Fine Closing Awl

This is the awl I use for fine work and for round closing 2-2.5mm thick leather. It was made from a small allen key, though 3mm music wire would also work well. I cut the angle off the allen key, stuck it in a drill and tapered it with a sanding drum on a dremel while it was spinning. The blade is straight, as is appropriate for a medieval awl.

picture of a fine closing awl on a bench with the blade resting on a ruler for measurment

Fine closing awl made from a piece of allen key

The tip is a fine chisel point about 0.8mm wide. The point was made by just rubbing the tip on a fine abrasive until it was the right shape. The awl blade maxes out at about 1.7mm in diameter at the widest part that usually goes through a closing seam.

Tip of a fine awl blade resting on a ruler for measurement. The tip is approximately 0.8mm wide.

The tip of the fine closing awl I made

Using this awl I can achieve 2mm stitches/12spi in 2mm leather without too much trouble, and with practice and concentration I can do 1.6mm stitches/15spi.  The seam below was sewn at with 2mm stitches.

Picture of the inside of a reproduction 16th century shoe showing 2mm long stitches in the closing seam.

2mm stitch length in the closing seam of a 16th century low shoe.

Detail view of the inside of a 16th century low shoe showing the closing seam and the thread attaching the buckle

Another view of the closing seam. The thread coming through in front of the seam holds the buckle on.

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