Yamel

Work surface in small apartment

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Hi all,

I'm a student living in London, so tend to live in pretty small places. I used to have a concrete fireplace with tiles in my flat that I could use as work surface for punching holes on. Now that I've moved to a new apartment with wooden floors and no particularly solid surfaces anywhere, I'm at a bit of a loss as to where to do my punching...
I bought this little metal anvil but that on the wood doesn't provide enough resistance to smoothly punch through the leather and makes a huge amount of noise...

Any thoughts on what kind of makeshift work surface could help me out?
I've seen people use granite slabs or something. Is that something that could work for me? I tend to work with 4mm leather, so need some serious punching power. 

 

Thanks for the help!

Mark

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I use a marble piece 1" thick and 12" square. It was a sample from a tile store that was discontinued and I paid $10 for it. I use it on my wooden kitchen table. On top of the marble slab I use one of those plastic (?) cutting boards so the punches don't contact the marble slab. Usually I also use a 12" square scrap of leather about 3mm. 

I usually punch leather thinner than 4mm but do not see a problem with that thickness.

I also have a small anvil that I use on the marble slab when I need a small work surface.

I think the leather scrap on the plastic cutting board helps deaden the noise a little bit but it's just me and the dog and she doesn't complain as long as she has her bone!

Tom

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Hi Tom, 

Thanks for the tip! I've got some solid steel slabs at work that I might be able to borrow. Barring that I suppose looking for a tile store would be a good idea!

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There are lots of kitchen fitters and stone masons who have small scrap pieces of Granite

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I have the same problem. I went and got a sawn section of tree where they had been cutting in a local park. It’s about 40mm in diameter and 20mm deep. It wasn’t quite even but I stuck some bits of thick leather on the bottom to stabilise it and they also help absorb the blows and deaden sound. It’s a great punching surface and it was free.

i don’t know where you are in London but I got mine at Hackney Marshes just the other side of the Olympic Park. If you walk along the path adjacent to the river Lea there are loads of cut logs, you should be able to find one that suits. A word or warning, try and take some thing to carry it in they are deceptively heavy (that’s what makes it a good surface). I took a sack barrow.

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Yamel, I know the pain of noisy wooden floors. In the past I was working from a bedroom during the evenings so noise was as real problem, let alone the difficulties of actually doing the punching. In order to get a clean hole what you need is mass under the cutting board. The traditional choice is a block of lead but that's increasingly difficult to get hold of these days and some people are wary about having the stuff lying around. What I came up with was a marble slab on my lap, with a piece of cutting board on top of that. It wasn't quite silent and it doesn't hold a candle to a proper workbench but it did the job. My slab was one of those £10 ones from Wilko in the kitchen section. It's now in 3 pieces, thanks to a blunt crew punch and a stubborn Matt. If you're near a builder's yard or DIY centre and you can stand the weight perhaps a concrete paving slab would work? They usually cost under £5, or free for the asking if you find someone tearing up an old patio.

Also, do you have a concrete stairway or something in your building? There's nothing more solid than that if you don't mind dragging a few bits of kit out there each time you need to do some punching.

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I just (last week) went to a place that makes and repairs conveyer belt equptment and asked for a piece of cast off. As the piece I had been using for a decade was getting worn. That gave me a piece 2xs the size I asked for and cut it to size for me. It’s reinforced rubber. 

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Thanks everyone for the great responses!

I got a slab of rubber coated steel from work which seems to do the job :)

 

Happy to close this topic if that's a thing.

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4 minutes ago, Yamel said:

Thanks everyone for the great responses!

I got a slab of rubber coated steel from work which seems to do the job :)

 

Happy to close this topic if that's a thing.

I know you already found a solution but I'd like to add one more... I just recently got one of these to try out and it works surprisingly well and most importantly for you it makes no noise.

 

https://www.etsy.com/listing/615944149/silent-leather-stamp-imprinting-machine?ref=shop_home_active_9

 

There are other presses like this on the market or you could also just get an arbor press drilled out to fit your punches/irons.  I haven't had it long but the work I've done on it so far has been a good experience... very little effort required to get through 4-5 layers of 3/4 oz veg tan and the press ensures you always get a clean straight punch.  Just my 2 cents...

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I recently came up with this idea....

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