Substitute for a Punch Down Tool

By Mark Applegate

Punch down tools install twisted pair Ethernet cables to an Ethernet jack or a small gauge bell wire to a jack of any kind. They work by forcing these small gauge wires into a bladed slot that peels back the insulation exposing the wire to the circuit-bearing surface.

Screwdrivers

Use a small, flat-head screwdriver as a common substitute for a punch down tool. When doing so it is vital that you do not break the already thin wire before it makes contact with the desired slot. If you break the wire before you make the connection, your device will not achieve the desired communication, or it will be choppy.

Needle-nose pliers

Needle-nose pliers are also a viable option to replace a punch-down tool for occasional use. If you can find a small electronics set of pliers, it would often include a thin, bent-nose tool that aids in reaching behind challenging angles to push the wire between its slots.

Spring-loaded Nail Sets

A spring-loaded nail set is a standard nail set that incorporates a spring much like a small door spring to allow it to be snapped to generate force in a tight spot. In a time of need, you can grind it down to a flat blade than you can apply a similar force to a jack.

Tool-less Jacks

You can purchase slightly more expensive Ethernet jacks at any home store which utilize a tool-less design. In this design, the eight wires of an Ethernet cable are "grabbed" by a jaw-like interface and snapped and locked shut.