I need to cut some stiff sheet metal for roofing trim and the problem is dividing larger sheets. For example, I might have a sheet that is 6 feet x 12" and I need to divide it in half. The problem is that my snips cut a little ways into the sheet, but soon they get stuck and I can't push them in any farther.

A book I have on sheet metal says that one side of the cut is supposed to "curl" away as I cut, making room for the shears and I am supposed to cut so that side is the narrow "waste" half. But in my case I am dividing a wide sheet, so there is no "waste" strip, both sides are wide.

I can see that if I was just trimming off half an inch, then it would peel away, but when both sides are 2-3 feet wide, that doesn't happen. So, how do I divide the sheet?

  • Are they the wright shears? Some have colored handles green ,red,yellow for cutting reasons red .right. green left yellow straight. I also have three that cut , thicker metal 12 18 and 24 inch long. For straight cuts. You could try cutting and have foot hold one half down. And your free hand pulling up works for me.
    – user101687
    Commented May 29, 2019 at 7:44
  • Often, simply scoring the metal down the centre with a utility knife and then bending the metal at the score will be enough to get a perfectly smooth and clean break.
    – stevieb
    Commented May 29, 2019 at 13:38

1 Answer 1


If you were doing a lot of freehand sheet metal work, I would recommend a nibbler (it takes little bites out of sheet metal) or set of powered shears with two cutting edges (they literally create a single thin strip of curled up waste material — my Milwaukee shears create a curled strip about 1/4” wide).

A band saw would be another option if you have one and it is large enough for the size of sheet metal strip you want.

A jig saw or sawzall with metal cutting blade and the sheet metal very well secured to an appropriate work surface might be the best diyer-friendly option if it is something you only need to do a couple of times and you already have one of those types of saws.

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