The Truth

Via cyan­ide and hap­pi­ness (fre­quently NSFW, but this one is safe)   The thing about this effect is that it nev­er leaves you, but it can be the most notice­able when you’re past the “just start­ing out” phase, and you’ve hit the “argh, everything is crap” phase that you hit …

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

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 …

Some Ran­dom Thoughts on Mak­ing Medi­ev­al Repro­duc­tions

Build­ing repro­duc­tion medi­ev­al objects for reen­act­ment is an exer­cise in com­prom­ise. There are occa­sions where an object can be recre­ated using noth­ing but accur­ately repro­duced tools and mater­i­als pro­duced and pro­cessed as they would have been for the ori­gin­al object, but these are rare oppor­tun­it­ies and often expens­ive under­tak­ings. For the …

Site Changes

I’m in the pro­cess of migrat­ing the site to new host­ing, which is entail­ing some back end and theme changes. Please bear with me while I work through the issues that are crop­ping up. I hope the changes will prove worth­while and enable me to post more use­ful con­tent more reg­u­larly.

Medi­ev­al and Renais­sance Awl Hafts

Fol­low­ing on from my pre­vi­ous two posts about awls, I should say some­thing about medi­ev­al awl hafts since none of the hafts I’ve pic­tured pre­vi­ously are medi­ev­al in shape (one is an attempt, but it’s all wrong). Marc Carlson has a lot of pic­tures of his­tor­ic shoe­makers on his Foot­wear of the …

Using Awls Without Hurt­ing Your Hand

How you hold an awl in use is import­ant for a couple of reas­ons. You need to hold it in a way that gives you good con­trol over what you’re doing but allows you to apply suf­fi­cient force while redu­cing a tend­ency to lever the blade (which will surely snap it); but you …

Scratch awl

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: It’s called a scratch awl and …

Awl collection

Awls

After a year in which, thanks to vari­ous ail­ments, I’ve bought a lot more tools than I’ve used,  I now have a fairly reas­on­able col­lec­tion of awls. No two have the same haft, and there are a few def­in­ite favor­ites in the col­lec­tion. Most of the awls I have were obtained nth hand and all but …

Class Notes for Class on Round Clos­ing

At the upcom­ing Can­ter­bury Faire I am going to be teach­ing a class on mak­ing round closed seams (but­ted seams) for shoe­mak­ing. Here’s a link to the handout I’ve writ­ten for people to take home as a ref­er­ence after the class.

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