Hand seamers are a vital part of the sheet metal workers arsenal of tools. Along with soldering equipment, metal shears, bending tools and sheet metal hammers, seaming pliers are some of the most versatile and vital pieces of equipment a roofer can carry with him.
Brakes and benders make longer bends and crimps in larger panels of sheet metal, but these tools have their limitations. Sheet metal hand seamers and seaming pliers can reach into and around spaces that brakes and benders can’t, and can make very small, precise bends and custom crimps in sheet metals like aluminum, steel and copper.
Without them, you’d have a hard time making those clean and accurate alterations and finishing seams where other tools just couldn’t go. They’re lightweight, convenient and enormously practical – but not all are created equal. If you need a new pair (or just a first pair) keep these basic pointers in mind.
1. Choose the right angle bends and jaw width
One of the most important attributes of a pair of seaming pliers is the orientation of the jaws, which covers the jaw width, depth and angle. All of these will directly and potently impact the manner of the seams and bends you are able to produce with them.
A seamer with limited depth to its jaws, for example, cannot create deep bends or crimps, whereas deeper jaws can potentially create a larger range of folds or seams. This is just something to be aware of; some jaw types are more practical than others for making specific types of bends in sheet metal.
2. Comfort matters!
Some seaming pliers have plain, bare steel handles and don’t have grips. Functionally, there is no difference between a pair of pliers with coated handles versus a pair that lacks them, but there is a difference in comfort.
If it’s very cold or wet, and you don’t have gloves a pair of pliers with rubberized coated handles will be a lot more comfortable to use and manipulate, and you’ll be able to more easily get a better grip on them, too.
3. Forged construction is best
The fewer the number of parts that go into a pair of seaming pliers, the better, and the best are made with forged high-carbon, tempered steel. Forged, tempered steel typically has fewer or no inclusions, is less likely to fracture under stress or deform, and, overall, is significantly better formed.
4. When in doubt, get a set
Since our first pointer was to pick up a pair of seaming pliers with the proper jaw angle and depth, you might want to consider getting a set instead of one pair of pliers. Sure, you might only need one at any given time, but a set will prepare you for a greater range of scenarios. Plus, if you get a set, you’ll have spares if any ever go missing.
Are you out here looking for a pair of hand seamers that won’t let you down? You know, the kind of quality that is timeless, never gets old, and will be around longer than you? One of those tools that, you know, you can hand down to the generation that follows you?
That’s the kind of quality you’ll find in all of the tools (not just the seamers) at John Stortz & Son, at Stortz.com. You don’t stay in business for over a century and a half without offering serious quality, and that’s what they do.
Their motto is something along the lines of “make it once, make it for life,” and that’s what they’ve been doing for generations. Visit their website, Stortz.com, to see their seamers and other tools, and if you have any other questions, call them at 888-847-3456.