Snips took a step back in order to view his latest creation. There, on the workbench before him, stood an elegantly crafted bird table. It had been hollowed out of a single piece of wood, with holes of various sizes running through it where seeds and other feed could be placed for the birds. The varying sizes meant that the larger birds wouldn't be able to fit inside to eat food meant for the smaller birds. It resembled a log that had been stripped bare crossed with a Swiss cheese. Alot could be done with hooftools and mouthsaws, but hollowing out a single piece of wood like this took something more. Something magic.
Snips had managed to create it thanks to his unique ability, to cut using magic. Soft materials like wood were easy to work with and even stone and metals could be sliced if he concentrated hard enough. Oddly, his power wouldn't work on anything living, which meant that a tree would have to be cut down before his magic could affect it. He didn't know why this was but Snips liked not having to worry about his magic hurting anypony.
"Cutting it pretty close, eh?" said a familiar voice from the doorway. Snips turned towards the new arrival, grinning at the terrible pun as he did so.
"Slow and steady, my friend." He replied, echoing one of Snails's more usual sayings.
The lanky brown pony stepped inside, his gaze shifting between the mounds of wood chippings and sawdust that were scattered around the floor, and the bird table on the workbench. They'd have a lot of cleaning to do before they could get the place back in order.
Together Snips and Snails ran the workshop, each just about good enough with telekinesis to use a hammer and nails, and with Snips able to cut and carve the wood into whichever shapes and sizes they needed. Snips had spent a year working an apprenticeship with Ponyville's traditional carpenter, learning how to use each of the regular tools before experimenting with his magic to achieve the same effects. It was during Snips's time with the carpenter that Snails finally learned about his own particular talent.
It was actually Twilight who had worked it out. She saw Snails struggle to create light from his horn and couldn't help but investigate why using magic to make a light was so difficult for him. She discovered that he wasn't creating light with his magic at all. He was drastically increasing the friction between the air and (in this case) his horn until the tip became hot enough to emit light. Understanding what he was actually doing opened up a new world of discovery and experimentation for Snails, helped along considerably by the books Twilight found for him to read.
He now spent much of his time as a blacksmith, working at the forge that Snips had cut for him out of stone. There he could focus heat to melt and mend the broken tools and other metal objects that the ponies of Ponyville brought to him. Sweet Apple Acres in particular relished having a local blacksmith again, their previous options being to try a make-shift repair themselves or buy brand new tools.
Similar to Snips using his magic in a new way to hollow out the bird table, Snails had also tried something new, in order to make his gift. Several weeks earlier, Rarity had approached Snails with a broken jewelled hairpin that she wanted to fix and redesign as a gift for Fluttershy’s birthday. She explained that Fluttershy had given it to her when it had broken, incase any of its precious stones could be used in her outfit designs, and that it had been one of the few pieces of jewellery that Fluttershy had been seen wearing.
So Snails had agreed and together, he and Rarity, had gone to work. She produced designs and sketches, and provided additional precious metals and gems from her own collection. She had also borrowed books from Twilight's library giving detailed descriptions and drawings of gem settings for Snails to reference. He had slowly and delicately bent and altered the pin to Rarity's new design. Making the gem settings had taken several attempts but, through Rarity's patient guidance, Snails had gotten there in the end. The final result matched Rarity's design almost perfectly, and Rarity had assured Snails that the one or two blemishes it had simply added character to the piece. It featured a gold and silver butterfly with tiny gemstones arranged into the cutie marks of Fluttershy's five best friends; one on each wing with the fifth on the body. Until the party, Rarity was keeping it safe and she and Snails were to give the gift to Fluttershy together.
"Come on and help me wrap this thing or we'll be late!" Snips said, snapping Snails out of his reverie.
"Oh-k" came the reply and the two of them hurriedly surrounded the large bird table with several rolls of wrapping paper before sealing it in with ribbons. It was very messily wrapped but that wasn't what was important.
"So how are you going to carry it?" inquired Snails. "It looks pretty heavy."
"It's not actually that heavy, if you help keep it steady I can manage it on my back."
"Oh-k" again came the reply.
Together, they lifted the now-shapeless blob of wrapping paper and set it on Snips's back. With Snips in the lead and Snails following just behind (concentrating on keeping the present steady) they set off down the road and towards the centre of town, from which sounds of the party could already be heard.