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Tech Article #5 - Tin Snips Care/Safety Tips

by Kevin Smith

  • Always wear safety goggles when using snips.
  • Be careful of the sharp edges of these tools.
  • Wear gloves when working with snips.  Especially when handling the edges of the material you are cutting.
  • Use snips for cutting soft metal only.  Hard or hardened metal may damage the cutting edges of the snips.
  • Use the right size and type of snips for the job on hand.  Don’t try to cut sharp curves with straight cut snips.
  • Avoid springing the blades.  This is the result of trying to cut metal that is to thick for the snips you are using, or by trying to cut heavy wire or nails.
  • Use only hand pressure for cutting.  Never hammer or use your foot to get extra pressure on the cutting edges.  If you are resorting to such a technique, you are using too small a snip – the metal is to thick for the capacity of the snip.
  • Oil pivot bolt on the snips occasionally.
  • Keep the nut and bolt properly adjusted at all times.
  • The average user does not have the proper equipment to resharpen snips.  Do not attempt to resharpen a snip blade in a sharpening device designed for scissors, garden tools or cutlery.
  • Do not use “cheater bars” on handles of snips. You are trying to cut material, which is too thick if you have to resort to this technique.
  • Do not use snips as a hammer, screwdriver or pry bar.
  • And if the snips you own have locking clips, use them when the tools are not in use.  Wipe the cutting edges with a lightly oiled rag.

If you follow these easy care and safety tips when using your tin snips, they will cut cleaner, last longer and you will always be protected from injury.

This article was published on Tuesday March 20, 2007.
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