Cool homemade awl from scrap NO LATHE DIY hand tools for woodworking

Cool homemade awl from scrap | NO LATHE | DIY hand tools for woodworking

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This homemade awl was in my mind for a long time, and I’m glad I finally made one.

This awl will make drilling more accurate and placing screws more easily in the future. 

When I searched online on how to make a homemade awl for my woodworking workshop, I noticed all handles were made by a lathe. But since I don’t have a lathe, I had to find an alternative way to make that handle. That way I could not only make a handle, but I could also inspire other people who also don’t have a lathe.

By thinking about the design for the handle I had some requirements. It has to look cool and modern, I wanted an easy and firm grip, and it had to be ergonomic.

To inspire other people to make this awl, I also wanted to use materials everybody has lying around in a workshop, so anyone would be able to make this awl.

So if you are in the same situation as I am, and you also don’t have a lathe, or you just want to make this cool awl with an ergonomic handle, follow the step-by-step instructions below, and you can make this awl for your woodworking workshop. 

You can also use the idea of how to make the handle as a base to make other hand tools for your workshop. 

But for now, I’ll show you how to build this cool DIY awl.

Before we start building

To prepare you for building this project, I have made a few handy lists.

In addition to a few personal protective equipment that I use*, I also list the materials as well as the (power) tools you will need to build this jig.

* Safety is always your own responsibility!

Safety first! protect yourself!

Materials I used to make this homemade awl

(power)Tools I used to make this DIY awl

Building this cool homemade awl step by step

Step 1 | Preparation

To start I took a piece of beech wood about 2 cm thick and 7 by 6 cm.

On this piece of wood, I sketched the shape I had in mind.

In the center are the two holes that can serve as a grip on the handle.

The holes have a diameter of 26 mm and are spaced approximately 5 mm from each other.

The outside of the handle was also determined based on the shape of the circles.

Cool homemade awl from scrap NO LATHE DIY hand tools for woodworking

The first thing I did to make the handle was to drill the holes.

I used my drill press to be sure I drilled the holes at right angles.

The holes are drilled with a 26 mm Forstner drill bit. This gave me a nice clean surface inside the drilled hole, which saved me a lot of work sanding the handle.

To prevent the small piece of wood from turning with the drill press, I clamped it in my homemade drill vise.

If you also want to make this drill press vise for your workshop, be sure to check out this blog where you can follow the step-by-step instructions and download the free plans.

Cool homemade awl from scrap NO LATHE DIY hand tools for woodworking

Before giving the handle its shape, I removed all the excess wood as close to the sketched lines as possible.

I did this with my Japanese handsaw, which allowed me to make very precise cuts.

Cool homemade awl from scrap NO LATHE DIY hand tools for woodworking

After all the excess wood was removed, I was able to fine-tune the shape a little more with my homemade drum sander and 80 grit sandpaper.

Be sure to protect yourself against dust when you take this step. A drum sander makes a lot of fine dust!

Check out the blog I wrote lately about how to control dust in your woodworking workshop. You can find that blog here.

Cool homemade awl from scrap NO LATHE DIY hand tools for woodworking

Step 2 | Making the copper ferrule

Where the awl and the handle merge into each other, I have applied a copper ferrule. Not only does it protect the connection, but it also gives the awl a nice and professional look.

After making a mark on the inside of the ferrule and the depth of the ferrule, I removed all the excess wood with the Japanese saw.
Then I touched up the joint with a chisel and a file.

Cool homemade awl from scrap NO LATHE DIY hand tools for woodworking
Cool homemade awl from scrap NO LATHE DIY hand tools for woodworking
Cool homemade awl from scrap NO LATHE DIY hand tools for woodworking

For the ferrule, I used a piece of copper tube with a diameter of 18 mm. The piece of the copper tube I cut with the handy little tool that you can see on the picture below, was about 1 cm long.

Cool homemade awl from scrap NO LATHE DIY hand tools for woodworking

I applied epoxy glue on the protrusion that I previously made to fit in the copper tube.

Epoxy glue is a 2 component glue that hardens within 5 minutes after mixing. I always mix the epoxy glue on masking tape. That way I can easily clean up the residue, but also check from time to time whether the glue has cured via the rest of the glue that is left behind on the painter’s tape.

Cool homemade awl from scrap NO LATHE DIY hand tools for woodworking

Step 3 | Making the shank from an old drill

Even though a piece of material is worn out, I still have a hard time throwing it away. Luckily I didn’t do this with this old drill either.

This old drill was the perfect material for the shank as these are hardened, so the sharp point will last a long time.

I made the point by holding it against a fast rotating sharpening stone until I had 4 flattened sides that come together in a sharp point.

Cool homemade awl from scrap NO LATHE DIY hand tools for woodworking

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Step 4 | Assembling

Before I could start assembling, I touched up the sharp edges of the handle with a file and sandpaper. That way it feels nice to hold this handle, and it perfectly conforms to the shape of my hand.

Cool homemade awl from scrap NO LATHE DIY hand tools for woodworking

Once the handle was the shape I wanted, it was time to drill the hole for the shank.

I drilled that hole with my drill press to be sure of a perfectly square hole.

I made the hole slightly bigger so that there was some room to apply enough glue to glue the shank into the handle.

Cool homemade awl from scrap NO LATHE DIY hand tools for woodworking

To glue the shaft to the handle, I used epoxy glue again.

Cool homemade awl from scrap NO LATHE DIY hand tools for woodworking

Step 5 | Finishing

To protect the handle, I have treated it with linseed oil. I applied this in 2 layers.

To apply the linseed oil, I used a stainpad wood stain applicator. This ensures that you can apply linseed oil or other stains without spilling, an absolute must!

Cool homemade awl from scrap NO LATHE DIY hand tools for woodworking

My awl was now ready, and now I made this handle, it inspires me to make more hand tools myself based on this idea. 

I hope this blog was helpful, and I wish you a lot of fun if you are trying to make a tool like this too.

Cool homemade awl from scrap NO LATHE DIY hand tools for woodworking

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2 Comments

  1. This seems simple enough. I think I’ll make one myself.

    But wouldn’t it have been easier to grind the point on the drill bit if you had attached it to the handle first?

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