Friday, April 22, 2011

This Junk Drawer Item Saved My Sanity

Before stamping something on an ID tag or key chain, I first have to create a piece of leather that is the proper shape.  I use an X-Acto knife and a metal ruler to cut the leather to size.  Then, I use a hammer to hit a leather punching tool into the leather to make the hole through which the suede lace or keyring is attached.  My leather punching tool is kinda crappy, I suppose, because instead of falling out the opening in the back, the punched leather circles get clogged in the tip of the tool.  You'd think I could just keep punching and the force would eventually make the pieces pop out the back.

However, it does not work this way for me.  I get about five punches in, and the tip is so clogged with leather that it will not penetrate leather any more.  It merely dents the leather tag that I am attempting to punch through, as the pressure of the compacted leather will not allow the tiny leather discs stuffed into the tip to move even a smidgen.

After punching holes in about five tags, the tip of the tool needs to be cleared of leather excrement.  In the past I had been using a tiny drill bit.  I would remove the tip of the tool, stand it up on the table, put the drill bit on top of the exposed leather at the end of the punch, and then whack it with my hammer.  This would force the compacted leather bits down and out the bottom of the punch tip, clearing the way for me to punch five more tags.  Well, after a while, the frail little drill bits started bending and breaking, leaving me with nothing strong enough that would work to clear the shaft of the punch tip.

Until I remembered I had this guy in a junk drawer.  Used to assemble some furniture I had purchased, this little tool saved me. In every way that a woman can be saved. (Sorry, bad Titanic reference).  This little beast is super strong, so I am not worried about it succumbing to the pressure of my hammer pounding the top of it (that sounds way worse than I intended).  With almost one forceful blow, this new found tool clears out the entire blockage of leather punches.

I store all the left over little leather circles in a baggy.  Why?  I just can't throw anything away.  I also keep all the bits and trimmings of leather that I've discarded, stored in bags as well.  As of present I have no plans for these scraps, but maybe, one day...I know, I'll probably never need a dime-sized giblet of leather, but it's nice to know I have it in stock, just in case.

All the tools required to make a simple hole in a piece of leather.

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