Revised Notes on Use of Beverly Shears
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Author: John Myers
Submitted by: AdminAlex   Date: 2009-10-31 22:11
Revised Notes on Use of Beverly Shears

Since publication of the original article in July-November 2006 Hammer's Arc I have changed a number of working habits with this tool and this is a revised version.

I am still not an expert in the use of these shears. I still cuss at them sometimes, but love them now more than before. They solve a lot of sheet metal cutting problems, but it requires some thought if you want nice looking interior corners and cutting smaller radius interior curves is a pain.

Beverly Shears come in 4 sizes:
    JUNIOR weighs 6 lbs and cuts 18 Ga.,
    B-1 weighs 18 lbs and cuts 14 Ga.,
    B-2 weighs 35 lbs and cuts 10 Ga.,
    B-3 weighs 58 lbs and cuts 3/16th plate.

Harbor Freight has a Chinese copy that weighs 16 lb at a lower cost and would seem to approximate the B-1. The Beverly is a well made tool and I know nothing of the copy. I have a B-2.

The Beverly allows quick breakdown of larger pieces into smaller job sizes, and this includes rough cutting to size just outside the finish cut lines and this is important. BUT, for 3 to 4 foot wide sheets cutting across them is a TWO MAN job and you need lots of space around the shear. Open the jaws fully and push the sheet into the jaws and you will find that it is a LONG REACH across that 4 foot wide sheet to get to the handle.

Sheet distortion WILL HAPPEN. As you feed the sheet into the blade what is on the left side of the cut will ride on the top of the frame on a FLAT SURFACE and what is on the right side must go under the frame. It bends doing this. The narrower the material left on the right side of the cut the more it will curl, BUT the easier it will be to cut. You use this to advantage by keeping good work on the left and waste on the right. ALSO rough cutting to just outside the finish cut will make cutting easier and keep the finish material flatter if you keep waste to the right of the cut.

Getting really straight cuts is difficult. When you sight down the final cut you will find that you have made many short cuts. This helps you to develope your filing skills, but you are going to do that anyhow as the two sides of the cut never look the same. Straighten by filing. Long shallow curves can be straightened by hammering on the anvil on the concave side to expand that side, then finish file.

CONVEX (outside) curves are where it really works. You quickly learn to feed the work into the blade and rotate it at the same time to follow a marked line. The smaller the radius, the harder it is to follow and I mainly rough-cut to 1/4 inch or less before finish cutting. Where possible that FLAT SURFACE on the left of the blade is your best friend as the warping happens on the right of the cut.

HOW do I always keep the waste to the right? Sometimes I can't BUT if your material is marked on BOTH SIDES of the work, then if you TURN THE WORK OVER to the other side to cut,your waste changes sides. In 99% of cases I can always cut with waste to the right. Marking on BOTH sides requires some thought if the lines are to be directly opposite each other on both sides, but on a lot of work it is worth the trouble

CONCAVE (inside) curves on LARGE radius work is fine. The rub comes when that radius gets smaller. The waste side is stiff and does not want to go down and under the frame. The closer the rough cut to the finish cut, the easier it will be. I sometimes take the rough cut work to the power band saw and, every inch or so, cut at right angles to the finish cut right up to the finish cut line so that the waste comes out in short pieces and not a long, tangled snarl. On concave cuts I open the blades as far as possible and cut with SHORT strokes while REOPENING the blades and REPUSHING the work back into the blades. This is entirely different from using as much of the length of cut as possible in straight cuts. The smaller the radius of an inside cut the more this is true.

Outside sharp corners are no problem. Just make two straight cuts that cross.

Inside corners require a plan. The cut is not vertical through the sheet metal. It will slope from front on top to back on the bottom, so that when you make an inside corner by cutting into it at right angles you either cut too much or a little short on one side. I first cut shy then twisted the waste out with pliers. This was ugly, in results and process. I now drill a hole about 9/64ths accurately in the corner and aim my cuts at the outside of the hole. This has been a large enough hole so that the waste drops out leaving me a rounded inside corner. If that is objectionable a file removes the radius quickly

On Beverly Shears there is a simple adjustment of the blade clearance so as to accomodate different thickness of materials. It came preset to cut the thickest material for the shear. I cut as it came for a long time then when I shifted to thinner material the shear GNAWED instead of cutting. I NOW take the time to set the clearance for the material(1/10th of the material thickness) with a set of feeler gauges. It doesn't take long.

EXCEPT FOR SMALL RADIUS CUTS I push the handle all the way up(back) and push the work all the way into the blade and use as much of the cut length as I can with a full stroke each time. This is easier and you will be happier.

Sheet steel comes with an oil coating. The permanent marker, that I use for marking, smears and the oil often stops the pen from working. I degrease the sheet where the markings go with mineral spirits on a rag and blow dry with compressed air and that has solved the problem for me.

I still save my jagged cut offs. Be nice to me or I might sprinkle them on your driveway one dark night. Opinions herein are still not GOSPEL, but my way of using this tool.

John Myers
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