Leather workers punch holes into the leather when creating different leather products like bags, belts, jackets, wallets, knife sheaths and many, many more. Holes are needed so that the leather worker can sew stitches and add embellishments to the leather. There are different ways to punch holes in leather using a variety of tools and techniques.
One such tool is a rotating hole-punch pliers. You can buy this alone or choose a whole kit that comes with the different types of pliers, eyelets and snaps. The rotating hole-punch pliers make it easy to make different sized holes into the leather. It works pretty much like a paper hole punch. Another is the drive punch that is used with a mallet.
Rotating Hole-Punch Pliers
- Prepare the leather. Measure where you want the holes to appear.
- Select the diameter for the hole you want to make. Usually, rotating hole-punch pliers come with six different sizes.
- Turn the rotating piece so that you align the correct punch size to the opposite side of the pliers.
- Insert the leather between the two sides of the rotating hole-punch pliers. Make sure that the correct punch is directly above the point where you want the hole to appear on the leather.
- Grip the handles of the rotating hole-punch pliers. Give it a good squeeze. You should hear some sort of snap that indicates that a hole has been punched. Depending on the thickness of the leather, you may have to squeeze the handles several times to create the hole.
- Prepare the leather. Make sure you measured the exact place where you need a hole to appear. Secure the leather onto your work space. The drive punch requires you to work with two hands. Therefore, you want the leather to be steady the whole time.
- Choose the right size of punch or nail. Position this right on top of the point where the hole should appear.
- Strike the punch or nail with a mallet. Do this with a sharp, hard movement to ensure that the punch or nail goes all the way through the leather. Depending on how thick the leather is, you may need to strike the mallet several times so that the punch or nail penetrates all the way to the back.
Note: When working with leather, before you even get to the steps wherein you need to punch holes, you have to prepare the leather first. You start with making pattern pieces of the item you are creating that you will use on the leather. Once you have the pattern pieces, layout the leather and start cutting out leather pieces based on the patterns you have made. The third step, assembly stage, is when punching holes come in. In the assembly stage, you can dye the leather, punch of holes, and sew the stitching. Once all of these are accomplished, the last step is the finishing. This is when oiling and polishing the leather happens. You can also burnish the leather for a different finish.
Be sure to take actual classes on leatherworking so you can get the full experience of working with leather. You can ask your instructor for many tips and techniques in punching holes into leather as well as learn different ways to create wonderful leather pieces.