After seeing Paul’s recent blog entries on square/birdcage awls and on “upcycling” various tools, I had an opportunity to put both ideas to use. I had all the materials I needed close to hand: A small branch that had blown off an apple tree, a broken edge beveler for leather work that luckily I hadn’t thrown away. and a 1/2″ copper tubing coupling. Without benefit of a lathe, using rasps and files, I produced a very serviceable awl that I am quite pleased with.
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One suggestion I’d like to make… it looks like the taper on yours is quite steep. For a lack of a better word. Given that it’s meant to ream out the wood for taking a wood screw you might want to adjust that to match those. Otherwise you might have trouble starting the screw in the wood or getting it to bind properly.
Check out Paul’s pics.
I see your point (no pun intended)! I’ve started filing into a more gradual taper & I think I’ll be pleased with the result. I also have one very small crack in the handle. It’s not deep enough to cause a structural problem, but I think I’ll fill it with a bit of epoxy anyway. Thanks again!
Hi Matt. The ferrule probably isn’t necessary (depending on the wood I guess, but this apple branch had some checking). And it’s just a $.99 copper plumbing fitting from Ace. I guess the main reason I did it was for the practice of fitting one. I’m working on a marking gauge out of ambrosia maple now. I’ll post pictures when it’s completed.
Steve, this is just a suggestion until you make one….. I had an extra Tandy Leather awl with what they call a “pyramid point”. I really didn’t use it much for leatherwork, but with only minor reshaping, it made a very serviceable birdcage awl. Plus it was a lot cheaper!
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