Scratch Awl Restoration

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Blog entry by twokidsnosleep posted 01-27-2013 11:02 PM 4152 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch

It is a lazy rainy Sunday and I am bored out of my mind.

I am in between large projects and been cleaning up around the house and garage shop so I decided to do some small piddly things in the garage that have been sitting around… to avoid further cleaning up and get out of the way of my wife’s cleaning fit.
I was reading Mr Lee’s(as in Lee Valley Tools) book on sharpening Saturday afternoon and read a passage about awls and diamond point cutters and how to sharpen them. So I decided to restore a scratch awl I knew was in the garage. This is it done

I had purchased a box of old hand tools on E-Bay two years ago and just stuck the box on a shelf when it came. There are a combination of small shoe making, leather making and wood working tools. I don’t think I paid much for them.
Many have poorly shaped tips or bizarre designs. But the metal is good and there are nice handles waiting to be refinished. I think the awl is the fourth tool from the bottom in the lower bag..its in there somewhere

Dis-assembly with the help of a bench vise and some muscle starts things out. The metal bits were removed rust and detritus scraped off and then soaked in Evaporust overnight. I started things out yesterday with a few of the more interesting tools.

The scratch awl was in decent shape, just needed some clean up, sharpening and a new ferrule.
I put the steel tip into my drill press and using files, stones, sandpaper and metal polish got it into form. That metal is hard! Mr Lee had mentioned the best way to sharpen round tools is to spin them, so that is what I did.
I made a ferrule from a Home Depot copper pipe reducer connection. I cut the 3/8” end off the connector, put a dowel inside and shaped/ polished it on my drill press. I did the same for the wooden handle by chucking it in the drill press carefully and the a final scrape with a cabinet scraper in my hands. Planed a flat spot on the wood so it won’t roll off the bench when put down. Danish oil and bees wax furniture polish as finish. It feels great in my hands and will be used to mark wood and leather projects.

-- Scott "Some days you are the big dog, some days you are the fire hydrant"

2 comments so far

View twokidsnosleep's profile


1106 posts in 3116 days

#1 posted 01-28-2013 12:06 AM

This is the book that started all this by Leonard Lee

...and the picture of how to point the awl

-- Scott "Some days you are the big dog, some days you are the fire hydrant"

View lusk's profile


20 posts in 1705 days

#2 posted 11-22-2017 03:51 AM

Very nice. I love restoring old tools like this. How exactly did you disassemble the awl without matting it horribly? Also, what would you search for on eBay to find such a nice lot of old tools?

-- Carlin, Upstate SC

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