12 Tons of Pressure

And I ain’t talkin’ about your partner wanting you to clean the dishes tonight.

As part of my continuous addiction to improving my craft, quality and knowledge of leathercraft… I plunked down some dollar bills for a new hand press. Shiny, red and packing more than 12 tons of pressure, this here press forces pre-cut steel dies into the leather allowing me to cut out complex shapes with sheer accuracy. Each pattern used in making the steel dies has been tested for a few weeks to make sure that no further tweaking is necessary. That’s important when you get to the next step – creating a vector image of the pattern for the metal worker to cut the die shape from. Though I have heard that it is possible to mail in your paper pattern and have them create the die from it – in case you are lacking sufficient computer skills!

It is hand operated and uses a hydraulic pump – much like a car jack attached to a steel plate. You can buy these pre-made through a company called Texas Custom Dies or…if you have some welding experience – build your own! Here’s where to get started on that – a typical shop press from Harbor Freight, and a quick guide to how the press is constructed. (Just make sure to use cold rolled steel for the plates).

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