Archive for September, 2009

Snap Press!

September 3rd, 2009 2 comments

It’s been almost six months since I last posted, and it will be another month before I’m back posting regularly, but I just had to acknowledge the arrival of a tool I expect to be using for the rest of my sewing life.  It’s  KAM snap press, model DK-98:


I’ve waffled about getting this for years now, torn because I wasn’t sure I’d use it enough, and because I just didn’t know enough about the people selling them.  Dawn’s experience convinced me that I could order one and expect it to arrive, and I finally had a list of projects-around-the-house that was long enough that I figured it was time.

Mostly, though, I’ve wanted (for decades!) to be able to set decorative cap snaps without smashing the caps,something I’ve never been able to do with pliers.

This thing is a monster:  It’s almost 18 inches tall, and heavy!  See that “bubble” in front, on the base?  That’s where you put a bolt if you’re going to anchor it to a work bench.  There are two other similar holes around the base. The good news is that you don’t have to bolt it down to use it; in fact, although it requires some body language, setting snaps is really easy.

Most people seem to use these in home-based diaper making businesses, and at least one family uses it to make hospital gowns for charity.  (They have a clever foot-pedal rigged up, which you can see here, since they are apparently setting snaps non-stop.) Diapers and hospital gowns both are well-suited to ue the resin (plastic-like) snaps.  They’re softer against the body, and don’t retain heat when taken out of the dryer, the way metal snaps can (if only briefly).  I’ll be using my own snap press mostly for metal snaps; I got the resin ones mostly to experiment with adult apparel.

Here’s what I ordered along with the press:


No the greatest picture, I’m afraid:  The dots are, of course, snaps.  The white ones on the left are resin, and the ones in the upper row are metal, spring-type (more on that later).  The things that look like little tubes or columns are dies.  The snap press is useless without them. You set the dies in place in the press, then put the appropriate snap part into the die, sandwich the fabric or material, and clamp the parts together to set a snap.

The allen wrenches at the lower right come with the press.  They’re used to turn the screws that hold the dies in place.  And that strap at the top?  It’s the first snap I set with my new press:  A size 28 (large!) bronze snap.  I couldn’t believe how easy it was to set!

I got my snap press from The Snap Store.  The service was very good, but ordering was a bit of a frustrating experience.  The web site’s kind of a mess, and unless you already know exactly what you want, it’s a bit tricky determining  how, much less what, to order. I completely gave up on trying to figure out if any of the special combination offers would work for me because I couldn’t figure out whether they were a good deal for my purposes or not.   I’ll have some tips about figuring out what to order  in my next snap press post.

Also, the website doesn’t state what KAM model this press it, which is a bit of a pain if you’re trying to figure out if the Snap Store dies will work with a press you already own, or with snaps you might get elsewhere.  I’m quite sure it’s a KAM DK-98, though.  There is at least one other KAM press out there, which is lighter weight (and a bit smaller), but I don’t know if it takes the same dies or not.

Dies are not necessarily interchangeable between types of presses, and getting any particular vendor to tell you what size shaft your press has (or what size shaft any particular die has) isn’t necessarily easy, so knowing your model is helpful when shopping around.

On the plus side, Wendy S., the Snap Store proprietor, was great about emailing me when one of my items was out of stock, so I was impressed with her responsiveness.  And my order arrived exactly as requested, which is always wonderful!  The Snap Store has by  far the largest selection of snaps and dies compared to any other source I could find, and yes, I’ve already placed an order for another die set.

More about die sets, figuring out what you need, etc. in  a future  post.

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