Scratch Awl from Scratch

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Blog entry by DanoP posted 764 days ago 1752 reads 13 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

890 posts in 1800 days

#1 posted 764 days ago

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

-- Tim-; Twitter-@asliceofwood; Facebook-

View oluf's profile


256 posts in 1666 days

#2 posted 764 days ago

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


1139 posts in 2714 days

#3 posted 764 days ago

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

-- Common sense is so rare anymore when you do see it, it looks like pure genius.

View Vince's profile


948 posts in 2056 days

#4 posted 764 days ago

Sweet, I like it.

-- Vince

View Ken90712's profile


14878 posts in 1816 days

#5 posted 764 days ago

Great work and cool Blog!

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

View MShort's profile


1725 posts in 2045 days

#6 posted 764 days ago

Nice tutorial.

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

View jerrells's profile (online now)


849 posts in 1512 days

#7 posted 764 days ago

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


187 posts in 830 days

#8 posted 764 days ago

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

View Philip's profile


1091 posts in 1166 days

#9 posted 762 days ago

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

-- If you can dream it, I can do it!

View WilcoFlier's profile


55 posts in 1641 days

#10 posted 753 days ago

Very nice work!


View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4112 posts in 1484 days

#11 posted 637 days ago

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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