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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