The paper hole punch was patented in the mid to late 1800s and has been used around the world since. The paper punch is traditionally used to create holes on the edge of paper to include in a binder. Internationally, the standard is a two-hole punch, but in the U.S., Mexico and Canada, a three-hole punch is used. Sweden prefers a four-hole punch.
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Office hole punches are usually found with a dimension of 5.5 to 6.3mm, which is the international standard, according to the Dimensions Guide website. Office hole punches are also manufactured in a larger size. These larger hole punches that make holes 6 to 8mm in diameter are used in the U.S.’s traditional three-hole punch. Office punches are manufactured using springs that allow the user to push down to make a hole and then spring back ready for the next use.
Paper is not the only material used with hole punches. Leather workers use them when making belts and assembly pieces that require grommets and rivets. Revolving punches are one of the most versatile of hole punches. They feature a revolving head with six different size punches. After choosing the size of the hole, the punch head is placed on the material and struck with a mallet. The book, “Leather Crafting in an Afternoon,” suggests using the revolving punches for leather, but they also work well with metal and paper.
Hammer punches are used most when working with metal. These punches either have interchangeable heads with different size holes or are sold in sets with metal tubes of different sizes. The hammer punch is very precise and is placed on the metal or other material and struck with a hammer to create a hole. Many sets come with punches for brass, steel and composite. The hammer punch is not exclusive to metal. Many crafters use the punch with thick cardstock or when punching holes in many layers of paper or plastic at once.
Craft punches come in a variety of sizes and shapes, but the larger craft hole punches range in size from 8 to 55mm or approximately 1/3 inch to 2-1/4 inches. Craft punches are available in hand punches, similar to office single-hole punches, and in larger punches that use a lot more pressure to depress a large circle that punches out the hole. According to “Getting the Most from Your Scrapbook Tools,” craft punches are used on a variety of material from paper to thin sheets of copper.
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