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What are universal tin snips?

What are universal tinsnips?

Shop for Tinsnips and Aviation Snips


Straight handled universal Straight-handled universal tinsnips are best used for straight cuts in light or heavy duty sheet metal, though they can also handle curves.
left and rright hand universal tinsnips Left and right hand cranked universal tinsnips can also be used for straight cuts, however, due to their long cranked handles, they are the ideal snip for long wide curves in sheet metal.
universal tinsnip The angled handle can provide extra leverage when cutting, as it gives the user knuckle clearance from the material. This eases the task of cutting thicker sheet metal as it allows their hand to work above the material instead of in line with it.


left hand universal tinsnip blade Universal tin snips can be characterised by their unique blades which are narrow yet thick in depth. Compared with straight cut or curved tin snips, the blades may be more suitable for delicate or accurate shape cutting, due to their narrow design.The blades also have hollow ground edges (a concave edge is ground behind the blade), making them extremely sharp and allowing them to shear through the sheet metal effectively.
straight and cranked Straight-handled universal tin snips have a simple straight blade and handle with no crank. Universal tin snips are also available in either left hand cranked or right hand cranked versions.
universalt cutting Cranked means that their handles are set at an angle to the blade. This is in order to give knuckle clearance and greater hand control when cutting.
clockwise arrow A left hand cranked universal tin snip is suitable for left handed users and is used for straight cuts and cutting metal off in a clockwise direction. They are ideal for cutting curves to the right.
anti-clockwise arrow A right hand cranked universal tin snip is suitable for right handed users and is used for straight cuts and cutting metal in an anti-clockwise direction. They are ideal for cutting curves to the left.
confused When selecting a tool for a particular task, straight cut and straight universal tin snips are very similar in design and purpose. Straight universal tin snips, however, are ideal when the task may involve some light curves as they will allow this, whereas straight cut tin snip will not.Similarly, cranked universal tin snips are an ideal tool to choose over curved tin snips in many curve cutting situations, as the angle of the handle means the cutting process can be sped up as the user’s hands will not get caught on the edges of the metal.


Universal tin snips can range in overall length from 250-350mm (10-14″ approx.). The bigger the tin snip, the greater its capacity, and so you should choose your snip based on the gauge of material that needs to be cut.

Here is a guide to the size of tin snip that should be used for different metal thickness. Please not that this may change slightly between each model.

tape measure

Tin snip

 Mild steel / soft metal (ga)

 Stainless steel (ga)

10″  20  24
 11″  19  23
 12″  18  22
 14″  18  22

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