There are many types of awl ~ the common characteristic being a comfortable small handle holding a long thin sharp pointed blade. The blade is invariably round in section ~ although there are specialist awls of sharpened ~ triangular ~ or square ~ section. All good awls are made with well tempered steel which means they are difficult to bend and to sharpen ~ but they will hold their point well with use. Most awls are hand tools ~ meaning (in this case) that they are not meant to be hammered or subject to greater forces than those of the fingers and hands of a craftsperson. The shape of the handle is partly a matter of taste, and also an indication as to the intended delicacy of use.

A selection of small awls
A selection of small awls ~ mainly prickers ~ one or two bodkins

A shoemaker ~ or cordwainer [125494] ~ will use several awls. Some awls concentrate on the sharpness of the point ~ for piercing holes. Some have an increasingly large diameter of blade for enlarging holes. Others are used as levers for prising layers of leather apart ~ or together ~ or other skills peculiar to their trade.

I am preparing notes on aspects of awls ~ as an aid to those intending to purchase such a useful tool. The diameter of blade and type of point is a good starting point. There are several terms in common use.

~ Pricker ~ or clicker ~ for the smallest awls

~ Bodkin for the largest

~ Stitching awl for the sewing

In bookcrafts there is a frequent need for punching small holes in paper to make sewing jobs easier. It is difficult to push a needle through a pile of eight sheets of paper ~ a common requirement prior to sewing the sections of a book. In my student days I had fun making a prickers' awl from a needle ~ at college I had access to a lathe and scraps of wood so that I could fashion fancy handles. I see from a quick check on the WWW that what appears to be the same awl can be bought at prices ranging from just over £1 to £5 or more. It is an item for which the carriage costs more than the tool itself. Some of the more expensive awls may well be of better quality, but this is one item where the cheapest is likely to be quite adequate for hobby use.

Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional Valid CSS!

Web services by ~

or contact ~

Last updated 2021~0415
End of file