barehandcustoms

Cutting/hole Punch Board - Hydroma, Poly Or Other

Recommended Posts

When I first started I went through 4 of those nice $20 *self healing* craft cutting mats with all the measurements and everything on it. I still have them but they are so cut up and warped that I can't use them because they scratch up my leather. Granted I was pushing the limits of what they were built to handle. I don't think I ever actually used the board measurements for anything.

I briefly used a industrial hydroma mat that was loaned to me and was very impressed but had newbie sticker shock. Luckily my neighbor works on antique cars professionally and has a really nice shop. He had a few industrial grade hydroma boards and let me use one for a few days to try it out. I don't borrow tools but he kept offering so I finally took him up on it. The hydroma mat was just superb in everyway and would probably last forever. It was an industrial mat that was built like a tank and there was nothing fancy about it. The idea of spending $95 dollars for a 18x24 1/2' thick hydroma mat just seemed crazy at the time. Now I realize I could have bought the mat and came out ahead in the long run.

So finally one day I just went to the store and bought one of those huge white poly cutting boards. It was a regular old cutting board and only cost me 8 dollars. So I figured I would use it for awhile and then throw it out. I drilled holes in the corners and screwed it to my table. This made for a flat and very stable cutting surface. I have been using that same board for cutting and punching out holes for almost 2 months now. Even the hole punching doesn't seem to really scar it up. I might have to flip it over in a few months though. Keep in mind I work on that mat almost every other day for several hours. I am still surprised how well it is standing up.

So Questions:

What is your preferred material for cutting and punching holes?

Do you use different boards for each task? *cut on poly and punch holes on rubber*

What are your thoughts on Hydroma Mats and are they worth the money in the long run?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've gone through a few of the kitchen style cutting boards. I finally settled on one of the black rubber type mats from Tandy. It holds up pretty well.

One issue to watch out for on the kitchen cutting boards is that many have a texture to them. If you do anything forceful --- like setting rivets -- the leather will pick up that texture. Same with cuts on the black mat. The leather can pick up those cuts as impressions.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I use a pro cutting board from Tandy for almost everything blade/punch related. Its getting pretty scarred up on the top so i'm very careful and don't slide anything across it. I was thinking of taking a sander to it to smooth it out. If i'm ever concerned with making a deep punch into the board i put a thick piece of scrap under my work first.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ive heard of peple using a sander and then a heat gun to smooth their boards back out. I have never done it personally. May give it a try when its time to flip this one over.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I used to use a kitchen cutting board, and it worked fine. This one was pretty soft and occasionally when punching small holes, little bits of leather would pull out of the punch and stick in it. Not a big problem, really. ... Until one day the spousal unit came across it ( we were dating at the time ) ... and threw it away while I was out .. Saying "It had WORMS growing in it .. You're disgusting".

I now use a black Tandy poundo board.

Bill

Edited by billybopp

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I use the black poundo board from Tandy to do all my punching on. Using it to cut leather with my round knife just puts TOO much drag on the knife blade it is hard to push the knife. I use a self healing pad for my cutting.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

... Until one day the spousal unit came across it ( we were dating at the time ) ... and threw it away while I was out .. Saying "It had WORMS growing in it .. You're disgusting".

:rofl:

Funny how that works huh

Edited by barehandcustoms

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For cutting I use a high density polyethylene sheet, 3/8" thick. It allows the knife to slide quite easily and scars are easily removed by simply scraping off the high points with a square edged piece of steel. For punching, redsheet, a really dense rubber works excellent, as it is self healing. Gump.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I use a large self healing 3'x5' cutting mat on my cutting table for long straight cuts, straps and other items that require long cuts. For trimming and complex cuts I use a Tandy ploy board at a different bench. For punching, I generally use my 2 ton arbor press and will use a poundo board or the poly board from Tandy on granite, depending on the size of the punch and the thickness of leather.

I do use the marking on the mat all the time and will eventually rotate it 180 degrees and then flip it as it wears.

Cya!

Bob

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I use HDPE for cutting and have the same problems with marking the leather. I use an orbital sander to smooth it out every now and then. For punching holes, I use a hockey puck. Doesn't take up much room, no danger of going through the thin rubber pads and damaging an expensive punch, and you can buy them used on ebay super cheap.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now