LumberJocks

Spring loaded center punch.

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Review by gamygeezer posted 83 days ago 1405 views 0 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Spring loaded center punch. No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

I installed a bunch of drawer slides yesterday. You know, the full extension, ball bearing steel kitchen cabinet slides where you are upside down in the cabinet with your head twisted to one side, holding the part on your marks with one hand while you try to find the screw you dropped with the other hand so you can put it in with the driver in your other other hand?

Well, actually I don’t do it that way. I double-stick supports on the cabinet side, set the slide on the supports, adjust with a magnetic level, and bang in the screw locations with my handy spring loaded center punch. The punch leaves a nice dimple in the wood, so if the slide moves while you are getting your driver ready, you just realign the hole and the dimple and zip the screw in. The dimple is also a decent starter hole so the screws start easier.

It occurred to me that not everyone knows about this handy helper. You can get them at home centers and hardware stores for 5 or 6 bucks. I have had mine for decades. There is no maker name on it, just the letters USA on the red handle. Not all of them have that handle, most are just grip and push. Most are adjustable; by unscrewing the top, you can lessen the impact of the punch. The picture shows two dimples, min and max impact on red oak. I’d be careful about using full strength on soft or brittle wood, it gives quite a bang. I’ve noticed one brand that had a sharper point than mine. Mine might be designed for metal working.

I keep it in the drawer beside my power driver. Great little tool.

-- What's a vibrant young guy like me doing in a broken down old body like this?




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gamygeezer

115 posts in 88 days



16 comments so far

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WayneC

11996 posts in 2600 days


#1 posted 83 days ago

Thanks for the review. The handle design looks great.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View DaveinCA's profile

DaveinCA

13 posts in 1517 days


#2 posted 83 days ago

+1 from me. I was just using my center punch yesterday thinking I should post it as one of the handiest tools in my shop. Every time I see someone using an awl to twiddle out a decent start for a screw or drill bit I am grateful for my simple inexpensive punch. They are available from most hardware vendors, HF sells them for less than $5.

-- Dave, Clovis CA

View TheDane's profile

TheDane

3429 posts in 2166 days


#3 posted 83 days ago

I have had one of these for years … mine was made by General Tools & Instruments

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View palaswood's profile

palaswood

385 posts in 254 days


#4 posted 82 days ago

i have a broken one, how do these things fail? I’d like to fix it if its not too involved. I unscrewed it, and inside there is a spring and a small steel cylinder. Any ideas?

-- Joseph, Lake Forest, CA, http://instagram.com/palas_woodcraft#

View gamygeezer's profile

gamygeezer

115 posts in 88 days


#5 posted 82 days ago

Joseph, take a look at the diagrams at

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Automatic_center_punch

Hope they help.

Ken

-- What's a vibrant young guy like me doing in a broken down old body like this?

View roofner's profile

roofner

81 posts in 786 days


#6 posted 82 days ago

Whee can you find spring loaded puntches . I had one but can’t find it anymore . Have you tried buy one lately. I tried buying one I was told they were illeagle to have. Kids use them to break windows in cars and they were outlawed.

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Craftsman on the lake

2260 posts in 1941 days


#7 posted 82 days ago

I’ve got one minus the red ball on the end. invaluable to make a dent mark in woods, plastic, and aluminum.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View RockyTopScott's profile

RockyTopScott

1074 posts in 1981 days


#8 posted 82 days ago

I have one and love it. Make a mark, set a brad point bit and I get accuracy…at least for me it is accurate.

-- “When you want to help people, you tell them the truth. When you want to help yourself, you tell them what they want to hear.” ― Thomas Sowell

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patcollins

937 posts in 1368 days


#9 posted 81 days ago

Outlawed spring loaded center punches, seriously?

View TheDane's profile

TheDane

3429 posts in 2166 days


#10 posted 81 days ago

patcollins—Sounds a little extreme to me, but I suppose they could do some serious damage to a car window/windshield. But so could a rock.

This is my General No 77 … tricked out with an oak knob I turned:

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View dirtycurty's profile

dirtycurty

17 posts in 81 days


#11 posted 81 days ago

roofner, it’s funny to me that you mention about kids breaking windows with them because firefighters and rescue workers use them just for the purpose of breaking windows to gain access to victims in vehicle accidents

View TheDane's profile

TheDane

3429 posts in 2166 days


#12 posted 81 days ago

Home Depot carries them … http://www.homedepot.com/p/General-Tools-Hardened-Steel-Center-Punch-89/202025674?N=5yc1vZc25q

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View NiteWalker's profile

NiteWalker

2319 posts in 1080 days


#13 posted 81 days ago

i have a broken one, how do these things fail? I’d like to fix it if its not too involved. I unscrewed it, and inside there is a spring and a small steel cylinder. Any ideas?

Joseph, I have one from lee valley that broke (it gets a LOT of use).
It turns out, that there’s a small e-ring inside and it snapped in half. I bought thicker, wider e-rings from mcmaster and it’s back in service. I doubt it’ll break again, but I have 99 more in the bag if it does…

@Gerry: Love the handle. :)

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View roofner's profile

roofner

81 posts in 786 days


#14 posted 81 days ago

I checked again I found one at my home center it’s a US general like the one I lost $14.

View Ben's profile

Ben

299 posts in 833 days


#15 posted 81 days ago

I have a brass handled one that I got with a few other tools when my grandfather passed on. I’ve used it myself for about 15 years and I’m pretty sure he had it for at least that long before me. It has no maker mark that I know of, just his initials etched in the handle. It works great on every material I’ve ever used, even stainless steel.

-- Welcome to downtown Coolsville, Population: US! --Hogarth Hughes

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