Three nifty hand tools

Lisa C sends a link to this item she found on ebay, wanting to know if she needs one.

I’m probably the wrong person to ask since I categorically want one of everything. These are called point turners or collar turners, useful for -obviously- turning points. I thought I’d mention this tool because after searching on the web for it and finding no links to it, am wondering how you’d learn of it unless you’d worked in a factory already.

Sure, you can use one of those plasticky thingies homesewers use for samples and occasional use but this is what you need for lot production. Also, the latter are also used improperly, pushing corners out. This seller has placed an opening bid of $20. Not shown in the auction is the pedal. If you bid on this item, make sure you get that piece. You have to mount this to a small work table. The pedal pulls a chain that opens the jaws. The method of operation is to push the pedal which lifts the top spike. You place the work piece in, working the bottom spike to fit into the corner. You release the pedal, the top spike comes down and then you lift the work up, turning that corner.

Here’s what a complete unit looks like.

Another similar unit used by homesewers is this thing that looks like a pair of ice tongs. I couldn’t find a photo, here’s a sketch from the patent application (granted in 1977):

These aren’t as useful. You need to use both hands to operate the scissor action and keeping the unit shut, can only use one hand to turn the point. The first unit is best. I don’t know what these scissor point turners cost but the real tool new, costs $75.

Another similar tool for turning is a tube, belt, or tie turner. Here’s a photo of one (available at the above link):

Like the industrial point turner, this needs to be mounted to a worktable. Mine’s not but I don’t use it often. I love mine. It works just great, quite amazing really. This unit stands about 36″ tall. You fit the sewn belt, strap or belt on the lower tube (you get four different sizes of tubes, these screw into the base with a hand screw) and then pull the top part down into it and voilà, it’s turned inside out. Very fast. This is one tool I think a lot of bag makers should use if they’re using self straps. Be sure to fuse those straps by the way. One of the biggest tip offs to a neophyte bag maker is that their straps wilt.

Lastly, speaking of Lisa and nifty hand tools, she bought this unit and not exactly sure what it was, posted to her blog.

This is a multi-purpose unit that -depending on the interchangeable dies you buy- can make covered buttons and apply doo-dahs like spots and studs (nailheads), grommets and snaps. She couldn’t find anything out about it because -as ever- you have to know the right lingo. I did a variety of searches (for the purpose of locating dies) using terms I thought DEs would likely use and none of them turned up anything useful. Very disappointing. So, I fell back on the search term I would normally use, not likely one you’re liable to guess and that was the term “kick press“. Not that this is a kick press but the dies are interchangeable with those and kick+press is unusual enough to stand out in a search. Anyone selling dies for a kick press will have dies for this machine.

Oh and if you need to apply lots of nailheads, grommets or snaps, these manual machines are the way to go. I recommend getting one with a pedal, repetitive injuries are a problem for this operation. If you can’t justify buying one to make one sample, find a local harness shop to set them for you. I’ll bet you’re thinking you don’t have a local harness shop, heh. These people make saddles, equestrian accoutrements and boots. As a sideline, they’ll often do shoe and boot repair. Every city, no matter how urban, will have businesses like this. If you’re stuck, find a feed store. They always have a bulletin board with cards listing services like this. Otherwise, they can refer you by phone.

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  1. Pamela Erny says:

    I make custom mens shirts by profession.

    While the first point turner shown is handy to have, learning to finesse it so that you don’t poke holes in the fabric is a little challenging. During my tailor apprenticeship, we had one of these in the shop that operated by a foot press…it was spring-loaded and scared the hell out of me! LOL! It really should be called a point-poker, IMO. My mentor showed me another method, described in the last paragraph of this comment.

    I have a pinch-turner (the one that looks like an ice pick), and I suspect that an ice pick might work better because the flat part of the tool is just too flat. I think it’s useless.

    The tool I use most often is a very inexpensive hemostat tool (long tweezer-like tool with rounded bent tips that grip). I merely fold the seam allowances down, pinch them tight with the hemostat, then turn the collar to the right side up and over the tool….hard to explain but easy to do.

    Just my experience,

  2. stell NZ says:

    you find out about those things, well most of them in the david page coffin book “shirtmaking”, where he describes the collar turners, the bench mounted and the tong type. and excellent book if you want to make couture well finished shirts, discusses a lot of little known outside of the industry tips and tools and modifications for small industry/home sewing.

  3. Natasha says:

    I love shopping at the tack store :D Buying riding gear is so much fun. I find its cheaper to get shoes repaired by the saddle guys than shoe repair places

  4. Lisa NYC says:

    Thanks Kathleen!

    JC…not to worry about me bidding against you. I have that same problem as Kathleen thinking I need every gadget known to mankind. Besides, I’d probably end up with stitches in my fingers if I went anywhere near that thing…LOL!

    With friendship,

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