A Simple Bird Cage Awl

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Blog series by bondogaposis updated 02-10-2016 02:40 AM 3 parts 8530 reads 20 comments total

Part 1: Starting with High Quality Steel

02-08-2016 03:04 PM by bondogaposis | 3 comments »

I like making awls. I have quite few around my shop in various sizes and configurations. A few years ago I decided to make an awl in the bird cage style and it has been my all around favorite ever since. I have no idea why they are called bird cage awls. Perhaps they were a critical tool for making cane bird cages in years gone by. Here I am going to make another one. I start out with a bar of O1 tool steel from McMaster-Carr. It is 3/16” square in cross section. This is the ide...

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Part 2: Hardening Steel

02-09-2016 02:34 AM by bondogaposis | 8 comments »

Now I am going to harden the tip. It is really not too hard. The first thing I like to do is get everything together that I will need before hand. The torch, oil, vise grip, magnet and awl blade. O1 tool steel is meant to be quenched in oil, that is what the “O” in O1 stands for. I use used motor oil, why, because it is cheap and has carbon in it. I have also used canola oil successfully. I put the awl blade in a vise grip so that I can pick it up quickly and dunk it in...

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Part 3: The Handle

02-10-2016 02:40 AM by bondogaposis | 9 comments »

With the blade hardened it is time to make a proper handle. In a previous blog I stabilized a fine piece of spalted apple. That is what I am going to use to make the handle.Chuck it up in the lathe and cut a section of copper tubing for the ferrule.I begin by making the blank round and cutting down on one end for the ferrule.Here I have it fit.Mix up some epoxy and spread it on the ferrule stub and in place the ring on the finger.After the epoxy cures I mount the blank into my scroll chuck ...

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