The mystery of using a tin snips

toomuchglassSeptember 16, 2010

Just a little backround info before I ask my question :

I've been doing stained glass for years . Not your boring old flat,foiled glass ... I loved the metal part of it . I began making original 3-D art. Even solder sculpture

( untill solder became so expensive ) After mastering soldering , I wanted to learn how to do simple welding. I did ! The funniest thing is , I'm a 56 year old gray haired mom , but hey - old dogs can learn new tricks ! LOL I'm really loving it , but I don't have the arm strength to make the stuff I'd like to. NOW ..... I'm interested in using 20 gauge metal sheets ( brass,copper,aluminum) to make stuff.

I have this big old Tin snips from my grandpa - they're huge and could probably cut a car in half ...LOL ( just kidding ) I looked up info on the newest snips - wow -- one cuts to the left - one cuts to the right . I went to Lowe's and bought a WISS that's supposed to cut in any direction . After all this gabbing - my question is - am I supposed to hold the shears differently for cutting curves ? I'm right handed - and seems one side of the flat metal always gets bent & crumpled. What am I doing wrong ?

One more Question ...... I have an excellent new scroll saw . So far - I've only used it to cut wood. Is there a blade to cut 20 gauge metal ? Would that be better than the snips ? ( I love doing some intricate things with tight curves )

Well -- I'm so sorry ...I didn't mean to talk your ears off .... I knew the experts hang out here ! Thank you all so much for your help .

Kathy

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brickeyee

"I looked up info on the newest snips - wow -- one cuts to the left - one cuts to the right . I went to Lowe's and bought a WISS that's supposed to cut in any direction . After all this gabbing - my question is - am I supposed to hold the shears differently for cutting curves ?"

Tin snips are not usually handed.

Aircraft snips ARE handed and have a much better mechanical advantage.

You can cut thicker material than you could with old style tin snips.

The left and right cutting snips are designed to leave the 'keep' side of the cut flat while the scrap side becomes curled and bent.

The straight snips (yellow handle) will not produce tight turns and can bend the 'keep' side of the cut if they are not used straight.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2010 at 4:53PM
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paulbm

Hi Paul here, You put the red snips in your right hand to cut
counter clockwise, and the green snips in your left to cut clockwise. When you are cutting with snips, don't cut all the way through. When you are cutting watch the jaws on the snips and only cut about 3/4 of the way then release and move the snips ahead, this way you do not leave those sharp bends.
When you are cutting with the red snips in your right hand,
the metal on your right will lay flat, if you take the metal on the left and hold it up about 20 degrees, then it will not bend, and both pieces of metal will be good. paul

    Bookmark   November 6, 2010 at 8:42PM
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toomuchglass

What great advice ........ thank you both ! Now I can cut stuff without bending !

    Bookmark   November 6, 2010 at 8:48PM
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jolj

toomuchglass, can we see photo's.
Do you work with youth, Boy scouts & Girl scouts need persons like you.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2011 at 2:06PM
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phantom_gardner

toomuchglass I too would love to see some pics of your work. I dabbel in metal work and have a small forge. I also am wanting to learn stained glass.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2011 at 7:18PM
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lithigin

paulbm, thank you so much for your detailed description of how to use these things! I'm a novice DIYer installing tin backsplash tiles and I tried the aviation snips (all 3) on our sample tiles and couldn't get any sort of straight cut. I was holding the snips like scissors - up and down. The how-to video on the company's website basically says "cut them and then install them". The tip about holding them at an angle was crucial. That, and having a paper guillotine. :)

    Bookmark   October 2, 2011 at 7:02AM
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