Aviation snips, also known as compound snips, are ideal for cutting aluminium and sheet metal. Their handles are colour-coded, and it's not just for decoration. Here's how to choose the right snips for the job using the correct colour designation.
Cutting curves in sheet metal is difficult. The material is awkward and unforgiving, as well as extremely sharp. There are three types of aviation snips that are designed to make three different cuts much easier.
Yellow-handled snips are made to cut in a straight line. They can also cut wide curves and are ideal for flat pieces of metal. Green handled snips are designed to make straight and right (clockwise) cuts and are perfect for right-handers cutting duct. Red-handled snips cut best straight and to the left (counter-clockwise). You can use any of the snips in either hand, but they will only perform well when cutting in the direction they were intended for.
Look for offset snips as they keep your hands up and away from the sharp metal, and always wear leather gloves when handling and cutting metal and aluminium.