Last updated: 12/17/2019

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Every job, whether professional or at home, needs a different tool. It also needs the right tool. Whether for repair or DIY projects, having the right tool guarantees speed, quality and efficiency in your work. Do you know what a leather punch is for? If you are not sure, read this detailed article that we have prepared. Find out what this useful tool is–you may not even know that you need one!

Sometimes we need to modify different materials and fabrics in our day-to-day lives. You may need to make holes in a belt or make grommet holes in some camping equipment. The reality is that leather punches (also simply called “punches”) are becoming indispensable items in the toolbox. Throughout this guide, we will show you all the features of leather punches so that you can learn all about them, and why they are so useful.

Key Facts

  • Leather punches are small tools that allow you to make all kinds of modifications in different materials such as leather, rubber, metal, fabrics, and other materials. Depending on the material you work with, punches will have different designs, functionalities and accessories.
  • Punches are very useful for do-it-yourselfers, making repairs on issues that can occur in daily life. From patching clothes to modifying home decor, it is a tool that can get you out of trouble when other things like nails and tape just won’t do.
  • The best punches are the ones that fit your own individual needs, so it is important to be clear about what you want to do. Most punches take up very little space, are versatile and are very easy to use.

Our Selection: The Best Leather Punches on the U.S. Market

When we take a look at the vast tool marketplace, we see that the quantity and variety of punches offered can be overwhelming. There are some punches that are quite basic and others that are very sophisticated because of their versatility or the quantity of accessories included. Don’t know what model to buy? Don’t worry. The selection that follows is designed to help you figure out which one is right for you.

The Best Premium Leather Punch Set

You don’t have to have superhuman strength to use the ProMaster Hole Puncher. The Hand-Grips are ergonomically designed, and easy to press together. No more sore hands or blisters when using this tool. The convenient handle clasp makes the ProMaster leather hole puncher easy-to-store in any tool bag or drawer when not in use.

This premium hole punch set includes six different multi-sized round hole punches to cover a wide array of projects and materials.  The set includes the following punch sizes : 2, 2.5, 3, 3.5, 4, and 4.5mm.  Promaster’s hole punch tool will create precise and professional round holes in plastic, vinyl, leather, paper, fabric, cardboard, canvas, fabrics, silk, and even rubber.

The Best All-Around Leather Punch

Designed for punching neat holes in belts, bags, horse tack and saddles, shoes, sandals, pet collars, ID and store/credit cards and for many different craft projects. Professional quality with the strength and precision you demand, the Pro Hole Punch is designed to make light work of tough jobs.

It will cut neat holes in many types of material including leather, card, felt, fabric, vinyl, paper, canvas, soft plastics and rubber – and with 6 different holes sizes to choose from and a large punch plate for stability it is ideal for most jobs. It is an essential piece in a leather workers tool bag and it’s the professional quality puncher that won’t let you down.

The Best Revolving Leather Punch 

This Revolving model presents us with a punch that is, at the same time, pliers and drills. Made of bronze-finished steel, it is designed to work more effectively on leather and other tough materials. It is capable of making 6 different hole sizes: 3 round and 3 oval. The punches are also made of steel and give professional results.

This punch has a handle with ergonomic and non-slip design, made from powdered plastic. In addition, it has a practical safety locking system and a double lever to make closing easier. The tool measures 250 millimeters, weighs 528 grams and is blue and yellow. It is very simple to use so it is a great addition to your toolbox.

The Best Multi-Functional Leather Punch

This revolver punch with 2 extra brass pad, screwdriver and file, various size eyelets and eyelet tool, awl, and free steel ruler and a portable pocket. Multi-functional hole pliers with 6 different size holes: 1.5, 2, 2.5, 3, 3.5, and 4mm. Ideal tool for leather, fabric, clothing, shoe, card, belt, purse, wristbands for decoration and repair.

The professional leather tool is made of high quality steel. It is strong and will last. Practical punch with double lever structure is easy on the hands. With ergonomic and comfortable grip, you can work with this punch on big jobs and large projects.

The Best High-Quality Leather Punch

The XOOL Punch Plier is an awesome tool. It adopts high quality plated steel for extra sharp cutting, has a double-lever mechanism and is manufactured in professional quality so it will last longer than some other brands on the market. The punch plier is commonly used for punching round holes in leather, belts, plastic, rubber, canvas, fabric, cardboard, saddles, and similar materials.

The convenient handle clasp makes the XOOL leather hole puncher easy to store in any tool bag or drawer when not in use. The sturdy rotary hole sizes also lock into place for safety and to keep the tool sharp.

Shopping Guide: Everything You Need to Know About Leather Punches

The best way to take full advantage of a tool is to understand as much as you can about it. We often use the wrong tools for the tasks we are doing or do not know how to properly use a tool’s accessories. With punches, this situation is especially common. We offer this section to answer your questions and guide you toward what you need and how to use it.

The most effective punches are those made of steel or bronze, since they wear less quickly and have more strength to perforate.
(Source: Evgheni Slav: 96939936/ 123rf.com)

What exactly are leather punches?

Punches are tools, made mostly of steel, provided with a hollow tube and cutting edges or punches, which are used to punch, pierce or cut different materials. In general, the materials on which the punch works are not very hard, and to make the holes correctly you have to choose the correct diameter punch.

What materials can you use leather punches on?

The punching tool was originally designed to make holes in leather. For example, for belts and horse bridles. Over time, these tools began incorporating different functions in their design to suit more materials than just leather. The fact that they are now made of steel or bronze helps in providing good pressure and punching power. Materials they punch include the following:

  • Leather
  • Cardboard and pressboard
  • Thin sheets of metal, steel, aluminum and copper
  • Paper
  • Cloth
  • Canvas
  • Rubber
  • Rubber and neoprene
  • Some woods

What types of punches are available?

As we have explained, punch designs evolved to fit different materials and different tasks. This led to many models being specialized to perform certain jobs, giving rise to the types of punches that exist today. The following table shows the punches that are currently offered most frequently.

Type of punch What they are for
Revolver punch It is the most commonly used. Its punches, attached to a spinning wheel, make holes of different sizes.

They are used mostly on not very hard materials, such as leather and cardboard.

Open punch They serve to make holes on more resistant materials, such as sheets of steel or copper, with the help of a hammer.

They are used in a chisel-like manner.

Fork punches They are used to make round or elongated holes, with the possibility of choosing different diameters.
Splitter punches They are used to make holes with an oval or rectangular shape. For example, to easily place the buckle on a belt.
Plier punches It works similarly to scissors, without the need to exert considerable force.

How are leather punches most commonly used?

In their most traditional form, punches are used to make different types of holes in a material. If we take, as an example, leather, as in the typical case of a belt, the steps followed do not differ much depending on the models. Basically, to correctly pierce the leather you just need to follow a few simple steps:

  • Mark the exact location you want to punch on the piece of leather.
  • Find the punch head and choose the size punch you need.
  • Unlock the handle and place the piece of leather on the punch pad, so that it is aligned on the mark.
  • Press with both handles equally until the punch passes completely through the leather.

How does the mechanism of a punch work?

Normally, the parts of the punch that comes in contact with the material to be cut is a steel plate. The drive system has a spring that contracts when the handles are compressed. The part of the tool that makes the cut has a rotating mechanism that allows you to select the punch indicated for different punching diameters.

The punch hole allows the excess material of the work piece to be easily removed from the tube inside of the tool so that you can dispose of it immediately and continue working. With a manual punch, the cutting of the material is achieved by means of the force that is generated when hitting with a hammer.

William J. StewardsCobbler in Boise, Idaho

“With punch, needles and glues, we do what customers ask us: repairs, sewing, gluing, reinforcement, for the reconstruction of shoes to extend their life. A shoemaker can be born with the gift or learn it, the important thing is to do it well.”

What kinds of holes can be made with a punch?

Normally, existing punch models include the possibility of choosing not only different hole sizes, that is, of different diameter, but also in different shapes. Usually, the range of diameters ranges from 2 to 5 millimeters and the holes can be round, oval or rectangular. Buttonholes of different sizes and all types of decorative holes can be made for beautiful designs.

How do you use punches on materials as hard as wood, aluminum and copper?

As we have mentioned, the most appropriate punches for punching wood and metal are the manual, hammer types. If you would like to use another type of punch for this kind of task, you will need to apply a very strong force. Be sure the tool is designed for the harder material. You could injure yourself or damage the edge of the tool if you try to use a leather punch on these materials, even if they are thin. Therefore, with the help of a hammer you essentially use the hammer punch as a chisel.

As for steel, aluminum or copper sheets, if they are up to 0.3 millimeters thick you can also use a punch. If they are thicker, you can only use it to mark the center of the hole you want to make. Then you will need a more suitable device, such as a drill with its corresponding drill bit, to complete the task without risking damage.

Originally, the punch was created to work leather, but as time has passed, it has evolved to work different materials.
(Source: Teodora1: 37143397/ 123rf.com)

Does it take a lot of strength to pierce materials with a punch?

Not at all. The aim of punches is, thanks to the double lever system, and torque, to enable you to pierce the materials with the minimum force. Of course, this will also depend on the type of punch you are using and the material you are trying to punch. To save effort and hand pain, we must know exactly what we want to do.

Another aspect to keep in mind, in this sense, is to check what the punch itself is made of. Normally, the most effective punches are those made of steel or bronze, since they wear less and have more strength to drill. A plastic one will probably not give the same results nor guarantee low strength.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of having a punch in my toolbox?

Although perhaps it is not the best known tool in the box, the truth is that the punch can get us out of trouble many times. Whether it is to mend clothes, do DIY or create designs or decor, punches are becoming more and more popular for home use. The following table illustrates the advantages and disadvantages of this unique tool.

Advantages
  • Small tool, easy to store and have at hand at any time
  • Versatile, since it adapts to different everyday materials
  • Very easy to use. Practically, it is similar to a clamp
  • Prices are very resonable
Disadvantages
  • It is not used to make holes of a very large diameter
  • It does not work on very hard materials and requires the help of a hammer
  • A single punch is not enough for all types of materials

What kinds of accessories usually come with punches?

Although it is not the most common, some manufacturers offer punches in the form of full kits, which in addition to the tool itself includes a series of accessories that can be useful for typical repair or DIY tasks. Some of these mentioned below, but they can vary.

  • Metal ruler to measure holes
  • Screwdriver
  • Replacement pads or irons
  • Punch heads
  • Hammer

Shopping Criteria

If you’re still unsure about which punch to buy, don’t worry. First you should think about what you will use the punch for. However, there are a number of factors that you cannot ignore if you want to own a quality punch tool. In this section, we summarize the most important features so that your choice is the best one for your own personal needs.

Accessories

As we have mentioned, there are punches that come in kit form with accessories that complement the tool. These accessories add versatility to the punch and also save us from having to buy them separately. A complete kit allows us to start working immediately without further trips to the DIY shop or waiting for parts to arrive in the mail.

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To make cuts in thin steel, the best option is a punch tool which allows quick, clean cuts.

Versatility

Taking into account that in everyday life, many opportunities can arise to punch materials, it is advisable to have a punch that can be adapted to several of them. If a punch is highly specialized, we can only use them on specific occasions and materials. For example, only for belts. The more versatile the punch, the more we can use it.

Grips

Punches are operated manually, so the grip should be comfortable, simple and work well without using too much force. It is worthwhile, therefore, to verify that the design of the tool is ergonomic, non-slip and does not produce pain when using it over time. In this sense, you should pay attention to the material that covers the handles and make sure it is one you prefer on your tools.

Materials

If we want the punch to last a long time in our toolbox, we should make sure it is made with the best material, in order to avoid corrosion and rust. The best results are obtained with a stainless steel or bronze punch, and the punch heads should be bronze or with a finish that protects them.

Depending on the material you want to work on, you should choose the punch that best suits your needs.
(Source: Aleksandar Milutinovic: 45959906/ 123rf.com)

Safety

Although it is unlikely that when using a punch, an accident will occur, it is always a good idea to be sensibly cautious. The safest models of this tool have a simple handle locking system, to avoid its misuse. It is advisable, as with this and everything else sharp, to exercise caution, wear safety eyewear and keep the tool away from young children.

Summary

Punches are one the most useful tools to make perforations, cuts and holes in softer materials such as leather, cardboard or fabrics. By using minimal pressure on the handles, it is possible to make holes of different sizes and shapes. To change the size or shape of the holes, you simply rotate the head of punch.

The use of punches can be applied to many tasks, ranging from DIY, home repair and even patching clothes and hiking or sports gear. There are different types of punches that work on various materials. Punches are very simple to use, the best ones have an ergonomic design while some models come with accessories to make getting started easier.

If you liked this article, please share it on social media so that others will know everything there is to know about punches. You can also leave us a comment below. Thank you!

(Source of Featured Image: Cseh Ioan: 58314546 / 123rf.com)

Why you can trust me?

With a background in such diverse areas as law, business, translation, art, teaching and even childcare, I bring broad general knowledge and direct, yet friendly style to my articles. I love helping people to choose the best possible option there is on the market and THEGOODESTATE.com is a great platform to do so.