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.
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There is a certain comfort bred of familiarity. For instance, I know when I reach for my brad nailer or Skilsaw exactly how it feels in my hands from every angle. I don’t have to look — I know. It’s something that’s been trained into me for the past six years, and it frees me up to think about how the cut is going to line up or where the brad’s going to go. It sounds funny to some, but tools like that become extensions of your will rather than clunky objects. It’s this kind of familiarity Milwaukee is now working against in the snip market. Klein and Wiss are, for all intents and purposes, the standard in snips and have been for decades. However, Milwaukee thinks there’s room for improvement.
The new snips have features like a switch lock on the top handle and forged cutting heads. They conform to the standard system of yellow for straight, green for right cut, and red for the left curving cuts — so a pro can still look down into a pouch and grab the right tool the first time without thinking. The lock along the top and inset a shade won’t bump loose in a belt or toolbox. All these traits are dead-on for the tradesman that would need to have one at the ready, day in and day out.
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BuyHardwareSupplies.com is selling these Wiss Metalmaster Offset Vertical Compound Snips for $19.93 — that’s 2 cents less than MSC, FWIW. These feature the same compound action as the regular Wiss snips, and they’ll help you make overhead cuts and give you access to other cuts that require an offset snip.
These shears see a lot of action around my shop, cutting sheet metal, leather, and — best of all — clamshell packaging! They’re like scissors on steroids.
Add a spring to a hand tool and you’ve changed it drastically. Take for instance, scissors: You wouldn’t want to cut fabric or thread all day with even the best pair of scissors, because with every snip you have to reopen the scissors — literally a pain. But a pair of spring-loaded thread nippers open themselves, so you just have to squeeze.
Since spring-loaded tools came on the scene way back when, manufacturers have stuck with the small-and-springy combo, mostly because it works. Whether it’s nippers or spring-loaded pliers, we can see why the spring is a selling point.
Utility knives rock. My favorite use: Instantly defeating tougher-than-depleted-uranium clamshell packaging without hurting myself. Any utility knife’ll help, but if you use one more than casually, you eventually have to deal with the nastiness of swapping a blade.
Wiss recently released a new knife with a “quick change” system to simplify the process.
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