Tuesday, November 3, 2015

How To Make Large Round Hole Punches

6.  Round and Oblong Hole Punches

     Round hole punches are many times necessary in leather work for allowing straps to pass through as fastening agents, or for placing other types of fasteners such as rivets.  Round punches can be made from various types of steel pipe, sharpened along the lower edge.  Strike only with wooden or rawhide mallets.  The leather discs created by hole punching will pile up inside the pipe and can be removed easily.  Save those for buttons or for other uses you will come across as time goes on.  The best pipe for hole punches I have come across is the steel used in golf club shafts.  It can be cut with a tubing cutter, and can be sharpened easily and with an edge that holds.  The high quality steel alloy used in metal gold club shafts is some real space age material, and would be costly if you were not salvaging.  I bought a complet set of putters, drivers, and irons at a thrift shop last year for ten dollars.   The tubing available this way also tapers along the shaft so that each shaft will make a selection of sizes.   I have all the high quality tubing I could ever use for making leather tools now.  Again a cheap tubing cutter works very well to cut this high quality tubing, just be careful because the edges you put on it with your files will be almost razor sharp.  Which is nice of course, but you are made of leather too, remember that.

     Sometimes oblong punches can be made this way as well, by hammering out the end of a pipe into the shape you need, and attempts should be made if possible because the oblong punches are some of the more expensive hole punches.  Golf club tubing does not work too well for this, it is brittle and does not take deformation well, but some of the galvanized pipe will work, especially if it is heated to a dull red first, then left to cool without quenching.  That process is called annealing and will soften the metal enough to be hammered into an oblong shape.  Sharpening of the oblong punches is a little trickier than the sharpening of round punches but it can be done with a little patience.  Patience is one of the best tools of any craftsman.

A couple of pictures of an oblong punch, then golf club tube and a tubing cutter.


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