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What Is a Leather Punch?

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  • Written By: Patrick Roland
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 10 July 2014
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    Conjecture Corporation
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A leather punch is an essential piece of leatherworking equipment that is used to customize a piece. There actually are two distinct kinds of leather punch, each using the same process but yielding its own results. Hole-creating punches are used in making belts and fringed items. Design-based punches help create unique leather patterns. Many times, a piece will use both kinds of leather punches.

A hole-making leather punch can be as basic as a nail or a customized piece made specifically for the job. These punches traditionally are long, thin and sharp at one end. A hole punch can be purchased in various sizes to accommodate the job. To make an incision, the leather hole punch tool is set on the material and hammered through to create a hole.

A more modern alternative to this style of hole leather punch is a revolving hole punch. This item performs the same job but has a clamping mechanism with a rotating wheel featuring various hole punches. The correct size of punch can be spun into place and clamped down onto the leather. This can be more efficient because users do not need to search for different sizes.

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Aside from making holes, a leather punch also can be used to make designs in leather of all types. These punches operate in a similar style but do much more than produce a hole. A traditional steel design punch also is known as a thonging device and features sharp edges that produce various designs. The punch is gently hammered into the leather until it breaks the surface but does not pass completely through the material. Repeating this process creates a pattern across the leather that can add to the presentation of any piece.

These two leather punches are utilized by leatherworkers to create beautiful pieces. Used for hats, vests, jackets and more, these tools help add quality and beauty to this ancient craft. Belts perhaps are the most common items for which leather punches are utilized, because belts require holes for fastening and frequently feature intricate designs. Things such as names, scenes and intricate patterns can be punched into a belt to make it a one-of-a-kine piece for the owner.

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