Scratch Awl from Scratch

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Blog entry by DanoP posted 07-20-2012 02:40 AM 3095 reads 15 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Decided to show how I made my awl

Started with a cheap box store screwdriver (they seem to be made from decent steel), a brass fitting and a hunk of wood (in this case, a piece of redwood burl).

Heat the shaft of a screwdriver with a propane torch and pull it free of the handle then heat it to red hot and let it slowly cool to anneal (soften) the steel.

Mount the screwdriver blade in the lathe and grind to shape with a grinder or you can also work it more slowly with a file.


grabbed a small branch and the fitting

chucked it up in the lathe

trimmed it down to a tight fit on the fitting

Screw on the fitting, shape it with a round nose scraper and file then polish with sandpaper (down to 1000 grit) and white diamond.

After hitting the shaft with sandpaper and white diamond, we are finally ready for the wood

Turn down a tenon to TIGHTLY fit the fitting and epoxy it on.


Now to retemper the steel, (sorry for the horrible photo) heat the steel red hot the quench in oil if you have it but for something this small, water works just fine. Clean the steel up then reheat it till it JUST STARTS to turn color (tan to light blue) then let it slowly cool. You now have a hard yet not very brittle awl shaft.

Drill out the blank for a nice tight fit and epoxy and press the shaft in.

now’s a good time to repolish the shaft

start turning a nice comfortable shape.

Note, tape up the shaft with masking tape to keep from scratching the shaft

a little CA finish and you have your one of a kind Awl.




-- We've got enough youth. Let's search for a fountain of smart.

11 comments so far

View A Slice of Wood Workshop's profile

A Slice of Wood Workshop

1094 posts in 3651 days

#1 posted 07-20-2012 03:06 AM

Nice awl. I like that how the handle turned out after the finish.

-- Follow me on YouTube-

View oluf's profile


260 posts in 3517 days

#2 posted 07-20-2012 03:14 AM

That is such a nice job that you will have to make a jewel case to store it in. make sure you don’t scrach it LOL.

-- Nils, So. Central MI. Wood is honest.Take the effort to understand what it has to tell you before you try to change it.

View DocK16's profile


1186 posts in 4565 days

#3 posted 07-20-2012 03:27 AM

now I know what to do with all my old screw drivers

View Vince's profile


1201 posts in 3907 days

#4 posted 07-20-2012 06:08 AM

Sweet, I like it.

-- Vince

View Ken90712's profile


17707 posts in 3667 days

#5 posted 07-20-2012 09:08 AM

Great work and cool Blog!

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View MShort's profile


1797 posts in 3896 days

#6 posted 07-20-2012 11:30 AM

Nice tutorial.

-- Mike, Missouri --- “A positive life can not happen with a negative mind.” ---

View jerrells's profile


918 posts in 3363 days

#7 posted 07-20-2012 12:37 PM

That is one VERY nice awl. Lots of work went into that one.

-- Just learning the craft my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ practiced.

View wunderaa's profile


248 posts in 2681 days

#8 posted 07-20-2012 02:26 PM

Thanks for taking the time to put together such a detailed blog. What excellent craftsmanship!!

View Philip's profile


1277 posts in 3017 days

#9 posted 07-22-2012 02:20 PM

Brilliant! Just reinforces my idea of making my own tools.

-- I never finish anyth

View WilcoFlier's profile


58 posts in 3491 days

#10 posted 07-30-2012 07:28 PM

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4168 posts in 3334 days

#11 posted 11-23-2012 09:24 PM

Great tutorial and what a beautiful awl

-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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