Tag Archives: tin snips
Working in sheet metal can be fun, and it can be frustrating, but if you like old cars eventually there will come a time when you will need to cut, and eventually even weld sheet metal. At first glance it seems as if it would be like working with paper or cardboard, just a little tougher, but paper products don’t stretch and deform like metal does when you try to bend, shape or cut it. Here are a few simple rules to make metal work easier.
When working with sheet metal, always wear long, thick, leather gloves because it only takes a small slip to be cut to the bone with the sharp edge of a metal piece you are working on. Long welding sleeves are not a bad idea either, because sheet metal can cut deep, and accidentally slashing your wrists can be a very serious injury. Eye and face protection is a good idea as well.
Tin snips or Aviation snips, are just like scissors for metal, and are great for smaller cuts or lighter gauge sheet metal.
Snips come in left, right and straight versions, color coded in a nautical fashion:
Left = Red
Right = Green
Straight = Yellow
Cutting with snips can be time consuming and physically taxing on your hands and arms, but great for cutting complicated, small shapes. Snips also leave an edge that is often a bit ragged and curved from the cutting.
For longer cuts, or just getting the job done faster and neater, there is the Electric Metal Shear. An electric motor moves a small block up and down, pinching the metal between it and a fixed block on the other side. The uniformity of the cut is much better with the electric shear, and the quality of the edge it leaves is better too. Plus it takes no effort and a lot less time to use.
The small cutting blocks, compared to the size of the jaws on the snips, make it easier to use the shear to cut out tighter curved lines in metal parts. Most electrical powered shears have no problem cutting though up to 16 gauge steel, which can be nearly impossible with a pair of manual snips.
Clamp your sheet metal securely to the table or bench so you have both hands free to maneuver the shears around. This will make things much easier. Straight lines and even fairly tight curves are much easier to make with the electric shears. To smooth out the slight curve the shears sometimes leave, if you have an English wheel, you can just use the flattest bottom anvil, and roll the edge through with minimal pressure.
Just like any cutting tool, electric shears will eventually become dull over time. We sell replacement jaw sets for our electric shear but don't worry, you wont need a new set for a long time.
So these are some basic tips that should help you to cut and shape metal pieces for your next project quicker and easier. With a little practice you’ll be able to cut metal as if you were a school kid making paper snowflakes.
If you've ever gone into a professional restoration or repair shop you'd be amazed by the size of the toolboxes that they have. Some of them are as big, heavy, and expensive as a car! We've found that when you ask the pros which tools they use most often, they will rattle off 5-10 tools that are their favorites. Obviously it's a great help to have all of the expensive specialty tools for those odd jobs they encounter, but there's always a core group of products that they can't live without. We put together this list of tools that the pros commonly list off of as their favorites.
1. A Complete Ratchet and Socket Set- Regardless if you're doing autobody, maintenance, or full restorations, everyone can use a comprehensive ratchet and socket set. A good start is to get the tools that will allow you to complete the widest variety of jobs. We suggest a mid-length ratchet with an adjustable head like the GearWrench Flex Head 3/8 Ratchet and a comprehensive mixed set of standard and metric sockets. More and more cars are using metric hardware these days, and it is a good idea to have at least the common sizes on hand!
2.Quality Hammer selection- It's inevitable that you'll be faced with the need to "persuade" something to move with a hammer on your car. Hammers are amazing tools and in the right hands can do anything from fix a dent to remove a stuck bolt in your suspension. We'd suggest investing in a quality hammer kit with both rubber and soft face hammers and traditional metal dead blow hammers (we affectionately call "BFH's"). If you plan to do body work, you can't use just any old hammer, make sure you pick up a Hammer and Dollies to assure dead straight metal forming.
3. Dual Action Sander-Dual action or DA sanders are great to keep around, and a necessity if you plan to do any paint or body work. These are a time saver when removing paint or flattening out filler, and are extremely simple to use. We suggest a palm DA sander for anyone that plans to tackle any sort of body work.
4. MIG Welder- If you're working on anything mechanical there will come a time when you'll need metal stuck together. It doesn't matter if it's custom fabricated parts or just fixing rust, a good MIG welder is essential to your garage. The Eastwood MIG 175 is a 220V welder that can handle most anything a DIY enthusiast can throw at it, we even throw in the spool gun for aluminum welding!
5. Ratchet Wrenches- We love tools that save time, especially in a small package. Ratcheting wrenches give you the ability to quickly remove hardware that a ratchet can't get reach, but they still retain the ratcheting feature so you don't have to take the wrench off each quarter turn (we hate that!). Check out the selection of Ratcheting Wrenches we offer. There's a good chance we offer a set that will fit your needs.
6. Screwdrivers- This seems to be a no-brainer, but everyone needs a good set of screwdrivers in their tool box, garage, kitchen junk drawer, shed, etc. You can never have enough screwdrivers. They seem to be one of the most universal tools that ALWAYS come in handy. If you want the best bang for your buck we suggest picking up either the Fairmount Drill and Driver Bit Kit or the Channellock Ratcheting Screwdriver Kit that will allow you to remove and tighten just about any screw, hex head, and torx style screws.
7. Locking Pliers- We'd all love a perfect world where every part, nut, bolt, and screw comes off easily with the proper tool, but cruel reality comes to ruin your day when you find that rounded off nut or bolt on your project. While we wouldn't advocate using the locking pliers as your go-to item in your toolbox, they are a valuable universal tool that can make many tough jobs easier! We have used the Eastwood Locking Pliers to save our necks countless times!
8. Sharp Snips/Cutters- At some point a DIY guy is going to need to cut metal, wiring, or something on their vehicle. The Eastwood Aviation Snips can cut anything from 18 and 20 gauge sheet metal for fabrication to electrical wiring in a pinch. Some of the most experienced metal workers will name their tin snips as one of the tools they can't live with out. We'd have to agree!
9. A strong Pry Bar- Like locking pliers, Pry Bars are one of those tools that are a necessity and need to be used with care. You will surely run up against something that needs more force than your prying hands can handle. That's where leverage and a quality pry bar comes into play. Use these to help remove stuck brake calipers, suspension parts, or even the belts on your tractor. It really is one of the most universal tools you can have in the toolbox.
10. Hex Key Wrenches- Hex socket cap bolts used to be hardware that was predominately found on European cars in the past, but as the years have passed most auto and motorcycle manufacturers have begun to use them. These days a complete set of Hex Key Wrenches are almost as important as a set of standard wrenches.
If you stock your toolbox with these items you can tackle most any job when maintaining, restoring, or repairing your car, truck, motorcycle, ATV, or most anything else that has hardware. Be sure you check the Eastwood website for all of the must-have tools no matter how basic or unique, we probably have them!
Fathers Day is fast approaching and we have loads of great Fathers Day Sale Items ready for you to wow your dad with. We made up a quick questionnaire for a few of our Eastwood Dads about the celebration that is Dad!
Meet Jim N. he is one of our customer service team leads and a long time motorhead!
1. Tell us about your pride and joy(s) (your kids of course!)-
I have a 10 year old Daughter (Adriana) and 3 year old Son (Tristan)
2. What would you prefer for Fathers Day, a new pair of socks, a tie, or tools and why?
Tools!..I have over $10,000 in tools and want more! Although, I really could use a set of quality Eastwood Tin Snips!
3. Did you get your love for cool vehicles with engines from your dad? Any fond memories of your dad and you working together?
My dad was a Nuclear Engineer specializing in diesel generators as backup power to nuclear reactors. I was able to go with him a few times when they were rebuilding the generators and actually stand in one of the piston cylinders, yes they were that big. I knew then I wanted to be a mechanic and went to college to learn the trade.
4. If you could hand down any tools from your collection down to your kids, which would they find the most useful?
5. What tool do you reach for the most when working around the garage or house
My flashlight…seems the older I get the worse I see!