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Imagine yourself as a marketing pro confronted with selling a new hand tool — like the aviation snips pictured above. You have to convey to people walking by in the big box aisle what makes your snips different from everyone else’s. But here’s the problem: snips look like, well, snips. Look at the picture above! They’re snips.

Of course, the designers would disagree. Whether you agree or disagree with their decisions, it’s clear from the press release that Wiss’ engineers put some thought into them. For example, let’s start with the cutter blades. Wiss added CNC-machined wave-pattern serrations on both blades to “provide more aggressive shearing action, higher resistance to tooth breakage, and longer blade life.” They also use an investment casting process — a relatively old process known for its increased accuracy over sand casting.

The feature list continues: a “free-floating pivot bolt design” reportedly spreads side loads more evenly across the bolt, increasing life over threaded-bolt designs. Wiss also makes the snips out of valve-grade steel.

Granted, we haven’t seen these snips in person, so we can’t tell you for sure whether or not this effort translates into a kick-ass product or not. But we are pleased to see the information included in the press release. You’d be shocked how often we get press releases that don’t tell us anything at all about a product — and certainly nothing about why the company made the design choices they made. Sometimes we’re lucky enough to get to talk to the people behind the product, and each time we seem to uncover something really interesting, even when the tools seem pretty ordinary.

So here’s the big question: What makes one pair of aviation snips better than another? Personally, I suspect that the floating bolt would make a difference for me. I’ve owned pivoting tools (pliers, cutters, etc.) that bit the dust due to a threaded bolt. But what about the serrations? I checked, and none of the snips I currently own are serrated.

Wiss HVAC Snips [Warning: PDF Link]
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10 Responses to Interesting Aviation Snips from Wiss

  1. Steve says:

    You lost me on this.

    Is something new?

    I’ve had a set of these for years.

  2. Bryan says:

    They aren’t really new, but they are definitely worth the funds. I would get the offset jaw left and right rather than the regular jaw ones pictured, it allows for longer and tighter curved cutting without relief cuts or deforming the sheet. The serrations not only help cut the metal, they also grab onto it so that it doesn’t slide out of the jaws when you close them, which tends to happen with other shears and snips.

  3. Steve says:

    I picked up a set of the offset snips about a year ago and really like them.


  4. Tony says:

    You need all three pairs, straight cuts, left curves & right curves.

    As far as the features, I’m with Steve. My ‘fell off a boat from China a few years ago’ set have the free-floating pivot, serrated edges etc, but are perhaps not made from ‘value grade steel’, whatever that is.

  5. fred says:

    We have tin snips of various sorts from Wiss, Midwest,Klein, Malco, Edma (French), and NWS (German). I’ve never seen a pair fail in regular use that was not abused (e.g. used as a bolt cutter by hammering on the handles as one “mechanic” fessed-up). We probably have more Wiss pairs than others – many older than others too – so maybe that attests to their longevity

  6. Dave says:

    Just finished a fairly large and intricate sheetmetal project using left and right offset sheetmetal snips(Midwest – made in the USA) The left and right differ in which side curls up as waste, and which side is the work piece. They both make laser straight cuts. the yellow ones mangle both sides. throw em away.

    There is definitely an art to using snips. Let the anvil do the work, don’t Let the blades leave the metal, only cut 1/3″ at a squeeze. On those cuts that have to be really precise, rough the work in to about an inch so you can get a nice curl of waste metal on the cut that counts. YouTube has tons of demonstrations and hints.

    I could not believe how much work a 15 dollar tool can get done when used properly.

    • browndog77 says:

      While both red & green snips will make straight cuts, the side the waste comes up on determines which turn they are capable of (R or L). If your yellow handled snips are mangling the metal, there is something wrong. Offsets are designed to enable working in tight quarters where lateral access is limited, and they take a little longer to get used to. No matter what snips you own or use, they are not designed to cut in a manner that leaves a finished edge. Shears are the tool for that, and even those cuts should be burnished. I know from experience that most manufacturers of appliances have forgotten that, and I have the scars to prove it, LOL!

  7. jack says:

    Definitely better than any other snips and worth the money

  8. Rick says:

    Wiss offsets suck. They do NOT cut at the point. Forget it if you need to cut short, intricate cuts! In addition, the blades pull apart after 100 cuts or so. The so called non-threaded center pivot bolt does NOT hold the blades together! Go Midwest Snips!!! Made in USA and never any issues!

  9. rob says:

    unless wiss (cooper tools) has changed something those look like the snips in my box down to the casting numbers on them

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