Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Snappy Gear Repair

Repairing your own gear can be an intimidating task. It seems like it would require specialized tools, skills, and knowledge, but most times that fear is greatly exaggerated. With some basic tools and supplies, and a realization that you can't break it any worse than it already is, you can learn to fix a huge majority of your own gear.

Our own editrix Erin Palette experienced this feeling with a MOLLE pouch recently. I told her I'd happily fix it for her, but lets go one better and teach her (and the rest of you) how to repair a broken snap fastener.

(I apologize for a bit of blur, I had focus issues on a couple pictures that I didn't see until I couldn't correct it.)

The damage to the pouch is shown here. The stud portion of the snap fastener has broken completely off and needs to be replaced.

Snap fasteners are a four-part affair. Both the cap and stud consist of a post side and a receiving side. They're placed with the fabric or leather between them and smashed until they grab.

The pieces mate together like so. The post is driven to compress against the receiver plate to permanently hold them tightly together.

Since the cap portion of the fastener was in perfect shape, only the stud side required replacement. I use a hard plastic cutting board as a base to set rivets and snap fasteners for leather work, and the corner fit nicely into the area behind the fastener, giving me a hard surface to strike against.

The finished product. It took about 4 strikes with a mallet and a punch to flatten the post, securing the stud into position. If I wasn't taking pictures and breaking down the process, this repair would take less than five minutes to perform and less than a dollar in parts. I actually couldn't find my snap-setter punch, so I used a pin punch, similar to the kind most gun owners have in their tool kits to take down firearms.

Many gear repairs are just this simple. It takes the appropriate parts and basic tools, and basic instruction or a bit of experimentation. Don't buy new gear or go without when a fix is just minutes away.


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