Understanding the Panel
A mechanically locked standing seam panel has a male and a female profile. This differs from a snap lock panel. The blue portion in the picture is the female leg and the red is the male. The most important dimension when selecting a hand seamer is where you see .500″. This equates to 1/2″ and the hand seamer you purchase must fit over top of it in order to seam correctly.
First Stage Seamers
The most common standing seam heights are 1″, 1 1/2″, and 2″. A general rule of thumb is that a 1″ high standing seam has a profile width of 1/2″. Measuring the profile width is essential for knowing if your seamer will properly close the profile.
The most popular tools for seaming the 1st stage are the ESE-001 Classic and RAU111. The ESE-001 has a handle which can be removed for seaming tight spaces. It is also very durable and the parts will stay in tact for years. The Rau111 is the European classic model. A nice feature is that when seaming, the tool finishes in the upright position. Both tools will bend up to 24 gauge steel.
Finish Hand Seamers
Sticking with the most popular brands, the ESE099 and the RAU117 are the best selling finish hand seamers. ESE produces hand seamers for various profile widths whereas the RAU117 will ONLY work for profiles 1/2″ across. A unique feature of the ESE099 is that there is a clasp that prevents the metal from rising up when seaming. Some can view this as a slowdown when seaming long runs but a positive to prep a seam. The RAU117 finishes upright to give the user a comfortable seaming position. This tool is also available in a stand up model, RAU131.