An Awl That’s Not For Mak­ing Holes

I’ve seen had sev­er­al people new to leather­work or shoe­mak­ing tell me they’ve bought an awl but they are hav­ing real trouble get­ting it to make holes prop­erly. Most times when I’ve asked them to show it to me, they’ve shown me one of these:

Scratch awl

This is a scratch awl. It is a mark­ing tool not a tool for pier­cing holes.

It’s called a scratch awl and it’s used for mark­ing out pat­terns and prick­ing dots in leath­er. This is an awl, but it is not a tool for mak­ing holes. The ‘blade’ is round and tapers to a point. Sew­ing awl blades are flattened ovals and have a slightly chisel shaped tip.

If you’ve got one of these, keep it, they’re handy tools, but don’t try using it to make holes through leath­er for stitch­ing.

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