Monday, April 2, 2018

Customer Spotlight: Paul and Kathy Short

Meet Paul and Kathy Short. They are the owners of Specialty Repairs in Newfoundland, Canada. Specialty Repairs started in 1995 and specializes in custom modification. With over 10 million views on their YouTube channel, the online presence that Paul and Kathy have established over the years is quite impressive. The videos they post usually showcase repairs and restoration of the items that come through their shop. Paul is known for his quirky sense of humor and online as the “Modfather,” while Kathy is known to film the videos and is nicknamed “Upper Management.” Over the years, they’ve created a working dynamic of taking care of business, taking care of their customers, and adding a twist of fun into the mix for everyone to be a part of.

Cleveland Punch and Die chose to interview Paul and Kathy Short to share their story with you. We hope that you are able to learn and apply something valuable to your business or personal life. 

CPD: How did Specialty Repairs start?

Paul: “We started off as a small engine repair shop. I grew up in a small, very northern town. It was an iron-ore industry town. The winters were 9 -10 months long. So, I used to do a lot of repairs on snow-mobiles, dirt bikes, and motorcycles. When I graduated from school, I became a heavy-equipment operator.

Later on in life, I decided to get away from that and worked at a dealership. A lot of the customers that were used to me working on their vehicles followed us to our business. After that, we turned into an automotive shop."

CPD: How did you guys go from automotive repairs to fabrication work?

Paul: "Specialty Repairs has gone through a number of transitions over the last 23 years. The type of work that we’ve been doing is much different than when we first started. While we were doing the automotive repairs at the start of it all, some big local farmers said “Hey Paul, can you weld this for me?” So, we started doing some welding. From the welding came the fabrication. We needed a lathe and a milling machine, so then we started doing machining work. Then it snowballed from there. Next thing, we had an ironworker show up.

Now, 23 years later, we’re getting ready to put in our first CNC Plasma table! And it’s only me and my wife here!”

CPD: What do you guys do the most right now?

Paul: “The most we do right now is fabrication work.”

CPD: How do you plan to use your new CNC Plasma table?

Paul: “Well we’ve developed a lot of designs for farm tractors here now. I’ve customized them over the last several years. We’re going to start offering all the things I’ve designed for those tractors in the marketplace."

CPD: What has been the influence behind all of your work?

Paul: “Everything kind-of evolved. There was a need for a certain skill, so I studied the skill and I practiced the skill until I mastered it. Then, we integrated that into our business and continued on from that. For example, if somebody would want something done that I was unfamiliar with, I would keep going at it until I mastered it. We call it “from the fat to the fire.” Our slogan is “If I can’t mod it, I don’t want it!”

Somebody said to me one time, “Paul, what is it that you don’t do?” And I said, “Well, we don’t make bread here in the shop!” 

CPD: Would you tell me a little more about the Coca-Colaitems in your shop that we see in your YouTube Videos?
Paul and Kathy's Coca-Cola "Mini Museum"
Paul: “About 10 years ago, I took this obsession of restoring old gas pumps and old Coca-Cola machines. Now, we have something like a mini museum right next door to the shop. Things are done really nice. For example, we have a Coca-Cola cooler that we turned into a sofa that has 100 hours of labor done on it.”

CPD: Do you sell any of those Coca-Cola items or do you keep it?

Paul: “No, we just keep it. I’m kind of a hoarder.”

Kathy: “A clean hoarder!”

CPD: As a married couple, how do you two team up and work together for your business? What’s the dynamic like?

Kathy preparing to ship custom orders
Paul: “Kathy looks after all the administration work, and basically handles all the business decisions. I don’t try to do her job and she doesn’t try to do mine. I refer to her
online as “Upper Management.”  

Kathy: “He’s the “Modfather,” and I’m “Upper Management.”

CPD: Let’s talk about YouTube, how have you been able to become so popular online? 

Paul: “I used to restore old motorcycles, still do sometimes. While I was restoring these old motorcycles, I would post a few short videos on YouTube. Then I started posting a few short videos showing people how to weld. After that, I was designing and showing trailers and carts to put a welding machine on. People really started loving it. My videos were very serious though. I wouldn’t smile or anything. I would get in there, get the job done, and get out."

Kathy: "All business."

Paul: "But every now and then, Kathy would come into the shop. When Kathy is around me, I would be hammering around and having fun. We’ve been married 37 years, so we’re always having fun. A lot of people started to notice. Our viewers would say, “Well, how come you don’t have Kathy in more of your videos? When Kathy is not there, you’re very serious.”

So then, I said to Kathy one day, “Maybe you should get more involved with the videos, because people are liking what they’re seeing.” Of course, that’s what happened! Now, she’s the camera-lady, and I’m just a guy who does the rest.”

Kathy: “And of course Paul is well-known from the “forum days.” When he started YouTube, he was already well known in the restoration and modification world. That's why he took off from YouTube quickly."

Paul: "There’s a forum called TractorByNet©. People go there to talk about their different types of tractors, problems with them, what’s done, and what you need to do to fix them. I’ve spent thousands of hours on that particular forum. There’s another forum called WeldingWeb™. They also have a magazine that comes out monthly. We’ve been featured in their magazine a couple of times as well. So, yes, we were also kind of well-known around the internet.”

CPD: Are there any secret ingredients to your videos?

Paul: “Our philosophy on the internet is “Keeping it real.” What you see on there is exactly the way it is when the cameras are turned off. We like to do videos that everybody can relate to.

For example, last year I went on a service call. So, I had the welding machine hooked up to the pickup. I hooked up a dash-cam to the pickup on the way there and posted a video from the dash-cam. The next morning, we received an email from an American solider who’s over in Iraq. He said, “I just want to thank you for including the dash-cam video because it got me out of this place for an hour. I really enjoyed the road trip.” The only thing we don’t do on the videos is use any bad language. I’m not saying I don’t swear! We just make sure not to put it on any videos.”

Paul with his tractor
CPD: Back to the business, what has been the most common challenge in regards to operating your business over the years?

Paul: “Keeping the customer happy and willing to come back is probably the biggest challenge. Our economy in Newfoundland is not doing so well, so business is a little slower than it normally is. The last, say, 10 years starting a year ago were boom years for everybody here. That’s all done, and people are really having a tough time around. The rest of Canada is doing pretty well, but here the government came out with a really hard and heavy budget on the population. When you’ve got a budget like this one, people tend to hold onto their money. Of course, that has a trickle-down effect.”

CPD: How have you been able to react to this change?

Paul: “Through our YouTube channel, we’ve launched online sales. We are marketing our new designs and have gone global! So, we don’t rely only on local business anymore.”

CPD: What would your advice be to anyone aspiring to do something like what you do?

Paul: “Be prepared for sacrifice. You have to work hard, and you have to put 150% into every job.”

CPD: What do you think has been the biggest reason for your success?

Paul: "My wife. There’s a saying, “Behind every successful man, there’s a great woman.” I’m telling you, if she didn’t come to work tomorrow morning, I’d shut the doors and never come out here again."

Kathy: “It’s not news to me, but I’m humbled and touched every time I do hear it. Our YouTube viewers comment on it, it is what it is and it’s what they see. They say you can’t fake a good relationship.”

Paul: “You know what? I had someone interview me one time. They were sitting by the Coca-Cola
 collection in our mini museum. They looked around and said, “You have a successful business. You pretty much mastered everything that you’ve done. What do you consider your greatest accomplishment? I said, “Well, I’ll tell you my greatest accomplishment. You think that’s a hard question, that’s an easy question!” He said, “Yea? What is it?” I said, “I’ve had the blessings to marry the perfect woman. With that perfect woman, we raised two great sons. Those two sons went on to be members of the Canadian Armed Forces, who have gone out to help people in the world.” I said, “That’s my greatest success.”

CPD: You talk about helping people a lot, sounds like you guys really like to do that. 

Paul: “We love people. We call our YouTubers our “Internet Family.” You wouldn’t believe it. I got sick last year. I’ve never had a sick day in 22 years in business, and I had two heart attacks in two hours. I almost died. You would not believe the cards and the well wishes. People were calling the hospital from all over the world, crying!”

Kathy: “A lot of notes were sent to us saying we're like family to them.”

Prepping before a video to their "Internet Family"
CPD: People you hardly knew?

Kathy: “People we didn’t know at all!”

Paul: “Never met any of them. Say for instance we get really busy and I don’t have time in that week to do a video, Kathy starts getting phone calls and emails asking us if we’re OK. I’ll say to Kathy sometimes, “You may not like me, but the YouTubers do!”

CPD: Speaking of, what are your YouTube plans for the future?

Paul: “The plan is to a lot of videos about the plasma tables. We've put up two stainless steel cabinets above them. On the cabinets, we put the company’s name of who makes the tables. I said to Kathy, “I don’t care what they say, Cleveland Punch and Die’s emblem is going up on the cabinets." I want everybody on the video to see their emblem, it is already there. We did a YouTube video the other day and I was showing our viewers the new cabinets and the new lighting in the shop where this table is going. We consider the two stainless steel cabinets our new “Wall of Fame.” I told Kathy, “Any company that we hold in high regard gets their sticker on the cabinet." TrackerCNC
© is there and Cleveland Punch and Die is there as well. Those are the two companies in the last 23 years that we highly admire. Of course, we tell our viewers that there’s really nothing in it for us, we just try to pass the word.”  

CPD: How did you find out about Cleveland Punch and Die?

Paul: "They contacted us! We found the company to be... well... excellent. If somebody told me they’d give me $1000 to say something bad about Cleveland Punch and Die, I’d have to tell them to keep their money. They’re a really, really good company. They make an outstanding product. We’ve probably done 6 or 7 videos about them just because we wanted to promote them. They’re probably the best company we have dealt with online in the last 23 years."

CPD: What do you enjoy most about working with Cleveland Punch and Die?

Paul: "Working with Cleveland Punch and Die has been fascinating for us. They sent us a quick-change system for our Edwards™ Ironworker. I’ve gone from taking about 5 minutes to change a punch, to literally maybe 20 seconds! I mean, the tooling that you guys put out is so much of high quality that I said to Kathy the other day, “Every time I look at Cleveland Punch and Die’s work, I appreciate them so much more.” It’s unbelievable! Their workmanship is second to none. They must have the best machine facility in the world. The tooling they’ve sent here is just fantastic. We just want to say thank you for all that you do! We appreciate everyone’s workmanship. It hasn’t gone unnoticed.”

CPD: What are your future plans?

Paul: “Because of the near-death experience, I’m going to appreciate life a whole lot more than I have. There’s really not a lot to change. Kathy and I will work here all day and we’ll go and get on the motorcycle and go for a drive. We’ll just talk or turn on the music. We just enjoy life that way. We like simple things in life."

Paul and Kathy are in the process of getting their website up in order to go global with their business. They are always posting videos of what they have in the works. If you would like to enjoy more of them, subscribe to their YouTube channel

Paul and Kathy excited about their new tooling

Friday, March 16, 2018

Customer Spotlight: Michael Brandt

Meet Michael Brandt. He is the owner of Garage Bound LLC, a full-service company that specializes in custom fabrication and mobile welding. He started his creative hobby in 2008 by making paper crafts from his two-car garage in Chattanooga, TN. He quickly realized that his calling was to switch his media to metals. Now, his love and hobby has turned into a full-time profession!

Cleveland Punch and Die chose to do a Q&A session with Michael to share his story with you because we find it inspirational. We hope that you do too.

CPD: What does Garage Bound LLC do, specifically?
Michael: "We work with any type of metal and all types of industries. There isn't any one specific field that we work with or in."

CPD: What influenced you to do what you do today?
Michael: "I started researching mediums and purchased a couple of welders to build a bike for my son. It kept going as a hobby. I ended up running the electricity bill from $120/month to $350/month! I thought if I'm going to have this expensive hobby with expensive equipment, I might as well learn how to offset the cost. Word got out that I could fix and make things. So, I started my business and worked every night after getting home from my day-job for 11 months straight. Now, I own a 6600 sq./ft shop for Garage Bound LLC, employ four people, and the rest is history."

CPD: What was the toughest part about that process?
Michael: "Making the decision to quit my secure day-job and work full-time in my own business. It was the fear of losing something secure that supported my family and having to take a leap of faith. I stayed at my day-job long enough to save money for a mobile welding trailer and a couple of welders. Once I had that, I pursued my vision for Garage Bound LLC that same night. I never stopped from that moment on."

Garage Bound's first custom-made fire pit
One of Michael's Boy Scouts during
welding class

CPD: What would your advice be to anyone aspiring to do what you do?
Michael: "It's really a no-brainer. Hard work. Dedication. Building relationships. Without the relationships I have built within the community, I have nothing. It's so important that every customer feels they got their money's worth. If my employees don't make something to my standard, we'll start the whole project over to get it right. Even if I make less money out of it."

CPD: What’s the plan for Garage Bound LLC?
Michael: "The goal is to continue to invest in the business. I pull just enough money to pay the bills and roll everything back into the business. I still haven't given myself a regular check. Instead, I buy the newest equipment for the business."

CPD: And what are your future plans?
Michael: "My future plan is to continue to buy commercial property, then lease it to other start-up businesses. It's such a huge upfront expense for start-up businesses to purchase commercial property. So, if I buy relatively inexpensive property, I can pass the savings on to get other businesses going. That way, I'm helping others to be successful and build residual income for when I retire one day."

CPD: What’s your relationship with Cleveland Punch and Die like?
Michael: The relationship we've built is pretty unique. I usually have to go to others and prove to them what I can offer in order to be a partner, but it’s different with CPD. After I won the ironworker from Baileigh Industrial™, CPD reached out and asked to take my wife and I to dinner while we were at the Fabtech Expo in Chicago. They gave me the opportunity to use their tooling exclusively for my machine. I was wowed because I know they have such an excellent reputation. To say thanks, I made a 
custom tooling holder in the shape of their logo for my shop. That way, I could take care of my great tooling and also show it off to others."

CPD: What do you enjoy about working with Cleveland Punch and Die? 
Michael: "Here’s a story. My employee didn’t know the rule of thumb for the punch and die clearance and broke my 5/16” punch from the set I had. When I called to reorder, the service was hands-down the best. I spoke with Shannon in CPD's Customer Service Department. She already knew what type of machine and punch and die set I had. She was able to order the replacement punch and die I needed in less than 10 minutes. Saving time like that throughout the day is so important for me because I don’t have time to be on the phone. Its awesome to be able to call and get what I need really fast."


Garage Bound's second piece for Rock City, Georgia.
The first piece won him Artist of the Year through the Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce.

Michael also mentors others by working with local high schools, Boy Scout groups, drug and alcohol rehabs, and continues to pass on his knowledge in order to give back to the Chattanooga community. He is always posting pictures of his unique work and life. If you would like to see more of what he does, take a look at his Instagram page

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Keyhole Tooling

Keyhole tooling is used to fabricate a wide variety of parts. A few examples include banjo eyes on tow trucks, storage racks, and shelving units.

Let’s start with keyhole shelving units. Storage racks and shelving units are the most popular use for keyhole punches and dies. The picture below shows a perfect example. The keyholes are used to securely lock each shelf into place. These holes also make it easy to assemble and disassemble the shelving unit if necessary. Storage racks and shelving units like this can be found everywhere from the shop here at Cleveland Punch to your nearest home improvement store.

 Pictured above are examples of keyhole mounts found on shelves at the CPD’s manufacturing plant.

Another example where keyhole tooling is used is tow trucks. Many tow trucks use safety chains to secure a car, truck, or load to the bed of the truck. How do these chains connect to the bed of the truck? The answer, banjo eyes. These banjo eyes are fabricated with keyholes. The safety chain is fed through the round portion of the keyhole. When tight, the chain slides down the oblong portion of the keyhole to lock it in place. Next time you see a tow truck take a look at the bed. There’s a good chance you’ll see one of these keyholes.

Keyhole punches and dies would make for a great addition to your punch and die supply if you’re fabricating parts like this. Cleveland Punch and Die manufactures keyhole tooling for every ironworker. If you have any questions, call us at 330-296-4342 or email us at

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Lubrication Extends Tooling Life

Click to Enlarge
Lubricating the punches, dies and shear blades on a punching machine can play an influential role in extending tooling life. Understanding the forces that occur in the minuscule space between the punch and the material being punched may help explain why lubrication should be used.

As the punch passes through the material, tiny amounts of the material are fused to the punch surface, this is called galling. As the punching cycle continues, galling increases, causing the punching diameter to actually “grow.” The clearance between the punch and die becomes so small that eventually the punch may become pressed into the die.

From the pork grease that the early fabricators used to the synthetic lubricants available to the modern fabricator, the most frequently asked question is always “What kind of lubricant works best?”

Through extensive testing, we have found the higher the viscosity of the lubricant, the greater the protection, especially for slowly retracting punches.

However, on fast-cycling punching machines, the protective barrier on the sides of the punch can become a sticky, air-displacing vacuum generator on the face of the punch. During the fast retraction of the punch, the slug may pull out of the die and actually adhere to the punch face resulting in tool failure.

A punching lubricant that is too thin may offer an insignificant protection barrier for thick material. However, it may offer adequate protection for gauge stock.

What does the Green Team recommend? Our patented lubrication called Punch-Easy ®. It’s designed for all punching and shearing applications and has been proven to significantly reduce the amount of galling, scoring and friction, which prolongs tooling life. Thick or thin material, mild or stainless steel, Punch-Easy® protects against all!

Click to Enlarge

Punches, dies, shears receive less scoring and galling.
Utilize more press time by decreased tool changes.
New tool life making better holes for a longer time.
Cleans easy with any standard cleaner if required.
Holds lubrication to tools for rust prevention during storage.
Ease of application with brush or swab
Approved and tested for the toughest punching and shear jobs
Smooth increased production with more parts per tool.
Your best bet is to use Punch-Easy

Monday, July 17, 2017

Clearance is Crucial

Correct punch and die clearance is critical during the punching operation. Proper clearance will produce a hole with approximately the top one third measuring the size of the punch and the bottom two thirds flaring to the approximate inside diameter of the die.

Insufficient clearance will usually generate a secondary shear on the material, resulting in additional wear on the punch. Additionally, punching without Punch Easy® lubricant, can contribute to reduced die clearance, as the punch will grow during the punching application.

On the other hand, excessive clearance may result in a large flare as well as a burr on the bottom side of the material. Material “roll-over” may also occur along the top edge of the hole, and may cause the punch’s sharp edge to break down rapidly. The picture below shows an example of the effects of excessive and insufficient clearances. 

Click for Detail

No exact science exists for determining the proper clearance between the punch and die. What may work for one particular type of material may be different for another.

Follow the clearance chart below for the best results when punching mild steel.

Material Thickness                                                          Die Clearance
¼” up to ½”                                                                               1/32”
½” up to ¾”                                                                               1/16”
¾” up to 1”                                                                                3/32”
Over 1”                                                                                     1/8”
Gauge Stock                                                                10% of material thickness

When punching material other than mild steel, this chart may be helpful for determining clearances.
Click to Enlarge

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Be Your Best, By Partnering with The Best

Do what you love, or love what you do? We don’t have to make that decision at The Cleveland Punch & Die Company. We love our work and love to do it! In our 137-year history, we have accomplished so much to be proud of; from the products we manufacture, to our team culture and everything in between. Our core business values, established in 1880, have enabled us to continually evolve with technology, improve the products we manufacture, develop everlasting relationships with our customers, attract friendly, knowledgeable staff and provide a durable, dependable product. We take pride in our brand, our customers, our staff and the results our product brings to them.

Some of the products that our tools are used to fabricate include:

When you think of punches and dies, you probably aren’t imagining a life changing product. In reality, these seemingly small tools have such a large impact on our lives. The bridges we drive over, the appliances we use, even the milk we drink can all be traced back to a hole punching machine. It is this big picture concept that drives The Cleveland Punch and Die Company to engineer products of unmatched excellence and provide our customers with unparalleled knowledge and customer service each and every day.

Established in 1880, we are the oldest tooling manufacturer in the industry. 137 years ago, we set a goal to be the industry’s leading supplier of punches, dies, shear blades and related tooling. Today we have the industry’s largest inventory of stock tooling, enabling us to ship product to our customers faster than ever before. We also recognize that not every application calls for a standard tool, that is why we pride ourselves on having the industry’s fastest delivery on custom made tooling. If you have a custom application, give one of our engineers a call to discuss it!

We realize that bigger is not always better. This is why we have made it our mission to provide the utmost superior quality and service one customer at a time. We have accomplished both our goal and mission by pushing the envelope of technological advancement while staying true to our old-fashioned values.

Stick to the Fundamentals
At The Cleveland Punch & Die Company, we treat customers the way we want to be treated. We provide products that we believe in, stand behind and are proud to represent. We open early and stay late to guarantee that your order will ship when promised! At The Cleveland Punch and Die Company, you will always speak to a live representative - customer service agents are available 7am until 6pm EST for your convenience. Our shipping department stays open even later, enabling us to ship product until 7pm EST and help customers that are in a pinch.

Build a Tradition
Based in the heart of America, our products are made in the U.S.A. with only the highest quality tool steel. From turning to grinding, milling, and heat-treat; all manufacturing operations are performed in-house to guarantee the highest quality and most consistent product. We also partner with the industry’s O.E.M.’s and their dealers to ensure that our tooling exceeds customer’s expectations and allows them to increase their productivity.

Spread the Wealth
We have been fortunate to work with customers from across the world in our 137-year history. These experiences have helped us to gain the knowledge and expertise to help our customers with the most complicated applications. We take pride in sharing this knowledge with our customers to help solve problems and add value to their operations. Our team of engineers work hard to design custom solutions to help solve your special applications, deliver on promises and find new ways to help you increase your profits.

We believe that investing in our staff is an investment in our customer’s future success. We provide our employees, and their families, the opportunity to further their education in the field of their choosing by offering scholarship assistance through the Eugene & Arlene True Memorial Scholarship. More information regarding this scholarship opportunity can be found by visiting the Akron Community Foundation website.

Stay True
At The Cleveland Punch and Die Company, we strive to provide our customers with “More Holes per Dollar”. However, this is more than just a motto, it is a promise to our customers. We remain committed to the same values of service, quality and the pursuit of excellence that has become our trademark and tradition.

We thank you for being a part of our 137-year history and look forward to serving you in the years to come. We sincerely appreciate your business and the products you manufacture that make our lives safer, easier, and more convenient. 

We invite you to put our word to the test! Please reach out to our customer service team to let us know how we can help you. We are available to take your call from 7am to 6pm EST or by email at

Interested in seeing what we do every day? Follow us on social media to stay up to date on The Cleveland Punch & Die Company news, get a behind the scenes look at our operations, and learn tips and tricks of the trade.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Tonnage Calculation

A common question.. Does my machine have enough tonnage to punch the hole my job requires?

Lucky for you, we have a tonnage calculation to answer that question!

Let’s say your machine has a 50-ton capacity and you need to punch a 5/8” round hole through ½” A-36 mild Steel. Using the formula LTS/2000 we can calculate the tonnage.

L= Length of cut in inches (use circumference [π x diameter] for rounds and perimeter for other shapes)

T= Thickness of material in inches

S= Ultimate shear strength in pounds per square inch (PSI)

1.963 X .500 X 60,000
29.45 tons

This means to punch a 5/8” hole in ½” thick material it will take 29.45 tons, since you have a 50-ton machine there’s enough tonnage to punch the hole.

Punching different materials means there are different shear strengths. To keep it simple we have come up with multipliers to calculate tonnage when punching different types of material.

If you’re punching the same application but with a different material type, a quick way to calculate the tonnage is by multiplying the tonnage by the multiplier in the chart below.

Example with stainless steel: the shear strength would be 70,000 PSI and from the chart below we see the multiplier is 1.17. Therefore, we take the tonnage from before times 1.17:

29.45 tons X 1.17 = 34.46 tons required to punch stainless

If you need assistance, please contact our Green Team 7 am to 6 pm