Toolsday: Self-Setting Center Punch

Last week, I posted about the humble center punch. This week, it's over-acheiving sibling, the self-setting center punch

Self-Setting Center Punch

The intended use and possible misuses of this tool are identical to the regular center puch, but this time the steel point is mounted in a spring-loaded handle. Instead of whacking the punch end with a hammer, you press down on the handle and when enough force is loaded into the spring, the tools snaps down on the point. The back end is a knob that adjusts the tension at which the spring snaps the point.

So what are the advantages? First of all, you can use this punch one-handed. Second of all, the force is replicable. Since you set the tension on the spring once, every time it snaps, it snaps with the same force. If you're using it as a nail set, you'll push the nails the same depth every time. Third, you don't have a hammer swinging around. That's good for tight or crowded spaces. I've seen paramedics use these to break car windows in rescue situations. Don't want to be swinging hammers in an already dangerous situation.

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2010.09.14 at 12:00am EDT