MIlwaukee tin snips

Tom King

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In the middle of a standing seam roof job, I've finally found some sheet metal snips that I really like.   There are other, more expensive snips available, but unless you are going to work sheet metal every day, they're not worth the price.   I rarely use anything but snips with offset handles, so your hand stays up, out of the cut, and more away from the dangerous, cut edge of sheet metal.

For decades, I've bought Wiss offset snips, but the quality from one pair to another varies enough that I only felt comfortable handling them in a store, and holding the cutting edges up to a light, to see how they mesh, before buying any.  I've ruined more than a few pair by forcing a cut with them too, and the Milwaukee's seem a lot stronger.

I have some of the large, gray Malco snips that I like for cuts where it doesn't matter if the handle stays above the cut line, and picked up a new pair of this type with offset handles, that I had never seen before.  What a disappointment!!  This finished me with Malco.  The cut if limited to the length of the cutting edges, because the cut line jambs  into the hinge mechanism, so they won't work for long cuts.  I probably should contact Malco about the problem, but have just been too busy.  They should have known better.

Long story short, I bought a pair of offset Milwaukee snips in Home Depot last week, just to try, and I have no reason to buy anything else.  The locking mechanism, that keeps the handles closed is pretty chintzy, but the ease of cutting, and handling is way better than any WIss I've ever had in my hands.  They claim long edge life, and from using them for one week, I can attest to the fact that I haven't seen better.

I ordered some more different types today off of ebay, but Home Depot had the best price I've seen on the left and right cutting offset pair.  You can do almost anything you need to with this pair. Either will cut a curve in one direction-the reason you need a pair, and either will also cut a straight line.

Lenox snips cut as nicely as these Milwaukee, but the tipping point goes to Milwaukee for their "flush bolt" design, which lets you use less of a curl during the cut, making the cut with less effort.

My compliments to the designers!

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Thanks for this. I have Malco inspired 14” for aluminum sheet work. The Wiss have a learning curve. I have learned to rotate the pin as they are not straight. Once the sweet spot is found, I strike an indent that locks the alignment. (I am sure there is a name for that which I simply don’t know.) To not need to do this seems worth giving those a try. 

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