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So I'm about ready to punch some belt slots on my first holster.  Grabbed a set of hollow punches from harbor freight to use the 3/8 and a chisel.  What a travesty this set is:

http://www.harborfreight.com/9-piece-hollow-punch-set-3838.html

So could I just grab this set from tandy and use the 5/16??

https://www.tandyleather.com/en/product/maxi-leather-punch-set

I'd love to avoid the agony of having to sharpen those harbor freight punches.   

 

Thanks all!!

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Every punch will need sharpening at sooner or later.

I do not know about the HF punches but I do have the maxi punch set and I have sharpened every tube that came with it at some point.

I am prone to cheating and chucking them in a drill press and stoning them while it spins. Slow speed, goodly amount of oil, and I run my finger on the other side of the tube so I can stop when it starts to warm up. No idea if it is still bad to do, but it appears to work quite well.

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That HF set would need to have an edge set, they don't even have a good edge.  They are nearly blunt.  I don't mind a little tune up but they wont go through one piece of 8/9 oz leather with a 3lb dead blow let alone two pieces, lol.   

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Just FYI.. you can get a slot punch made for about the same money as the punch set and chisel.  And it punches slots cleaner and faster...

 

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wayner   

where can you get a good sharp punch made 

 

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I got some at http://www.usacuttingdie.com/

Think they were a tad over $50, but you'd need to tell them what you want - they'll make it the size you ask for.

BYTHEWAY

For general holster work, I like a slot punch 1 1/2" - 1 9/16" long by 1/4" wide.  Some of my punches I had made 7/32" wide, so it ends up being 1/4" AFTER burnishing the slot...

Edited by JLSleather
multiple inquiries

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dikman   

I bought a set of punches similar to those. I took one look at the extreme bevel on the cutting edges and spent some time on a belt grinder putting a much longer taper on them. They work much better but it does make the cutting edge pretty thin.

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Like JLSleather said, http://www.usacuttingdie.com Texas Custom Dies  

Quality Product and quick turn around. 

The Belt Slot Punch I had made for my holsters works with my 1 1/2" double thick gun belts. I had it done 1 3/4" X 5/16".  I use a "dummy belt" when I press and wet mold my holsters so the belt slot molds right to the correct shape & size of the belt.

I had it done as a Maul Punch. I think the next one will be a clicker punch... I use a 5 lb. Rawhide maul on a Farrier Anvil. To keep the punch from dinging the anvil I glued a piece of vinyl flooring to the flat surface then a 3/8" piece of hard rubber (like cutting mat) on top of that. It helps save you the time of resharpening your punches when your friends come over and "just need to punch one hole" in something and are not use to the 5 lb maul!

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@rickybobby- How much was that belt slot punch, and was it straight or curved?

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HBAR   

Mine are from Texas custom dies.  I have one that is 1 1/2" by 3/8" which is good for heavy gun belts smaller than 1 1/2" . I also have one that is 1 3/4" which is nice for heavy 1 1/2 belts.

They are straight oblong.  They cost me $80 plus shipping.

I had one develop a crack immediately and it seemed like I was being blamed for it. Which Im guessing was a misworded or poorly worded email to me and me being overly sensitive and annoyed. I sent it back, they fixed it. I wasnt sure that it was going to last the second time, however its still going good.  I think they have good products for a decent price.  My experience wasnt perfect but I would probably buy from them again. 

You will not regret having the punch to do your slots. I see pics here of people doing it with round punches and then cutting the material between. Im sure it can be done neat and clean, but most of the attempts look like crap.  This will solve that for you.  Punch the hole, run the backside edge, dye and burnish and your belt slots will look great.

Edited by HBAR

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7 minutes ago, HBAR said:

You will not regret having the punch to do your slots. I see pics here of people doing it with round punches and then cutting the material between. Im sure it can be done neat and clean, but most of the attempts look like crap.

As a person who just attempted to do curved belt slots by hand, I agree 100%. Was that $80 each, or for the pair?

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HBAR   

each plus shipping.  its costs money to do things professionally. It will make your slots look like you know what you are doing AND it takes about 2 seconds to cut the slots with the punch. That should be worth something to you, it was to me.

As far as curved slots, I think its more of someones gimmick. I have tried both ways. I dont see any necessity in doing them that way. Im sure somebody thinks they look cool, but I think they just drag on the center of the belt more. Potentially  scratching a belt.

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@HBAR- I agree 100% with you about the time saving and quality of results. I couldn't tell you how much time I put into those two slots, and they were far from being what I wanted. As for the curved slots, I used them on a small of back holster, so that the guy could have a little adjustment on the position. I don't do a whole lot of holsters with belt slots, but just one was enough to know it sucks doing them by hand. Straight slots aren't too bad though.

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TonyRV2   

For what its worth here's a guy on ebay selling a new Osborne 1-1/2" punch for 52.49 shipped.  I have no experience with this punch, just thought I'd throw it out there for comparison.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/C-S-Osborne-No-151-1-1-2-Inch-Bag-or-Oblong-Punch-Made-in-the-USA-/301633930454

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HBAR   

I have a ton of the osbourne punches.  They work fine for slots.  All the ones I have are skinny though. Like the ones you posted.

  I make holsters for men who wear guns all day everyday and use heavy belts.  Just try to get a 1/4" belt through those slots. It sucks. I made holsters with those for a long time. If you punch the slots with the osbourne and then get the holster wet enough you can use your burnishing tool (one of mine is mounted on a drill press) then you can wallow the slot out and it will be larger.  I knew there had to be a better way to do it. I didnt want my customers  to have to jam their belts through the slots.  The new slots are wide enough that they dont have to get a hernia pushing their belt through.  Once again the smaller slots are fine if your customer is using a thin belt, just not a good gun belt.  Comfortable carry of a firearm is made easier with a good holster and a good, rigid, lined belt.

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My 1/4" x 1 1/2" slots fit quite nicely with lined belts.  Not sure what you're doing differently.  

I've seen them there slots 3/8" to 1/2" wide, and long as they aren't in my holsters I'm okay with that ;)

 

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If your cheap you can always punch the holes out and connect using a sharp chisel -- works fine for me until I can replace the rest of my tools! Its easier for me than using a razor knife, and seems to work real good with a round knife.

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@tnhomestead- I used the hole punch and my pocket knife with a straight edge for straight slots. It does ok,, but a real punch would be nice.

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I just got a response from Texas Custom Dies. A curved 1 3/4" slot punch is $125 plus shipping. Weaver has an Osborne  1 1/2" curved for $43. I'm sure it isn't the same quality, but it is either one punch and no leather, or a cheap punch and leather with free shipping for the same price. I can work with cheap :)

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brmax   

Many times the last minute decisions are a winner if choosing a tool tested by the masses, my opinion try a CS Osborne for this go round.

Their most times affordable readily available and they do work,

If one of the pro tool guys like B King, Beard and J Watts has a punch available well then you can bet its ready enough out the box to do work.

I know this because as an old one and yet new to this going with pro equipment when able or critical always results in many points ahead.

good day

Floyd

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malabar   

Gents,

There's just not going to be any comparison between the custom punch and the Osborne.   Don't misunderstand -- I've got at least $1,000 worth of Osborne tools, and they are professional-quality tools.  They are lightyears ahead of the crap from Tandy, and there is a noticeable difference in quality from other consumer-tool companies products -- General, Stanley, etc.  The problem is that their bag punches, like everyone else's, are just too damn narrow.   My heavy-duty belts are 3/8" thick.  I have to either punch the slots with the Osborne bag punch and then open the slot up with a Foredom and a tungsten bit, or punch half-inch round holes and connect them via chisel.

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@malabar- I think that after punching, sanding and burnishing, the slot should open up a bit more. If not, maybe burnish and sand a little more aggressively? You can always remove more, but you can't put it back. I have a small pile of holsters to prove that last point.

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On 12/17/2016 at 10:30 AM, HBAR said:

As far as curved slots, I think its more of someones gimmick. ...Im sure somebody thinks they look cool,

Yeah, you got it. 

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malabar   
On 12/21/2016 at 9:26 AM, CaptQuirk said:

@malabar- I think that after punching, sanding and burnishing, the slot should open up a bit more. If not, maybe burnish and sand a little more aggressively? You can always remove more, but you can't put it back. I have a small pile of holsters to prove that last point.

That's certainly true, but who wants to spend 30 minutes making belts slots on a $75 holster?  Punching to the final size is a world easier.

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