“Side” cutters are one of the most basic requirements but there are a thousand different styles and brands, I have one pair of six inch side cutters in my line bag. I have seen techs with a drawer full; long handled, angle headed, flush cut , 8″, 6″, you name it they have it. I too am a tool collector but my budget doesn’t stand for frivolity. My shop box contains three pair of diagonal cutters, in 4 inch, 6 inch and 8 inch. The 4 inch pair are high quality (expensive little nippers) pointed flush cut pliers that I use to cut tape, wire shielding and insulation from aircraft wiring. The 8 inch pair are vintage vacuum grip metal handled Snap-On units that I use for larger cotter pins, while the six inch pair is my every day go to pair that I also have duplicated in my line bag. The most important thing about side cutters is that they cut (duh). To this end take a look at the latest offerings from Home Depot, Sears, and Harbor Freight. No, I mean take a really CLOSE look, do the cutting edges even touch? When I first started buying side cutters the test was could they cut paper. My Snap-on 8 inch pair could, even though the cutting edges looked almost blunt. They have remained sharp over the years because the cutting edges are so beefy.
I’m not saying you have to buy from the tool truck but do look closely at the cutting edge for whatever you buy.
TIP: The next time you have some left over PRC 890, or 1440 fuel tank sealant, or even faying sealant, put some inside the jaws of your side cutters. When it cures, use a razor bade to cut along the jaw line so they will open. Now you won’t have to chase that cotter pin cutting or safety wire pig tail across the ramp.
KNIPEX 70 01 110 Diagonal Cutters
are very good German steel that will last a life time.