers remove a small strip, or kerf, of metal from the sheet, somewhat similar to a saw, so that there is no distortion along the edge. This can produce a jagged or sharp edge, but this is easily remedied by folding or seaming the sheet.
In addition to these sheet metal cutting tools, there are a wide range of other metal working tools that sheet metal roofers use in the course of their work. These include, but are not limited to:
● Seaming pliers and edge folding tools
● Metal bending tools
● Tinners hammers
● Roofing tongs
● Marking tools
● Sheet metal gutter tools
● Soldering irons for finishing seams
● A variety of power tools and attachments
● And many others
If you’re looking for a collection of sheet metal cutting tools or other specialized tools for sheet metal roofers, visit John Stortz & Son at Stortz.com. For over 150 years they’ve been providing tools of the highest quality to craftsmen around the country. Their philosophy is “buy it once, buy it for life,” and that is reflected in the quality of the tools they sell. Visit their website today, and if you have any questions, call them at 888-847-3456.