Shop Trick: Mechanical <del>Pencils</del> Scratch Awls/Scribers

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Project by ChuckM posted 01-12-2012 10:26 PM 2261 views 6 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Like pencils and squares, awls are one of the most reached-for tools in my shop. I have half a dozen of them (strategically placed everywhere so one is always available when I need it, especially by the drill press station). I saw this tip in an old issue of Fine Woodworking of turning a mechanical pencil into a retractable awl. Clever shop ideas must be shared!


A 2mm mechanical pencil (from art supplies stores, if your office stationery stores don’t carry it; I got mine from eBay—seller located in Thailand!)

A 5/64” dia. drill bit with its end ground pointed

My grinding method:

I held the bit in a block (a hole slightly larger than the diameter than the drill bit is drilled at an angle) and sharpened the end on a sander disc by rotating the bit into the spinning disc.

Now, with one mechanical awl always in my apron, I know I will never be short of awls.

(Note: The steel point scriber can reverse for storage in the handle –,42936)

-- The time I enjoy wasting is not time wasted

2 comments so far

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 4393 days

#1 posted 01-12-2012 11:51 PM

Cool idea. I too am always looking for my scribe, only to find it 2 weeks later. Nice job.

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View a1Jim's profile


117234 posts in 3724 days

#2 posted 01-13-2012 01:47 AM

A super bunch of projects.well done.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

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