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Slit and drift vs punch and drift


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I am wondering what practical differences there are between slitting with a narrow chisel or hot cut and punching a hole to be drifted for say a belt axe? I have always used a hot chisel but looking around online it seems more people use a punch just wondering pros and cons of the two ways of making a hole? It seems like a punch leaves a hole that requires less drifting but might be harder to drive through a thicker piece than a chisel also punching removes a bit of material whereas slitting does not? 

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It comes down to personal preference, most often what you first learn to do. 

As for hole size, many slitting chisels are designed to act as drifts as they go along, and the amount of metal lost from punching is insignificant, I end up with plug 3/4 by 1/8 by 1/16-1/8.

Edited by Gerald Boggs
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I have found that I get through the steel in fewer heats with a chisel than with a punch, and with less deformation around the eye. My punch might be crappy, though. 

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Both techniques tend to give slightley diferent finishes regarding eye wall thickness and material distribution. and material drag. I would try both and note the diferences. even if you end up with the same sized hole.

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I will have to forge some eye punches and give it a try ... I like sliting chisels thus far because withing reason I can make any size eye with one chisel rather than making a punch for each one off project 

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I use a round ended chisel and just vary the length of the slit to suit the finished hole size say the difference between a hammer eye and an axe eye I just cut a slit the same length as half the circumference of the hole I need less a bit for drifting. I did read a bit from Brian brazeal on another forum talking up the advantages of punching vs slitting so I think I will have to do some more experimenting with punches . I started out with a chisel and always thought a punch might be harder to drive through thick stock but enough people do it that it can't be that hard. I tend to like methods that allow me to use one tool for more than one process but I think I need to get over it and just make more tools. I use punches on thinner stock but haven't tried to punch anything as thick as a hammer yet 

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Interesting, if I understand you correctly, you slit a hole and then cut it longer to the desired length, I've never heard of someone doing it that way. 

If you're thinking of having a go with punches, get Mark Aspery's volume one.  Lots of good information on the making and using of punches.

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The Brazeal method is sort of a hybrid slit/drift process all in one, if you use the same tool Brian and his brother use, even though they call it a punch.  Just to confuse matters. ;)

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I don't claim to understand the nuance but based on what I read from Brian Brazeal that his punches actually punch out a slug unlike a slitter and that it is then followed with an actual dift his argument against chisels seems to be that they only cut well when the work in supported under the cutting edge and when coming in from the back the metal stretches and "pops" leaving a ragged edge at the center of the hole leading to a cold shut when the drift goes through ... Does that sound right to you guys?

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And this is why it all comes down to personal preference.  My personal preference is for the slot punch but then that's what I first learned and have yet to see or hear an argument that convinced me to switch.  I have tried the slitting chisel, but the problem with "Trying" something, is that it isn't the same as being trained to use something.  Plus, as I average 2500 holes punched a year, I have a good level of proficiency and comfort with the slot punch.

The training vs trying a tool/method is why some folks strongly espouse a tool/method.  If you tried teaching yourself something, you might not get it right and so it never quite works.  Someone comes along and teaches you how to properly use a different tool and you become a instant convert.

Edited by Gerald Boggs
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I can relate with the struggles of being self taught I took a black smithing course early on and had a neighbor who was a blacksmith who showed me a couple things but was too old to work much when I met him. My father taught me stock removal knife making but other than that it's been trial and error and the Internet/books for the past 12 years 

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You might think about find the closest blacksmith group and start attending the meetings.  Even if the subject matter of a meeting isn't in your interest area, the overlap of information is valuable.

Edited by Gerald Boggs
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