What Is a Punch Tool?

Photo: Txikillana

Are you familiar with punch tools? Not to be confused with punch presses or their associated components, punch tools are used extensively in woodworking applications. They are often used in conjunction with other tools, such as a hammer and chisel, to cut and shape blocks of wood. Other types of punch tools are used to assist with the drilling. Below, you’ll learn more about the different types of punch tools and their respective applications.

Punch Tools Explained

A punch tool is a small and narrow piece metal rod featuring a sharp point. As shown in the accompanying photo, a punch tool features a sharp point at the end. The other end of the punch tool features a larger and blunter tip.

To use a punch tool such as this, a worker presses the sharp end against a workpiece, after which he or she hits the blunt end with a hammer or mallet. When the hammer or mallet hits the punch tool, the tool’s sharp end will cut into the workpiece. Although there are several types of punch tools, most of them use this otherwise basic design. They require the use of a separate tool, such as hammer or mallet, to “punch” a workpiece.

Hollow vs Solid Punch Tools

Punch tools are often classified as either hollow or solid, depending on their interior composition. Hollow punch tools, of course, have a hollow interior, whereas solid punch tools have a solid interior. Hollow punch tools are used to create holes in workpieces by puncturing the surface. Solid punch tools, on the other hand, are used to remove material from workpieces or to drive components — pins, rivets, etc. — into workpieces.

What Is a Center Punch Tool?

A center punch tool is a special type of punch tool that’s used to create a shallow indention in a workpiece for the purpose of drilling. Prior to drilling a hole in a workpiece, a worker may use a center punch tool to “mark” the area of the workpiece where the drill bit will enter. The punch tool creates a recess that helps guide the drill bit into the desired area of the workpiece. Without a center punch tool, the drill bit may veer off as it digs into the workpiece.

A variant of the center punch tool is the prick punch tool. It features a sharper and narrower deep that’s able to create a deeper hole in workpieces. Like the standard center punch tool, it’s used to prepare a surface for drilling.

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