Jig for Punching or Stamping Letters Straight

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About: I just like creating stuff. Mostly recreational woodworking and diy projects. Please consider following me. It will fuel me to create more instructables. :-) Please check out my YouTube channel here : https:...

Another day, another jig!

This is a very simple jig - It is used to make straight letters and numbers with punchers/stamps and with consistent spacing.

This is handy to have around the work shop to stamp your creations or marking your tools.

Usually one can use tape and register the letter punches to the edge. But that way it is hard to make the spacing (kerning) consistent. This jig is clamped over the work piece and then the letters can be hammered down. Leaving one stamp as a spacer.

If you dont like the spacing you can easily make some other spacers with half the width of a letter puncher and make a neater text.

I guess this is perfect for making small dog tags or bracelets, and would work on leatherwork too. I had to try to make this in wood after watching a video from Tom Walter that had made a metal jig like this.

I made a small video about the build, that you can watch here!

Step 1: Tools and Materials Used

Here is the tools and materials used. This build took under an hour to make and the size depends on what set of punchers you have. My punching set is 4 mm and the outer dimensions are 6 mm.

Depending on the size of your stamps/punchers you need to adapt the jig.

Materials

  • Left over/scrap piece of 6 mm plywood
  • Left over/scrap piece of red oak strip (trim)
  • Plastic shim (made from a Pringles cap or something like that)

Tools

  • saw (I used my bandsaw and chop saw, but any saw will do)
  • knife
  • square and or a ruler
  • hammer
  • screwdriver and some screws
  • CA glue (super glue)
  • pencil
  • oil or wax for protection
  • a 2,5 mm drillbit to predrill holes for the screws
  • sanding paper/block (not in picture, late to the party!)
  • a drill (also late to the party. took the same taxi as the sanding block...)

Step 2: Cut the Sides

I start by cutting the two sides (from the wood strip). I make them around 18 cm long. I used a chop saw/mitre saw, but you can use almost any other saw too. :-)

I use a sanding block to get the burr out and square the pieces.

Step 3: Make the Distance

I had some left over 6 mm plywood and my punchers was 6 mm thick. I made two spacers/distance pieces to each end for the jig.

If you dont have plywood, you can either plane or grind (sand) down some other piece to the thickness of your punchers/"stampers".

Step 4: The Assembly

I put all the parts togehter as a sandwich. I use CA glue first, and then pre drill holes for some screws from each side.

This is my first build of this jig and I was thinking that I might need to put the ends straight. Therefor I use a square. But after using this jig, I understand that it just need to stop the punchers from moving and making the ends in a slight angle, will make it easier for you to punch the letter you want and not hitting the others.

I really want a snug fit here, so use a thin plastic piece to shim the spacers right. Again - this depends on your stamps thickness and choosen material.

Step 5: Screw It

I used some small screws from each side. Then I trimmed the jig just to make it look better and feel better to the touch. After some hand sanding I put some wax on it, but oil will work too.

Step 6: Try It Out

Here you can se how the jigs works. I clamp the work piece between the jig and an anvil (this depends on what you are stamping. If you dont have a anvil, use something that is hard and flat).

I put in the stamps/punching letters one, after the other.

If I need the same letter twice, I change that letter with a blank or a unused letter.

Step 7: The Result

Here is some results. Same kerning/spacing, consistent line.

I decided to add a name tag to my jig. The material I used was aluminum and it was a little bit too soft. I also made some silly signs to my three office wall clocks (showing time for my home town, New York and... the Death Star).

Quick and easy to make jig, and nice to have if you are doing some letter punching/stamping.

I was thinking - if I made this again, maybe I should use clear acrylic so the jig would be easier to place/aim onto the work piece.

Thank you so very much for checking out this instructable. Please consider following me here - it will fuel me to make more and better instructables in the future! Please leave a comment below or ask a question - I will try to reply as soon as I can.

Here is a link to that small video again, if you want to see the process in moving pictures.

Thank you for watching/reading!

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    26 Discussions

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    Ninzerbean

    6 days ago

    This is great however I thought you were going to show how to make the cheap letters stamps from Harbor Freight straight. They are cut off center, not all but enough to make words look sloppy.

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    dekerosNinzerbean

    Reply 6 days ago

    Thank you so much for checking this out and commenting! I had no idea that Harbor Freight had that type of stamps. Are they made like that by design you mean? I'm sorry if I misslead you by not specify the model. I was assuming standard letter and number stamps. Thanks again! :-)

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    Ninzerbeandekeros

    Reply 5 days ago

    No no, I didn't mean to be critical - you would think all stamps would be standard but HF has stamps where the letters are all uneven so even it you are perfect the letters and then the words will be all wonky.

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    dekerosNinzerbean

    Reply 5 days ago

    Hey - oh I wasnt thinking it was critical either. Sorry again - not my first language here :-). I really appreciate your feedback and that sounds a little funny that HF have them uneven. I think its good that you brought this up too, because people that are looking into buying stamps and consider HF stamps should be aware. Thanks again buddy - cheers! :-)

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    cirbuck1

    10 days ago

    Always enjoy your Instructables. Very well done, clean, and comprehensive. Excellent. And the small, somewhat overlooked jigs and tools you address are extremely useful and have a nice aesthetic too.

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    dekeroscirbuck1

    Reply 9 days ago

    My friend! I'm really honored. I'm not native in english and getting this feedback from you really makes me happy. Thank you very much for your kind support! I wish you a fantastic evening! Take care!

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    cirbuck1dekeros

    Reply 9 days ago

    You have some very clever and nice jigs like this; I have a challenge for you. I have to serialize a lot of electronic assemblies by stamping them with these same type tools. Usually, it is only necessary to stamp from "01" through to "99" but sometimes "A1 through to A9" and then all the way up to "D1", "D2", etc. What would be nice, since I only need 2 characters with no "leading" would be a jig I could load two stamps at a time, be able to strike it once, and then be able to quickly pull and add the next number in sequence. Would probably need to be able to load from the bottom so that the top of the stamps would both be square against a top striking surface. See if you can figure something out for doing that if you care to take on a challenge project.

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    dekeroscirbuck1

    Reply 6 days ago

    Sorry for my late reply. That sounds very interesting. I might try to make something - I can see the use for it. But, I will get back here and check with you again. Maybe with a sketch, just to be sure that I understand the desired functions. Great idea - and good challange! :-)

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    cirbuck1dekeros

    Reply 5 days ago

    Yeah, I was thinking that if the stamps load from the bottom and then square the striking heads against a substantial piece of metal so that upon hitting the metal it would emboss both numbers or sequential numbers and letters with one hit of the hammer. Maybe if the stamps were held in place by some kind of quick release spring so that upon stamping "01" you could quickly press a button or clamp to release the ones just used and then quickly insert the next number, like "02". This would be very handy in limited production processes like I have to do on circuit board material or sheet metal assemblies.

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    cirbuck1cirbuck1

    Reply 5 days ago

    You come up with something robust enough to meet my needs I'll trade you for something from Houston Texas you might want. LOL

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    pharojim

    Tip 6 days ago

    Countersinking a strip of flexible magnet on the inside may help hold the punches.

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    dekerospharojim

    Reply 6 days ago

    Hey there! That is a really great improvement! Thanks for that idea! Really!

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    onetruegod

    7 days ago

    Nice jig. I especially like how it helps keep your letters at the same level vertically. Regarding the horizontal distribution, it is spacing or pitch not kerning in this case.

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    dekerosonetruegod

    Reply 6 days ago

    Ah! Big thanks for that - I will make adjustment. Thank you so much for checking it out and commenting. I really appreciate it! :-)

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    talfredsson

    10 days ago

    Nice! And somewhat funny, since I realized that I live just some miles from you...

    3 replies
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    dekerostalfredsson

    Reply 9 days ago

    Oh? That is super cool! I haven´t stumbled on many Swedes around here yet (that I know of). I guess you saw my little sign in the end there? :-)

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    talfredssondekeros

    Reply 9 days ago

    Yeh, I saw "Uddevalla", and that was surprising! I live in Väne-Ryr, an old geezer working a lot with leather and stuff - that's why I check out Instructables, now and then. Nice to see neighbours here!

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    dekerostalfredsson

    Reply 6 days ago

    Very nice indeed! Then we are really close. haha. All the best to you and thanks again! :-)

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    ndr1968

    9 days ago

    I hate you! You have a rail anvil! Darn nice one too!

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    dekerosndr1968

    Reply 9 days ago

    That comment made me jump at first! Hope you dont hate me, my anvil is very nice and doesn't bite. :-)