In this article, we’ll give you a quick look into some of the broader categories of the most important sheet metal tools out there. There are others, but without the ability to finely mark, shape and cut sheet metal with some of these, you won’t have much ability to work with sheet metal otherwise.
Investigate these categorizations, and if you have any questions, get in touch with our customer service team at 888-847-3456.
Bending Tools – Sheet metal benders are critical for putting precisely angled bends in sheet metal and are some of the most useful and practical sheet metal tools that we offer. These tools may look complex, but their job is fairly simply and straightforward. They apply a precisely directed force to sheet metal, typically along the edge of the material, to make angled bends. This is useful, among other things, for forming seams and finishing edges.
Sheet metal benders like the Stortz Perfect Bender S-150 are designed to make precise, sharp, accurate bends in sheet metal and are compact and light so they can be carried around a job site – even taken up on a roof.
Benders like these use rollers to apply pressure and guide the bend as the sheet metal gets forced into shape. They contain rulers and are designed to be worked back and forth along the edge to force the sheet metal into shape.
For forming larger sheets of metal, sometimes a bending tool known as a brake is used. However, although brakes are useful for creating long straight bends in bigger sheets of metal, they tend to be less portable and versatile than smaller benders.
Other Forming Tools (Including Pliers) – In addition to benders and brakes, there are many other forms of sheet metal forming tools, like pliers, seamers and some types of hammers, that are very useful for making precise alterations to sheet metal. Some of these can be particularly useful in tighter spaces and in other areas, where a roll bender would not be as practical.
Some specialized forms of pliers and hand seamers are used to make tight folds along the edges or seams of sheet metal. In addition, there are a multitude of different forms of sheet metal pliers and grips that can be used for everything from holding a piece of sheet metal in place to forming bends at specified angles.
Hammers constitute another class of forming tools that can be used to create marks, bend shapes and even stretch sheet metal. Some of our sheet metal hammers are even made with non-marring heads (such as PVC) that can be used to work the edges of sheet metal without creating a “hammered” appearance or scratching the material.
Cutting Tools – In addition to the bending and forming tools mentioned above, no collection of critical sheet metal tools would be complete without mentioning sheet metal cutting tools like aviation snips and shears. These are some of the most important sheet metal working tools there are.
Without cutting tools, you cannot make holes in sheet metal or cut them to precise shapes. Whereas tools like slitters are useful for cutting coils of sheet metal to length, most of the sheet metal cutters that roofers use on the daily are snips, shears and nibblers.
Snips and shears are (usually) handheld tools with steel jaws that are used to make cuts, both straight and curved, along a length of sheet metal. These can have bent or straight handles, and may be simple or compounded for extra cutting power.
In addition to snips and shears, one important tool for sheet metal roofers to know about is a tool known as a nibbler. A little bit like a saw, nibblers remove a thin strip (or kerf) of sheet metal as they cut. This prevents distortion or waviness along the edge being worked, and is useful in some situations where deformation of the edge of sheet metal is a pronounced issue.
Marking Tools – Sheet metal marking tools are also a highly useful if overlooked set of tools for sheet metal roofing. They are utilized by roofers for making marks and measurements, and in addition to chalk markers and sheet metal pencils, consist of angle finders, dividers and tools such as scribers that are used for making more permanent marks.
Naturally, there are other important sheet metal tools, including but not limited to sheet metal brakes that make larger, longer bends, tongs, gutter tools, specialty hammers, decoilers, and much more. If you want to learn about these, remember, we’re never more than a call away and you can get us at the number listed above.
Otherwise, take a quick look through our collection of high-quality tools for sheet metal roofing and slate metal roofing. If you need a specialty tool, there’s better than a good chance you can find it right here, and if not, once again, call us!