An ode to Awl

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Blog entry by Brad posted 05-11-2011 05:54 AM 3896 reads 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch

There have been many times where I could have used a good scratch awl. They’re great for:

—Making pilot holes for nails, brads and screws to prevent splitting (see Hand Tools: Their Ways and Workings by Aldren Watson. This text is within arm’s reach of your workbench isn’t it?) Yes, gimlets would work too.
—Scribing lines with a try square during layout operations
Puncturing your beer can of choice to shotgun it

So while tool hunting on an antiquing outing one Saturday, a Stanley awl caught my eye. What I really liked about it was a steel shank that ran the length of it.

I could use a hammer with it without fear of splitting the handle. However, the $8.00 price tag was more than I wanted to part with so there it lies still to my knowledge.

Five shops later, I found another one. But this one had a bent tip, as if someone had tried to pry open a manhole cover. The chrome was missing in a few places too. At $2.95 the price reflected its condition. I put it down only to come back the next day realizing that a little TLC could make her serviceable again.

Here she is after I cleaned the metal, straightened the tip and ground a new point on the grinding wheel.

I cleaned the wood handle using mineral spirits, then applied two coats of boiled linseed oil, followed by three coats of spray-on polyurethane.

And now she’s ready for service in my tool kit.

-- "People's lives are their own rewards or punishments."

3 comments so far

View Bearpie's profile


2601 posts in 2439 days

#1 posted 05-11-2011 09:40 AM

You rescued a nice beat up tool and made it nicer with love and far more than 8 bucks worth of labor! Now to really honor your tool, you need to line the hooks that it rests on with foam to prevent more damage to it. ;-)

Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

-- Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

View racerglen's profile


3112 posts in 2201 days

#2 posted 05-11-2011 12:42 PM

Nice ! Now you need a Brad Awl to go with your awl Brad..


(sorry, it’s a quarter to 4, as in am, here and I’m a tad unawake yet..)

-- Glen, B.C. Canada

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10850 posts in 2536 days

#3 posted 05-11-2011 06:24 PM

great save :-)
always nice to see a tool come back to life


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