punchWorking on a project for the fire department, I printed about 250 pages double sided. It is the manual for some software I use that allows me to enter all our calls into a national system. Once the printing was all done, I needed to 3-ring punch all the pages.

I looked at the stack of paper, and remembered Alice’s 3-ring punch, which has saved us a lot of work over the years. This punch is a consumer grade, meaning you can only put 5-10 pages through it at a time. While this is fine for most punch jobs we do, I just couldn’t see myself sitting at the table for an hour making hundreds of little paper circles. What to do?

This is where the tool-guy mentality kicks in full force. “I have a drill press! That thing can drill a hole in wood or steel! Paper is just processed wood!” (Tool-guys tend to think in exclamation marks.) The challenge was to clamp the wad of paper tightly enough that it can’t move while the holes are being drilled. I grabbed the first two chunks of scrap wood I found in my pile, a couple of c-clamps, and put the thing together.

punch1Next I made the pencil marks on the scrap wood for the holes to be drilled. (I had already penciled in the marks once on the top sheet of paper that I’d just covered up with the scrap wood.) In order to get the whole apparatus to sit properly on the drill press table, I had to move the clamps around a bit, but in just a few minutes, I had my holes drilled, the paper installed in the notebook, and my camera out for the picture.

Knowing myself, I imagined an alternative outcome. While the project to punch the holes with the consumer grade punch would have taken an hour or so, things could have gone wrong with my drill-press technique that would have caused the project to have taken a lot longer than it did, such that I would have wound up spending more time on the drill press that I would have with the paper punch. Would I have been ok with that? You bet! Doing the job in my workshop using my lovely tools is preferable for me. My thinking is, in saving a half hour of time, I may determine that I need another tool to make the job go easier. With Amazon Prime, it is so easy to sit down and get the new tool ordered, that I barely interrupt the flow of word by doing it. It is just the way we tool-guys think.

One Response to “Punching”

  1. Ron says:


    Tool guys think alike! I did the very same thing many years ago ago when i used to take the best sailing articles out of the sailing magazines i received. ( Also Psychology Today articles). I didn’t want to keep all the mags, just the good stuff!
    I clamped the articles together with wood just like you did but I used a regular drill ( I don’t have a drill press). I then put the articles in those heavy duty binders that have the foldable long metal strips in them. Some were almost 3 inches thick. It worked well!!

    I never heard of anyone else doing that ’til now.
    We must be kindred spirits!!

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