How to Bend Aluminum Trim

I’m talking to you today about how to use a metal brake to bend aluminum trim for the exterior of a house. You guys have probably seen trim like this, but may not be sure how it gets made.   If you’re wondering how to do that or how that ever gets done, this will show you how!

Video showing how to bend aluminum trim

Cut the Metal to Width

What I’m going to do first is cut our piece to width. I’ve got the full 24 inch piece here. We’ll show you in a couple minutes how we actually rolled this out and a couple of tricks to roll it out and to cut the length.   

I’ve marked on here three sections. They’re eight inches each, so I got 24 inches. I’m actually using all eight inches. You may use seven inches and then have a little bit of waste at the end or something. You can do it however you want, but I’ve marked this twice with eight inch marks.

I’ve got the first one put in the brake. Now I’m going to cut that. All we use is a utility knife with a sharp blade. We go along and score this a couple of times and it’ll brake right there.

Now we’ll take the handles, bend that up, come back a couple of times and you can see we’ve got a nice, straight edge on that. Now this is our scrap for our next piece.

Bending the Aluminum Trim to Specs

Now let’s go back to the brake and we’ll shape this to what we want.  I want a right angle piece with a hem on one end. I’ll show you how to do a hem. I’m going to mark this first for our dimension. I want three quarters of an inch bent over as a finished top edge for our hem. I’m going to put our hem in first. This is white on both sides, so it doesn’t matter which side I choose. For you, you may be using metal that has a different color on the other side, so remember that you want to be on the right side when you put it in the brake.

All right now since this is going to be a hem, I want to go all the way as far as I can go with that. Now we’ll put it in the brake to flatten it down.

On the video, you can see that I have a hem there.  That’s going to be the top finished edge of this metal. Now I’m going to bend a right angle coming out here, although I’m not going to bend it quite 90 degrees because I’m using this for some deck flashing and I want it to press down for me. I’m going to mark our dimension which is going to be four inches. We’ll put it back in the brake.

Again, I don’t want quite 90 degrees here. I’m going to let that be about 80, 85 degrees. Now that gives me the piece that we’re looking for.  I hope that helps you guys understand a little bit more about bending aluminum trim metal.  If you have questions, let me know in the comments and we can talk about it.  

Tips for you today.  This is called a hand brake.  These come with different size blades or clamps. You can even get wider blades than this that’ll brake a little bit longer of a piece. Imagine you wanted to put a little bit of a bend on the end of your piece like this and maybe make a relief cut. I’m just making this up, so you probably wouldn’t cut it right there. For the purposes of demonstrating this I wanted to just make a relief cut. Let’s say you needed to bend a little 90 there, you can use your hand brake to do that to reshape some things. Additionally, sometimes you can use the hand brake to flatten your hem out. I got a couple areas that are still bulged up on my hem, so I can go along and kinda set my hem nice and tight with these. That’s a good use for those tools. A hand brake. Nice tool to add.

Okay, here’s another tip for you. When you’re rolling out your metal, I always clamp it like this because if you don’t it’ll uncoil on you and you’ll have a big mess. I clamp it then kinda hang onto it with my hands and roll it out. I’ve got a little stick down here. My brake is 10 feet long, so I’m gonna roll out a nine and a half foot piece. Actually, the brake’s a little over 10. You could … I could do a full 10 but I don’t need it for what I’m doing so I’m going nine and a half. Again, just kinda be careful to hang on to your roll. Once you get to where you wanna be, put your clamps back on. Take your snips. I’m just using some snips like this and I cut it right at nine and a half. We’re all set. Ready to mark it and go back in the brake with it.

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