Protect Your Tools – Punch Pads!

All About Punch Pads

You spend a lot of money on your tools, and you want to protect them.  But what’s the right punch pad? Are they all the same? Should I have more than one?  We’re here to answer your questions with some quick tips for success!

Sharp Punches (round punches, strap end punches, oblong punches, etc.)

  • You want to do all of this punching onto a rubber pad or a piece of UHMW (ultra high molecular weight) polyethylene.  These pads will absorb the punch without doing any damage to the blade.  You also want to make sure that your pad is on something sturdy, e.g. a piece of marble, or a really solid table
  • Never do any punching on metal, glass, or marble.  They’re not designed to absorb the punch, and will ruin the edge, even if you can’t see it right away

Chisels (the type meant to strike all the way through your piece of leather)

  • We’ve found recently that the UHMW polyethylene pads sometimes do damage to lower quality chisels, and if you don’t have tons of money to spend on chisels, you still want to make them last as long as you can! For these, we use either a piece of rubber or a piece of (MDF) Medium Density Fibreboard/Hardboard
  • One of the sweet benefits of rubber or MDF over the UHMW is that they won’t mark your work.  Once you’ve punched many times into the UHMW, you’ll feel that the plastic becomes rough and has a tendency to scratch your work, especially those beautiful oil pull-ups/waxy finishes.  The rubber/MDF will work really well, but also keep your work looking amazing.
  • One benefit of the MDF over the rubber is that the MDF will help regulate your chisel depth when punching.  The chisels will only go so far into the MDF and all of your holes will be the same size.  Whereas with rubber, the harder you hit your chisel, the more your tool will go into the rubber, creating some small chisel holes and then some HUGE chisel holes

General Cutting (head knife, rotary knife, utility knife, etc.)

  • For all of our general purpose cutting, our work table is covered in a large piece of UHMW, which works well (for years) for all types of cutting.  A lot of people use Olfa Self-Healing mats as well, which are good, just not quite as long lasting.


We find it beneficial to have pieces of UHMW, rubber, and MDF punch pads around, for different jobs (different tools, different leather, etc.).  We have small pieces of MDF available for sale in our shop.  Contact us for details!

As always, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to drop us a line!


Tundra Leather