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peace brainerd 5th March 2006 10:20 PM

one more for the quintessential workshop
About a month ago I picked up a twelve piece set of hole punches at the "made in china" tool supply on the industrial side of town. It was less than ten bucks I think. Hmm - I'm thinking - might come in useful.

One month later. My god, how did l work without these all these years? Perfect holes in gaskets, shims, rubber/fibre washers, thin metal, etc. Use a flat block of hardwood under em. Any tinkerers out there without a set, run out and get some. Don't have to be expensive - cheap ones are easy enough to sharpen.

anatech 5th March 2006 10:26 PM

All I can find are Greenlee. I had a set once.


SY 5th March 2006 10:29 PM

Different kind of hole punch, I think. These would be the kind with a sharp-edged circular front end and a rear that resembles the rear of a chisel. You make the hole by whacking it with a hammer. No good for chassis work, but great for flexible and thin materials.

anatech 5th March 2006 10:32 PM

Hi SY,
Mine used a mandrel and bolt. You could use a nut driver, then a wrench. Still only good for thin chassis metal.

They were darn expensive back in 1978, no way I can afford another set. I even had a square one.


ken.berg 5th March 2006 10:51 PM

in the realm of "made in China, but barely good enough", US residents might be interested in Harbor Freight's Greenlee-clone set of punches:

DigitalJunkie 5th March 2006 11:19 PM

Hooray for Harbor Freight!
Sure,the stuff may be 'cheap',but who cares..
If something breaks in 6 months,you can go get a new set for $20! :D

peace brainerd 5th March 2006 11:21 PM

Yeah, I was referring to the "chisel" type. I'm not a professional tradesman, so this is only a guess, but I imagine the Greenlee knockout punches are best for high freqency jobbing that would wear out an expensive step drill very quickly. For most hobby work, a step drill is the way to go.

About step drills, I've heard that the two flute designs are superior to single for the reason that as they progress to larger and larger holes they remain perfectly centered. A single flute/edge step drill will end up ever so slightly off from the original center you started off from. Not a big deal for 80 percent of what you do, but sometimes really critical.

Knockout madrels still require a pilot hole, so it can't be argued that they're 100percent cleaner (less metal shavings) than step drills. A pair of step drills was another purchase some years back that proved to be brilliant.

Hole punches are really in a different league. Very thin metals, or rubber, fabric, paper, cardboard, etc. I've always made due with whatever was at hand before, with basically satisfactory results. But I never realized what labor savings, and what clean results were given by these things.

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