Sunday, November 14, 2010

Tips, Tools and Techniques Tuesday!

Happy Tuesday everyone! Welcome to this week's installment of Tips, Tools and Techniques. This week I am going to share with you one of my very favorite and one of my most cool tools!

If you're wondering what in the heck that thing is pictured above...allow me to introduce you! This is a Japanese Push Drill (sometimes referred to as a Screw Punch) and it's purpose is to punch holes. If you don't have one, I cannot recommend it strongly enough. If you are someone who uses a lot of eyelets and brads, this is a must have tool! Now you might be saying to yourself...I already have hole punches, I don't need anymore. Well this, my crafty friends, is different.

With your average hole punches, you are limited. You can only punch a hole as far into the paper as your tool will let you, which isn't very far! Yes, there are long reach punches, but most of them won't reach into the center of a 12x12 piece of card stock. There are those really great eyelet setter kits that you have to use with a hammer, but they are noisy and everything around you shakes while you're banging the tool with your hammer! Which means a few things... first, it really isn't convenient at 2 am (you know you do it!) and second, if you are at a crop, you're table mates will get irritated quickly.

There are several benefits to adding a Japanese Push Drill to your arsenal of tools. A Japanese Push drill:
  • will punch holes anywhere
  • has assorted bits in a variety of hole sizes
  • is easy to use
  • doesn't hurt your hand
  • eliminates the need to own several punches
  • is quiet and not intrusive
  • will punch through a variety of surfaces INCLUDING (but not limited to) paper, fabric and mat board (which really comes in handy if you like to make your own books)
Allow me to give you a really quick demo: sure that you have a self healing cutting mat when using this tool. Just as you would use one with an Xacto knife, you need to protect your work surface.

Look carefully at the picture above. Down near the tip of the punch, you'll see that there is a piece that has those sort of ridges. That piece unscrews and loosens so that you can put the bits in and take them out. Once you've put a bit in and tighten it up, you're good to go.

You want to make sure that you place the punch perfectly straight up and down. The punch should be at a 90 degree angle to your work surface. You don't want the punch to be at an angle or what will happen is you will only punch one side of the hole.

Then you want to push straight down. This is all you have to do most of the time. However, if you are punching through thick card stock, mat board or multiple pieces of paper give the punch a twist while it is fully collapsed. This ensures that the punch goes all the way through.

Release the punch and it will fully extend. When you remove it from the paper or whatever you're punching, you will have a nice clean hole.

Japanese Push Drills are not difficult to find in this age of the internet. You can do a Google search or hit eBay. I recommend, however, Talas. Talas is a great resource if you are a book maker or paper artist of any kind.

Artfully yours!

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