Man Made DIY


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Feb 22, 2012

How to: 3 Ways to Punch a Hole in a Leather Belt

created at: 04/16/2013

Sooner or later, you're gonna have to do it. It may be because you lost a little weight, and now it's time to notch over one more, and you're plumb out of holes. Maybe it'll be due to the fact that different pairs of pants sit on your body at different places. Or it may be that you'll simply had that belt for a little while, and the leather has stretched a bit. 

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But, at some point, you're gonna have to punch a hole in a belt. And if you do it right, it can look perfectly in line with the others, like it's been there the entire time.   created at: 02/22/2012

No matter which of the techniques below you opt for, 90% of your success will be determined not by how the hole gets there, but by where you put it in the first place. In most men's belts, the holes are spaced at a perfect one inch, making your job plenty easy. Simply use a ruler to set up a horizontal straight edge by making sure it crosses each hole at the same point, and mark on the back.

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Or, if you're crazy obsessive (I am), you can make a little template with some painters tape. Just use the existing holes to mark their placement, then shift the whole thing down by one. Hold it up to the light to make sure your dots are placed right in the center.

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Option #1: The Awl (or Nail) If you have at least a medium-ly equipped tool box, you'll definitely have a hammer or mallet. And you may have an awl, which is (basically) a metal point with a handle. It's similar to an ice pick, which you could just as easily use...if you actually still have an ice pick in 2012. If you don't have an awl, get one! They're like $2.00, and you'll find uses for them in all sorts of wood, paper, leather, and fabric projects. Or, try a large nail.

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There's not much to it: Mark your spot, and place your belt on some scrap wood. Use short firm strokes to slowly insert the sharp point into the material, driving it all the way through until you've reached the part of the metal that corresponds to the size of your holes. Which is another argument for the awl over the nail, as the tool is evenly tapered along its length.

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Option #2: The Electric Drill If you take your time, and start the hole well, you can drill through leather with fairly clean results.

The trick will be to make the right sized hole, so test by inserting the solid ends of your drill bits until you've selected just the right one. You'll have the best results if you can start the hole cleanly. If you have brad-point bits, you'll definitely want to opt for those over metal tapping bits. If not, make a significant dimple where you want your hole with a nail or sharp knife, and use that to keep the bit in place.

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Option #3: The Leather Hole Punch This specialized tool is by far the most ideal option. You can find them easily at any craft store, and they're always less than $10. I found this one at JoAnn's for $8.00, on sale with 40% off.

These revolving punch pliers have a wheel with multiple sizes to punch round holes in pretty thick material. The tension springs make it easy to punch by hand. Seriously for $5.00...this is good investment to have around.

If your belt has oval shape or elongated holes, I'm guess you could use this tool to create the two round corners and then cut out the middle with an craft knife. But even I'm not that obsessive. A well-space round hole will do you just fine.

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My dad taught me a great trick when using an awl to make a new hole: Carefully hold the metal tip in an open stove flame for a minute or two, then carefully push it through the leather. It goes right through it like butter!

thanks for this man it really helped.

I had no idea leather hole punchers existed. This will take way less time than finding the exact belt I have in a new size. Thanks!

I seem to remember from when I was a kid that after you made the hole, you should heat the pointed end of an appropriate-sized nail by putting it in the flame of your gas range.  Then pick it up with pliers and stick it through the hole you just made in the belt.  It will seal the hole to the proper size and keep it from shrinking up.  By the way, I am woman (yeah, hear me roar).

Helpful guide! Thankyou. Also, I don't find "man made" a sexist term - I think it refers to "man" as humans rather than the male gender. Some women need to chill out; you're just making an issue where there really isn't one!
Thanks! I'm gonna try this! I recently bought an archery quiver, and even at the shortest setting, the leather straps are still way too long. And traditionally, men work with tools, so this site isn't sexist. Lola was obviously looking for a fight instead of reading the useful guide.

Sorry Lola I have to. The Bible is constantly referring to MAN. Many women have found that to be a stereotype of most male dominated societies and they cringe when they hear it. Translated more correctly than was possible when the Bible was written, Man actual means the humankind.

I find it very easy to guess that manmade refers to humankind made. That's tougher to write, read and say. Therefor Manmade will have to do.

Yup I'm male. Old and have been known to be grumpy. Not right now though

Hi everyone - 

Just wanted to weigh in on this discussion.

I appreciate everyone's response. Dialogue like this is one of the reasons I started ManMade in the first place. It has evolved into a how-to, inspiration, and lifestyle blog for men who view the world through a creative lens, and women are always welcome.

For the record, the "man" in "ManMade" is intended to refer to those who identify as male. I intentionally choose not to use phrases like "mankind" or substitute "man" for "human," because I do find them gender exclusive. Instead, ManMade tries to deal outside the stereotypes, and encourage men to make things they can use everyday, domestic and otherwise. There are a billion craft sites on the web, and this one aims to engage that subject matter through a masculine perspective, as a complement to the wealth of content that's out there.

Please be kind to each other, and use constructive language, and refrain from insults.

Now, let's all go make something.

Best,
Chris
Founder and editor of ManMade 

@lola -

1) If you don't like it, don't come to the website. Nobody has a knife to your throat telling you to be here.

2) Manmade does not indicate that woman cannot do it. As others have explained, it means it was made my mankind (men/women).

3) Most importantly, the website name indicates it was made by a human, and not some other kind of animal. Let me give you an example - a bridge is manmade; honey is beemade.

Thanks for this very helpful article. I chose option 1 as they're the only tools that I can find in my dad's shed. 

"Let's just punch holes in our belts and bend gender binaries! :D"

 

A+++

 

And then let's be nice to each other, because we all like crafty things!

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It's pretty short sighted to condemn this site based purely on its name, but it's also stretching it to suggest that man simply means human and that there's no sexism embedded in language and culture for that matter. Let's just punch holes in our belts and bend gender binaries! :D

Hey. I'm a woman, and I'm a feminist, and I am not offended at all by the fact that this site is called "ManMade." Sure, it's aimed at men, but so what? I assume that's because it was created by men. It's still inclusive and I don't feel alienated at all. There's a difference between creating a site and saying "Hey, we are a group of guys and we are sharing something, but everyone is welcome here," and saying, "NO GIRLS ALLOWED, LADIES ARE SO STUPID HUHUHUHUHUHUH AMIRITE? WOMEN LOL." You guys definitely fall into the non-asshole category, from what I've read.

ANYWAY! I bought a Batman belt buckle, and it came with a free belt, but since I'm a tiny girl and I got it at a men's store, it's way too big, and my husband and I moved in a huge hurry (yay procrastination) so we forgot a lot of our tools.

However, my father-in-law recently bought us a power drill, and I can't believe it didn't occur to me to use it. I'm pretty handy, learned it from my dad, but I just keep forgetting it's there, because we went so long without a drill. Super headdesk.

 

Also, I like the tape template, that's what I did too. I'm just one of those people who HAS to measure things. Like, for the sake of my mental wellbeing or something.

what an ingnorant person you are lola. you gonna rename MANKIND to MAN AND WOMAN KIND? NO. Because it's not sexist, it's refering to us as HUMANS, YOU ARE MAN (even tho you're a woman) man is human. just like dogs are dogs and birds are birds. Find something better to worry about. lmao.

Hi Lola - Thanks for your comment, but I hope you'll reconsider it. If you poke around a little bit, you'll see that ManMade exists as an attempt to move beyond and express creativity without gender stereotypes. This is a crafting site from a guy's perspective, which is very much a non-dominate viewpoint. We constantly encourage men and women to think critically about the things they use and buy everyday, and advocate for everyone to not feel limited by social pressures, and embrace the hobbies, activities, and interests that fascinate them, regardless if they can be categorized under social norms for gender.

And we have never, ever suggested that women cannot do anything on this site. The language here has always been inclusive of both men and women. Always.

If you'd like to chat more, I encourage you to email me at [email protected] I welcome your feedback.

Thanks,
Chris

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I think that it is very sexist that this website is called 'manmade' diy, suggesting the fact that women cannot do anything listed on this site.

I see leather punches at estate sales all the time and lots of other tools, too.  Also, the old stand-by....hammer and nail does a pretty good job on making a hole in leather.  I just did that on a project and prettied it up with a nail file.

Great explanation! I'll definitely make that template on the tape! Such a great idea! Just waiting for my holepunch to arrive. Awls don't always do a great job.

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