What the hell is this?
February 15, 2009 3:50 PM   Subscribe

What in the hell is this?

I found this tool in my tool box, I actually have no idea what it is, I asked my dad and everyone I know...everyone offers suggestions but none of them make sense, it wont even punch threw a piece of plastic.
posted by allfortheBoss to Home & Garden (24 answers total)
Is it a kind of pop riveter?
posted by pullayup at 3:54 PM on February 15, 2009

A tool for closing grommets?

Check out the second picture.
posted by chrisamiller at 3:55 PM on February 15, 2009

looks like a dimpling plier.
posted by esmerelda_jenkins at 3:56 PM on February 15, 2009

The first thing I thought of was a snap fastener press.
posted by CancerMan at 4:00 PM on February 15, 2009

It looks a lot like my friend's button maker, so I would say either a button maker or, like everyone else has said, a general type of tool to press metal into metal in a rivetty, socket-like fashion.
posted by phunniemee at 4:08 PM on February 15, 2009

My husband and I both think it's for rivets.
posted by Medieval Maven at 4:21 PM on February 15, 2009

This looks like the riveter they sell at Home Depot and Ace Hardware.
posted by zippy at 4:29 PM on February 15, 2009

Almost certainly eyelet pliers. They're made for punching holes and setting eyelets in different kinds of material, and the spring in the one you have suggests heavier material such as leather, as opposed to lighter weight material such as fabric.
posted by angiep at 4:41 PM on February 15, 2009

"it won't even punch through a piece of plastic."

Am I the only one who thinks it's a single hole punch? For paper?
posted by pandemic at 4:50 PM on February 15, 2009

My girlfriend has a similar tool for setting eyelets in her cards.
posted by SirStan at 4:52 PM on February 15, 2009

Can you take some shots of the working bits? That would help determine whether it's a punch or a grommet/rivet/eyelet setter.
posted by CKmtl at 4:58 PM on February 15, 2009

I think any explanation needs to account for the fact that it has a fairly wide mouth and fairly long travel for the plunger, about half an inch from the looks of it. The anvil seems to be flat rather than hollow so it is not a punch. It is a setting or packing tool of some sort.
posted by JackFlash at 5:37 PM on February 15, 2009

It looks like some sort of rivet or grommet setter, which wouldn't need to punch through anything. It just needs to press the two sides together.
posted by apricot at 5:37 PM on February 15, 2009

I think it's something in the grommet-setter/riveter/like that family.

Any chance it might be a tool for leatherworking or upholstery, something like that?
posted by box at 5:50 PM on February 15, 2009

nthing grommets/eyelets. I used something similar when doing leatherwork in Boy Scouts.
posted by Picklegnome at 6:10 PM on February 15, 2009

I think it would help us if you could press a piece of paper or thin aluminum with it, then let us see the resulting pattern that is made.
posted by orme at 6:18 PM on February 15, 2009

Rivets / Grommets
posted by Black_Umbrella at 6:34 PM on February 15, 2009

Is it possibly a cherry pitter? (Misplaced from the kitchen, of course)
posted by Stewriffic at 6:38 PM on February 15, 2009

Is there a hole in the bottom for the little pin to go through? If so, then the tool's likely a plier-style watch band link remover.
posted by poq at 8:53 PM on February 15, 2009

Nthing pop rivet gun / grommet setter. For the next wtf, get some rivets and try to figure out how it works ;)
posted by singingfish at 10:10 PM on February 15, 2009

The general mechanism is cherry pitter-like but there are too many differences: it has a spring, the shaft is too thick and short, very few kitchen tools have that red plastic handle, which is more tool-boxy. It does look like some sort of setter, probably for fairly large grommets in a thickish textile/leather (given the spring and shaft and all).

allfortheBoss, you said you found it in your toolbox. Did you buy the toolbox at a garage sale or similar? If so, what are the other tools in there for? If not, how did it get there? Who were you working with lately? What do they do?

Two things I want to note about my first paragraph up there: 1) Before I noticed Stewriffic's link, I also did a wary google image search on "cherry pitter" and even though the Sur la Table photo was four or five down, we both picked it. 2) I've never felt more fifth-grade giggly writing an answer, due to the confluence of shafts and boxes and "thick and short" *snerk* and the fact I'm tanked on Nyquil and hot toddies and phlegm. Lots of phlegm.
posted by dogrose at 10:33 PM on February 15, 2009

it wont even punch threw a piece of plastic

Some tools designed for thick/stiff material won't work on thin material. Tin snips may be able to cut thin sheet metal, but will only crease paper. So, it could be a tool for punching holes in fabric or leather or something.

My first thought was the same as angiep; they could be for inserting eyelets. Take a look at the business end of this eyelet punch; if your tool looks similar, it's probably an eyelet punch.

OTOH if it looks like things from this page or this page, those are some other possibilities.
posted by Mike1024 at 12:40 AM on February 16, 2009

The first thing I thought of was a snap fastener press.

My first thought too... remember my mother having one.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:00 AM on February 16, 2009

I am going to test it on various materials and post some pictures, also some more detailed pictures of the spring and hinge, etc.

I remember how it got into my tool box. I moved into a new office at work and there was a box of crap on the desk. Amongst other things (a really old digital camera, labels, random chargers for palm pilots, etc.) was this thing, I kept it because it looked cool and it made its way into my toolbox.

Will post pictures soon.
posted by allfortheBoss at 4:54 PM on February 16, 2009

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