Awl is a hand tool with a long pointed spoke and used for
different purposes, but mainly for piercing small holes, as in leather
or wood and used by carpenters, shoemakers, saddlers, tailors,
cabinetmakers, etc. The awl features a a sharp, metal blade and the
blade is differently shaped and pointed for different uses. The blade,
often a rod with a shaped tip, may or may not come inserted in a haft,
or handle. Since awls are used in a variety of trades, there are
different variations to fit the particular needs of the user. It can
also be that people from various trades used the same awl, but called it
by a different name depending upon the particular work or purpose. Thus,
in the market for hand tools, there are multiple awls with the same
name, and awls with different names and interchanging use descriptions.
Today, awls are sold as individual tools. Sometimes the blades and hafts
are sold separately.
Types of awls
- Bookbinder's Awls: With a sharp point and a wooden
handle, the bookbinder's awl is used to make precise holes on a book
cover for biding by sewing. There is another awl used for punching
holes in the thick "boards" in order to prepare them for
attaching them, which is popularly known as "lacing-in."
The long thin awl can pierce through several folds without enlarging
- Scratch awl: Scratch awl is used for marking wood. It is
a woodworking layout tool. Also know as clicker's awl, or joiner's
awl, the point is tapered and usually round. At times there are also
reaming blades offered. It is also used to make pilot holes in wood
for screws and nails.
- Stitching awl: This is a common tool used by leather
workers and cobblers to pierce holes in leather or other materials.
Using a stitching awl, holes can be made in a variety of materials
or existing holes can be enlarged. It usually has an eye piercing in
it at the pointy end which helps in drawing thread through holes for
the purpose of lock stitch sewing manually.
- Bradawl: This awl is use for making holes in wood. It is
a carpentry tool having a beveled tip with the handle either made of
wood or plastic . It is used to make pilot holes in wood for brads
- Bridle Awl or Harness Awl: This is used to make holes in
leather prior to stitching and used by leather workers. It has a
diamond-shaped point and is available in a range of diameters to
suit the work.
- Saddler's Awl: To adjust the stuffing in the stuffed
panels of the saddle, the saddler's awl is use.
- Scribe, Scriber, or Scribe Awl: It is used make guiding
marks for sawing, sign writing, metal fabrication, and textile
marking. It can be used to mark stone, ceramic and glass as well,
depending on the design.
- Stabbing Awl: Also known as Pegging Awl, Sailmaker's
Awl, or Pricker, this type of awl is used to make holes in sails,
which are then finished with a grommet, and also used in making
shoes or boots sometimes. It may be round or oval.