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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys,

I'm probably going to be needing to make some cuts on small sections of 6-7" ducting for venting I need to finish up on an over range microwave install. Not quite sure what kind of tin snips I need or what I should get - I saw there are multiple types like right, left, straight and then ones that cut at different angles etc.

In my case I'll probably just be trimming some existing snap-lock ducting down to a shorter length and maybe making cuts to make piece-to-piece transitions but that's it.

Not looking for anything fancy - just something that will get the job done and won't break the bank. Should I just go grab a pair of straight aviation shears/tin snips from Lowes?

Something like these?:
https://www.lowes.com/pd/CRAFTSMAN-1-18-in-60CrV-Snips/1000594719

Or would these be better since they're angled?
https://www.lowes.com/pd/CRAFTSMAN-1-18-in-60CrV-Snips/1000594767
 

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A cheap left offset type will probably do all you need. I always bought Wiss when working in the trade but you probably don't need top line quality for occasional DIY use.

I bought a left offset one at Manards and it was of surprisingly good quality. I prefer the offset for knuckles sake.

Left Offset Snips

3-piece set
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
A cheap left offset type will probably do all you need. I always bought Wiss when working in the trade but you probably don't need top line quality for occasional DIY use.

I bought a left offset one at Manards and it was of surprisingly good quality. I prefer the offset for knuckles sake.

Left Offset Snips

3-piece set
Thanks! I'm right-handed. Does the left-offset just make it so that your knuckles don't hit the exposed sheet metal compared to the right-offset or straight? I'm assuming if you're left-handed that the right-offset shears might be something to consider, conversely?
 

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Thanks! I'm right-handed. Does the left-offset just make it so that your knuckles don't hit the exposed sheet metal compared to the right-offset or straight? I'm assuming if you're left-handed that the right-offset shears might be something to consider, conversely?
Yes, I find the offset saves my knuckles from getting barked.

As for left or right cut, your handedness is one consideration but also there are times when an obstacle makes both types necessary (handle swing arc hits something). As for straight cut, you don't really need them for small DIY work since you can make a straight cut with the left or right easy enough. Conversely, cutting right or left with a straight cut.. no so easy.
 

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I bought these from Harbor freight and they work well for straight cuts - honestly you can't go wrong with a $4 pair. I've done a fair few cuts already and they're still in one piece. You could always get a better pair or a different offset type after trying these first.

You will get a sore arm and the process is a bit fiddly. If you end up cutting a ton of duct you could always upgrade to electric shears.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I bought these from Harbor freight and they work well for straight cuts - honestly you can't go wrong with a $4 pair. I've done a fair few cuts already and they're still in one piece. You could always get a better pair or a different offset type after trying these first.

You will get a sore arm and the process is a bit fiddly. If you end up cutting a ton of duct you could always upgrade to electric shears.

Nice, maybe I'll just pickup the set of left, straight and right lol:
https://www.harborfreight.com/aviation-snips-3-pc-62157.html
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Wouldn't you like to give this fellow a couple of pointers? If he does enough of this he will probably eventually conclude his basic method is good but it can be simplified.


https://youtu.be/tacWGAozSlk
Got the aviation shears/snips from Harbor Freight - man it's satisfying cutting into the sheet metal! The shears make it so easy and smooth :)

I ended up up cutting multiple strips off as I was going slowly and didn't want to over-cut too much (since I can't add back metal haha) but definitely didn't do what the guy in the video did hahaha.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Maybe the two snip method is a lost art and was replaced with the single snip that cuts a 1/8" curl out. I can't seem to find any vids of the 2 snip method.
I drew a straight line with a sharpie across the sections I needed to cut off and just went at it with the left-offset pair. Of course, the snap-lock tubing I'm unfolding and laying flat when cutting.
The cuts were pretty straight but wanted to curve at some points (even then it was minimal and maybe 1/16" or less off.

Have no clue on the history of tin snipping but the two cut method makes sense to prevent the metal from caving in I guess? In my case, the left hand is 'peeling' the scrap pieces away. I guess since I don't intend on using those scraps it doesn't matter as much to me. But I can see how if you want to salvage the pieces you're cutting off, you might want to be more careful haha.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Also, wear gloves! Sheet metal is bloody sharp and you WILL cut yourself, often without even realizing.
Good idea - I was using a pair of 7mil gloves from Harbor Freight for part of the time. There were a few instances where I got lazy and didn't wear gloves but some of the sides of the sheet metal have dulled. The fresh-cut ends are probably dangerous though but I'm shoving that part up into the adjustable elbow anyway. Fortunately, I haven't cut myself yet (AFAIK!!) but still, probably a good idea to use gloves all the time moving forward haha.
 

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The cuts were pretty straight but wanted to curve at some points (even then it was minimal and maybe 1/16" or less off.
+
When cutting a straight line using cuts-left or cuts-right snips, you have to take smaller bites to keep it on line.

Tip: If you use directional cut snips upside down, they cut the opposite direction. Poor people have poor ways and that's one way they get by with less outlay on tools. I didn't do much tin work but occasionally got pushed into it... I kept my offset left snips under the truck seat... no others. They cut left, right and straight for the small jobs I did.

My neighbor in SpoCal was a retired tin knocker who built the huge dust collectors you see outside or atop some factories. He caught me using my aircraft style left cutters when I was doing the metal lath for my patio roof addition. He brought over his 16" scissor type snips and it was a WOW moment.. made the job 10 times faster and easier. He helped me for a few minutes and one time when I cut a piece free that he was holding, I said, "Be careful, that's sharp." He said, "Oh, you don't say." The fool giving advice to the master. :biggrin2:
 
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