Hand Seamers: The Handiest Tool For Sheet Metal

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Hand Seamers: The Handiest Tool For Sheet Metal

Hand Seamers: The Handiest Tool For Sheet Metal

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Sheet metal brakes can be expensive and difficult to use, and sometimes they just don’t have the finesse that we need for certain jobs.


ENTER the hand seamer, a cheaper and sometimes more effective tool! It may be a little more tedious to use, but we promise, it’s worth it!


Allow us to tell you what a hand seamer is and why you need one!


What Is a Hand Seamer?


Essentially, a hand seamer is a handheld tool that is used to bend sheet metal into certain shapes. It can also be used to straighten or flatten any unwanted bends and wrinkles.


Although, yes, that is their main use there are of course different kinds of hand seamers all made for more specific circumstances.


They have a variety of sizes and specifications that you can find.


You can get standard straight handles or offset handles, and the lengths and depths of the seamer jaw differ too depending on how you need to bend your sheet metal.


Hand seamers are incredibly useful for making sharp angle bends, finishing edging on sheet metal, and creating accurate custom fits for sheet metal work!


So, whether you work in the metal roofing industry, the HVAC industry, or are simply a metalworking enthusiast you are going to get a lot of use out of a hand seamer.


You are obviously going to want to find the one that suits your needs the best so allow us to go through the different options that you can find now.


Where Did Hand Seamers Come From?


Hand seamers have been around for about as long as metal roofing.


A lot of people will argue that mechanical seamers are the way of the future since they save a lot of time and energy and you don’t need as much manpower.


But any metal roofer worth their salt knows that if done right, a quality hand seaming job can be FAR BETTER than one done by a mechanical seamer.


Hand seamers were used, as they are today, for finishing the edging of metal sheets commonly for the creation and completion of fully functioning metal roofs.


So, they haven’t really changed from their original purpose and like the saying goes, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it!


If the operator knows what they’re doing, you can tell. It’s as if the hand seamer is an extension of their own hands.


It might be a little weird to think but it does make sense that there is a certain level of craftsmanship that comes with working with hand seamers.


It is a MANUAL JOB and only someone with experience can know how to use it best. And boy, when the job is done right, it sure is beautiful.


Types of Hand Seamers and Their Uses


HVAC Hand Seamer


Hand seamers are a dime a dozen in the HVAC and metal roofing industry. You won’t find a roofing technician without one.


Because of that you’ll often find that these are some of the most common hand seamers on the market.


Here are some of its KEY FEATURES and FUNCTIONS.


  • Standard HVAC hand seamers come in 1” to 1¼” depth with jaw lengths ranging from 3” and longer.
  • They usually have markings on the side as a guide for where to place the sheet metal, making it EASIER to know where to clamp down on for a smooth and even bend.
  • These hand seamers can have STRAIGHT or OFFSET HANDLES. Of course, depending on what job you will be using it for, choose the one that makes your job EASIER.
  • These hand seamers have MALE and FEMALE ENDS that are drop forged and well secured with a pin.
  • Some of these hand seamers also have LOCKING MECHANISMS that keep the tool clamped onto the metal while you’re working.


This locking makes it easier on you while working so even if you let go of the seamer, it won’t let go of the metal.


You can also use it for when you’re moving around pieces of sheet metal.


The sheets have extremely sharp edges and should ALWAYS be handled with work gloves but you can also use this hand seamer to pick up and carry the sheets more safely.


These are extremely useful tools for smaller and shorter bends in sheet metal work but they do have limitations in size and depth.


“Detail Work” Hand Seamer


This tiny worker also goes by the name seaming pliers.


This type of hand seamer isn’t strong enough to bend large pieces of sheet metal but it is the best option for smaller and more precise work.


If you’re a sheet metal roofer, you NEED this tool. This can easily deal with every small eave detail that needs some lifting and fixing.


It may be SMALL but it is MIGHTY. When used properly, you can get a lot of use out of seaming pliers and they are sturdy enough to last you a very long time.

Spring Loaded Hand Seamer

A spring loaded hand seamer is a nice option for quick and easy bends.


This type of hand seamer uses springs that cause it to pop back open immediately after making a bend.


You can’t get as much pressure on the sheet metal with this type of hand seamer as you might with, say, an HVAC hand seamer because the springs keep the tool open.


Because you get LESS PRESSURE and a LOOSER SEAM CLOSURE with this type of hand seamer, this limits the gauge of the sheet metal that you work with.


Use a lighter and more flexible metal sheet with this tool and you’ll be just fine!

Interchangeable Hand Seamer

Moving onto the hand seamer that should only be used in extremely lightweight situations!


Although interchangeable or removable parts seem handy and give the hand seamers more versatility, they don’t make for the most sturdy tool.


If you use this tool beyond its limit it’s likely that the parts will snap or break apart because they are not permanent parts.


The versatility of this hand seamer sacrifices its strength and stability. We DON’T RECOMMEND using this for heavier jobs just because it might not survive.

Where Can I Get a Hand Seamer for Myself?

You can usually find hand seamers at your local hardware store. Of course, depending on the local selection, you may find only limited pieces.


However, the upside to buying at a local store is that the professionals working there can give you all the details and specifics you need to know about the job you’re working.


They may even be able to direct you to tools you didn’t know you would need.


You can also check online at sites like Amazon or sites that are made specifically to sell tools and hardware supplies.


Usually, you’ll find a greater selection of items online with a wider array or prices too!


Speaking of that, quality hand seamers will often range from $40 to $100. 


We say QUALITY because we don’t want you going out and buying something for cheap only to have it breaking upon first use. 


Also you don’t wanna buy something so expensive when you can get something just as good for far less.




Are you as convinced with the usefulness of hand seamers as we are?


Well, now that you know what a hand seamer is and what you can do with it, what are you waiting for?


Go out and buy your very own hand seamer so you can finish up all your sheet metal projects!


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