Aviation shears (aka compound-action snips or tin snips) come in three cutting styles - straight cutting, left cutting and right cutting. I plan to work with roofing corrugated steel and have no idea in advance what cuts exactly I'll have to do. Buying all three styles seems an overkill.

I guess straight cutting won't be very versatile if I have to make some tight curve cut, so I have to choose between left cutting and right cutting.

Which style do I choose if I have to choose exactly one style without knowing the exact cutting patterns in advance?

  • It's been a little over a decade, and I'm surprised that no one has corrected this question. They are sometimes called "aviation snips", but never "avionic snips". You pretty much never want to (intentionally) cut avionics! I'll fix the error now... Jul 25 at 10:13

1 Answer 1


Right snips are the most often used and it is possible to use only them, but if you want a neat and professional finish I would advise getting both right- and left-cutting, considering they are not that expensive for a decent set.

If you are a beginner with corrugated it may be worth getting offset snips if you're planning on cutting the length of sheets. If you are only doing penetrations or trimming corners etc. non-offset ones are the easiest to learn.

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