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The Right Tin Snip for the Job

April 17, 2018

Left-, right-, and straight-cutting snips with single- and compound-leverage each have their place on a jobsite

Tin snips come in many varieties. Offset aviation snips come in right-hand and left-hand versions. Some are straight snips.

To determine which snip is which, look at the lower jaw; that is the waste side. If the jaw in on the right, the snip is a right-cutting aviation snip. If the waste from your cut will be on the right side, choose right-hand snips.

For straight-cutting snips, there are a couple of types. The large Tinner Snips ones have a broad, flat blade which works as a straight edge to guide for butting the snips to a flat rib on a standing seam roof panel, for example, which helps you make consistently square cuts.

The other straight snips, the more compact ones, have compound leverage, which means that they require less force to make the cut. Similar to the way a pulley reduces the amount of force needed to lift an object by 50%, the compound leverage in the smaller snips make cutting metal much easier—so your hands will last longer on big jobs.

The larger snips look stronger, but the little guys use leverage.

—This tip was collected onsite at Professional Remodeler's 2017 Model Remodel project in southern Connecticut.

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