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Shaping Strap Ends Using Leather Punch Tools

Updated: 4 days ago

Leather punches are great tools to use for leatherwork. They make quick work of cutting out shapes that would otherwise require a fair amount of accuracy and precision. We use leather punches quite frequently in our workshop. There are a variety of different punch shapes and styles out there. Here, we will share how we use half-round and V-shaped punches to shape strap ends (video follows at the bottom of the page). Before we get started, let's cover some important things about tool maintenance.

How to Protect Your Punch tools

Whenever using any punch tools, it is important to use them in a manner that will increase their longevity and performance. Having a sharp punch is a must. If the tools are not sharp, your cuts will not be as clean, and you will have to work harder to get the punch to cut through the leather. Much like a knife, you will at some point want to sharpen your punches. There are sharpeners you can purchase for this task, but what can be done to keep the tools sharper for a longer timeframe -and also help prevent little nicks from getting in them? To help with this, we strongly recommend using a punch pad like the one shown in the video. These can be purchased at a variety of retailers, but great news...punch pads will be coming to Georgia Girl Stitches in early February 2023!

Using Punch Sets for Straps and Belts

Half-round and V-shaped punches are commonly used for shaping the ends of leather straps, strap connectors, belts, etc. With these tools, you can get clean and perfectly shaped cuts. They are easy to use, but if you want good results, there are a couple of things to note.

1. Make sure the punch is centered on the end of the leather strip. If the punch is positioned incorrectly, it will likely result in a wonky shape.

2. Use a punch size that matches the width of the strip you are punching (or slightly larger). Avoid using a punch that is smaller in width than the strap. For example, in the video, the black strap is 1" wide {25.4 mm}. If there was a 25.4 mm punch in my set, it would be the perfect size for punching the strap end. However, the punches in my set come in increments of 5 mm, so there isn't a perfect punch size to fit my strap (the 25 mm is 0.4 mm too small). Since my strap width falls between the 25mm and the 30 mm punch, I would go up to the 30 mm punch rather than down to the 25 mm (more on this in the video tutorial).

3. Use a mallet or maul with a good bit of weight. This helps with getting cleaner cuts, and with fewer strikes.

4. I recommend practicing a few punches on scrap leather before using the leather designated for your project. You will get the hang of it in no time!

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