Lee Valley Square Hole Punches

Make quick work out of turning a round hole into a square hole

LV_50K59_800

Lee Valley Square Hole Punches



If you've been embellishing your furniture with square plugs, then it's somewhat likely you've been drilling the holes with a brad point or similar bit, and then using a hollow mortise chisel to square the holes. It's very effective and certainly a lot easier than squaring up holes with chisels.
 
These new Square Hole Punches from Lee Valley Tools are, essentially, trimmed down versions of hollow mortise chisels. They consist of a precisely machined tip (in six sizes from 3/16" to 1/2" square) ground from hardened O1 tool steel, and threaded onto a hollow shank machined from a milder steel (to absorb shock when you tap the punch over the hole).
 

hollowmortise
You use them the same way you would hollow mortise chisels; however, the benefit with these Lee Valley punches is that they're of a more convenient size. At about 3" long they fit comfortably in the hand, and you can easily insert a brad point bit into the hollow shank to assist in aligning the square tip. At around $24 they're a bit more expensive that an economy hollow chisel ($15) but less expensive than a premium chisel (starting at $40). Plus, you're not paying for the mortise chisel, which you'll likely never use.

008-19
Two part design
010-23
Square, sharp tip
The corners on these square hole punches are ground precisely square, and the lips are sharp and ready to go to work. Making square holes goes really quickly - drill an appropriately sized hole, install punch over drill bit, line up the punch using a try square, and then tap the punch home with a wooden mallet. Use a small chisel to clean out the hole. Unless you bang out hundreds of plugs a week, then you'll get a lot of use out of the punches before they need sharpening; for this Lee Valley sells cone sharpeners.

075
Drill hole, install punch over drill bit, line up the punch, and then tap it home
047
Some clean up required

 
For some reason Lee Valley doesn't sell replacement tips; it seems to me that it's the tip that will most likely need replacing (particularly if you drop it tip down onto a concrete floor). If you avoid hitting the shank with a metal hammer then it should last indefinitely.
 
Great product with the usual no-quibble return policy from Lee Valley.


KEY FEATURES:

  • Available in 6 sizes: 3/16",1/4", 5/16", 3/8", 7/16", 1/2"
  • From 2 3/4" to 3 1/16" long
  • Tips ground from O1 tool steel
  • Corners ground square

Manufacturer:Lee Valley Tools
Available From:Lee Valley Tools
Retail Price:from $24.50, or a set of six for $129.00
Model #:50K59.xx
Made In:Canada
Carl Duguay, March 2010
Discover more great woodworking reviews!
Subscribe Now and get instance online access to our library filled with exciting woodworking information.
Continue to stay connected to the latest tool reviews with our bi-monthly woodworking magazines!