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<p>Aviation Snips<br>This metal-working tool is bent to let the user grip it with a straight wrist, getting more power for cuts on overhead ducts or thick sheets of stainless steel. Snip handles are color-coded to the cuts the tool makes: red goes straight and left; green goes straight and right.</p>

Aviation Snips
This metal-working tool is bent to let the user grip it with a straight wrist, getting more power for cuts on overhead ducts or thick sheets of stainless steel. Snip handles are color-coded to the cuts the tool makes: red goes straight and left; green goes straight and right.

Photo by Ted Morrison

Most people, when faced with cutting something around the house, will reach into the junk drawer for the same dull scissors they've used for years. You know the ones: The handles are worn and scratched, the blades are coated with dried tape adhesive, and the tips are broken off from all those times you used them instead of a screwdriver.

But scissors — actually all cutting tools — deserve more respect. Each type is designed to slice a specific material, from long-bladed scissors, or shears, that work on flexible paper and fabric to stubby snips (like those shown here) meant for stiff metal and vinyl. Using them on something else is what makes them dull. That's why household members who sew tend to murdelize those who borrow their fabric shears, even "Just for a minute, Honey."

You're better off assembling a collection of cutters to cover a variety of projects: Start with general-purpose utility tools, then add specialty items as needed. On the following pages, you'll find a gallery of innovative cutters — some for specific jobs, others indispensible for everyday use. And none should ever see the inside of a junk drawer.

<p><strong>Wire-Cable Snips</strong><br>Hardened jaws with a compound pivot have extra force to gnaw through tough metal rods and cables, such as piano wire or guitar strings.<br> <br>Hard wire rope cutter, from Midwest Snips, $50</p>

Wire-Cable Snips
Hardened jaws with a compound pivot have extra force to gnaw through tough metal rods and cables, such as piano wire or guitar strings.

Hard wire rope cutter, from Midwest Snips, $50

Photo by Ted Morrison
<p><strong>Napping Shears</strong><br>Carpet installers use this odd-shaped tool to trim rug pile. The wide blade rests on the carpet while the curved edge follows along baseboards.<br> <br>Duckbill napping shears, from Heritage Cutlery, $18</p>

Napping Shears
Carpet installers use this odd-shaped tool to trim rug pile. The wide blade rests on the carpet while the curved edge follows along baseboards.

Duckbill napping shears, from Heritage Cutlery, $18

Photo by Ted Morrison
<p><strong>Serrated Snips</strong><br>General-purpose snips have spring-open handles and serrated blades that mow through everything from vinyl to flashing to window screen.<br> <br>Multi-Snip, from Fiskars, $13</p>

Serrated Snips
General-purpose snips have spring-open handles and serrated blades that mow through everything from vinyl to flashing to window screen.

Multi-Snip, from Fiskars, $13

Photo by Ted Morrison
<p><strong>Tinner's Snips</strong><br>Twisted blades can follow straight lines and moderate curves in thin sheet metal, such as flashing.<br> <br>Wiss metal-cutting snips, from Cooper Tools, $19</p>

Tinner's Snips
Twisted blades can follow straight lines and moderate curves in thin sheet metal, such as flashing.

Wiss metal-cutting snips, from Cooper Tools, $19

Photo by Ted Morrison

Where to Find It

Upright snips:

Model P6900

Midwest Tools and Cutlery Co.

Sturges, MI

800-782-4659

www.midwestsnips.com

Napping shears:

Model #548 Heritage Cutlery, Inc.

Bolivar, NY

800-252-8452

www.heritagecutlery.com

Serrated snips:

Multi-Snip

Fiskars Brands, Inc.

Wasau, WI

www.fiskars.com

Tinner snips:

Model V-10

Wiss, Coopertools

Apex, NC

www.coopertools.com

Poultry snips:

Model #42914-001

Zwilling J.A. Henckels

www.zwilling.com

Laminate nibbler:

Model MA72510

Klenk Industries, Inc.

Wilmington, DE

800-327-5619

www.klenktools.com

Needlenosed snips:

Model P657

Midwest Tools

Offset snips:

Model #2073201

Irwin Industrial Tools

Hunterville, NC

800-461-7946

www.irwin.com

Carpet shears:

Model #718LRC

Heritage

Vinyl-siding snip:

Model VS12

Malco Products, Inc.

Annadale, MN

800-328-3530

www.malcotools.com

Dressmaker shears:

Model G-8

Gingher, Inc.

Greensboro, NC

336-292-6237

www.gingher.com

Utility scissors:

Model #7241

Heritage

Electrical cable snips:

Model BXN

Wiss

Ergonomic snips:

Model 14-569

MaxSteel

All-purpose snips:

The Stanley Works

860-225-5111

www.stanleyworks.com

Replaceable-blade snips:

Model M1200

Midwest Tools