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.