Before going to the store and being confused about what type of hole punching tool to purchase, you first have to identify the type of material you need to punch a hole in. There are many different forms of hole punch tools for many different types of materials including leather, paper, fabric and more.
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Hole Punch Tools for Leather
Single Hole Hand Punch. This leather hole puncher is just as it sounds, a hand-held punch that has a single size punch on it. It is very similar to a paper hole puncher you can get at any office supply except the punch is specially designed for working with leather. This punch is not spring loaded though, so you have to manually open and close it.
Spring Loaded Single Punch. This leather hole puncher is just like the punch above with one main exception: it is spring loaded. You have to manually close it, but due to the spring, it pops back open.
Hole Punches. These are the simplest of tools, looking like a straight piece of hollowed out metal. You need a hammer and either a special mat or piece of wood to use with these. The idea is simple: you place the leather down on the mat or wood. Position the open end of the punch where you want the hole. Strike the other end with the hammer forcing the punch through the leather. These come in all shapes and sizes.
Hole Punch Tools for Fabric
When working with fabric, holes are punched into the fabric to make grommet holes, insert snaps, or to make holes for eyelets. While there are tools that are similar to the ones used for leather that are for use on fabric, it is much easier and quicker to work with a tool that also does the setting of the snap, grommet or eyelet at the same time as it makes the punch.
Eyelet Pliers. When using these, you load the pliers with the eyelet you are going to use, determine where on the fabric you want the eyelet to be, line up the loaded pliers and press the pliers' handle closed. In that single action, the eyelet pliers punch the hole, line up the eyelet and secure it to the fabric.
Grommet Setter. Since grommets are used for more heavy duty use, a different type of tool is used. A grommet setter comes with a stand and a punch. Since you will be hammering down on the top of the punch into the stand (anvil), you will need to place the stand on a surface that does not mind being marred up, such as a scrap of wood or concrete. You place one piece of the grommet on the anvil and the other on the punch. Place the fabric on top of the anvil with the location for the grommet centred over the anvil. Place the punch over the hole in the anvil and strike the top with a hammer.
Snap setters vary greatly from tools that are similar to the grommet setter to little one piece tools that have a spring loaded press down punch.
Hole Punch Tools for Paper
Punches for paper are widely varied due to the explosion of scrap booking as a hobby. A trip to your local craft or scrap booking store will lead you to many hundreds, if not thousands, of various paper hole punches. No matter what shape you want to punch out, or what size, you will probably find it in stores or online.
These hole punchers are as simple as a single standard hole punch, like you find in stores by the school supplies, or they can be extremely complex. There are punches that now come in sets. To make realistic looking paper flowers, they are multiple punches that cut out different layers of the flower that you then stack to make a single paper flower.
Other Types of Hole Punches
There are various other types of hole punches as well.
For those who make crafts out of thin sheets of wood, there are various sizes of wood hole punches available. They look similar to the simple leather hole punch, but the cutting edge is specially made for wood.
For people work with metal and would like to punch a perfect hole in the thin sheets, there are metal hole punch pliers available. They are very similar to the spring-loaded leather punch, with the exception that the cutting surface is designed specially for cutting metal.
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