Toolsday: Center Punch

Here's a simple tool that comes in handy more often than you'd think, the center punch.


Center Punch

This is nothing more than short length of tool steel with a tough point at one end. Its intended use is to make a sharp dent for the center point when you're drilling on metal. Without this center point, the drill bit may skate a bit, and the hole won't be where you want it. To use it, to place the pointed end at the intended spot, hold the tool perpendicular to the surface of the metal, then hit the blunt end with a hammer.

This tool can be mis-used as a nail set, an through punch, a marking punch (periods and colons a specialty), and fine masonry chisel. I used one to break a neighbor's window a few months ago (With her permission. Her keys were locked inside.) Just about any time to you need to take the force of a hammer, and narrow it down to a tiny point, the center punch is your tool.

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2010.09.07 at 12:00am EDT