Stimpson 405 Review
I’m making corsets! Which means I need to set grommets! I super hate hammering in grommets, rivets, and similar. It’s not always accurate, I’m always afraid it’s going to damage whatever surface I’m hammering on, and it freaks out my dog. So, with two corseted costumes in front of me, I decided to buy a grommet press.
As usual, I did a ton of research and ultimately settled on the Stimpson 405 Hand Press. There were a bunch of presses on Amazon that looked like the same design for about a third of the price, but reviews were iffy. Like so many Chinese knockoff products on Amazon, there were like ten different products listed under ten different brand names, that all looked identical. Reviews tended to be positive from people who’d never used a press before, negative from more experienced users. Also, apparently, they all came with low-quality grommets of proprietary design. Between Amazon reviews and forum suggestions, Stimpson and Hiker stood out as the standards. Hiker wasn’t available online, only through authorized dealers sold in person, so Stimpson for the win!
I went with the refurbished #0 kit. It included the press, a metal plate, a #0 die, and 900 grommet sets. The kit wasn’t cheap, but it was about $120 less than if I’d bought a brand new press and all the other things individually. Typically I don’t like buying refurbished, but this is such a simple machine and such a solid build, I decided it would be ok. It’s a big metal lever, not a computer, you know?
The press arrived in three pieces: the press, the metal plate, and the grommets, plus an instruction sheet.
It immediately struck me as heavy duty and high quality, like the tools that used to be in my dad’s workshop, not the cheap tools typically available now. This thing seems like it will last forever!
Assembly was easy. Two screws attached the press to the plate, and, honestly, I don’t even know if the plate is necessary. The die was already installed, but it looks pretty easy to remove and swap out with a different size. The grommet washer sits in a groove in the bottom section and the big part of the grommet fits into the top.
The lever is smooth and easy to press. It took very little effort to set the grommet. My first try (left, in both photos below) was a little off center but my second was perfect! And it cuts perfect little circles of fabric, just like a paper hole punch!
I’m in love!!
This is the first of the two corsets:
It’s probably, technically , a vest because it’s not boned or supportive, but it laces up the back corset-style. The Stimpson made quick and easy work of those 18 grommets! As you can see, the results are clean and consistent, and the process was simple and quiet. I’m super happy with both the process and the results!