Manual Tools for Die Cutting Leather Patterns

Written by kaye wagner
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Manual Tools for Die Cutting Leather Patterns
Leather punches are paper hole punches with sharper blades. (hole punch image by robert mobley from

Leatherworkers refer to leather die cutting as leather stamping or punching. It is the process by which shapes are either pressed into or cut the surface of the leather. Most hobby leatherworkers use manual die cuts that either have jaws like a pair of pliers or they require the use of a mallet. Some punches are heavier than others and are for use on thick leather, such as cowhide, while others are lighter and should be used on thin leather, such as kangaroo hide. You can purchase leather stamps at craft stores or art supply stores.

Spring Punch

Spring punches look like paper hole punches except that that there is an interchangeable punch bit that screws into the inside of one of the jaws. Most of these punches are spring loaded to make it easier to press. These punches are made from durable pressed steel to handle the thickness of the leather. Some punches have ergonomic rubber handles for comfort and to prevent them from slipping.

Rotary Punch

Rotary punches look like spring punches except that they have a rotary on top of one jaw that holds several punch bits. The bits look likes spokes. They rotate around the jaw and snap and lock into place when you are ready to use them. Some rotary punches allow you to screw in other punch bits while others are permanently fixed to the rotary. If you are making a pattern with several different punches, the rotary punch will take less time than a spring punch because you can simply load the tool with the punch bits you will need.

Punch Tube

Punch tubes are metal tubes that leatherworkers screw into a spring or rotary punch. They come in a variety of sizes and have a sharp edge on one end and screw threads on the other. They com in a variety of shapes, such as letters or basic, round holes.

Hole Punch

Leather hole punches look like a chisel with a sharp point on one end and a smooth surface on the other. Leatherworkers place the sharp end on the leather and then hammer the other end so that the point cuts through the leather. Some hole punches have one point while others have several next to each other, making them particularly useful for punching evenly-spaced sewing holes in leather.

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