Woodworking

What Is An Awl Used For In Woodworking? A Multifunctional Tool

Awls are a helpful tool for woodworking but many people don’t know what it’s used for. What is an awl used for in woodworking? Let’s see!

Many tools express their function and purpose just by their existence. A saw, vise, and hammer are that type of tool, while an awl is foreign to this.

What is an awl used for in woodworking? Brad awls or piercing awls pierce wood, whereas marking awls or scratch awls apply to laying out joints and projects.

By the end of this post, you’ll know how it functions and if this tool is really necessary for your woodworking. Let’s begin!

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What Is An Awl?

It’s like a sharp nail attached to a wooden handle.

It’s like a sharp nail attached to a wooden handle.

An awl is a metal handle tool with a pointy point. You can think of it as a nail sticking to a wooden handle.

You can find multiple types of this tool on the market. The stitching type is to cope with materials like canvas and leather. The marking or scratch or Bradawl type is to address woodworking. So, we will focus on the latter in this post.

A Bradawl is a general woodshop working handheld tool or woodworking tool for short used to scratch and scribe lines or marks into different surfaces.

You can use it to pierce or punch or start holes into materials like before drilling.

What Is An Awl Used For In Woodworking?

Its primary function is to deter tools from wandering across the wood’s face.

Its primary function is to deter tools from wandering across the wood’s face.

In a word, it is to scribe lines to create a starting point for other tools, like a chisel or hand saw, and make holes to create a starting point for a drill bit or screw.

Scribe Lines

Typically, woodworkers use Bradawl to scribe lines and create a starting point for other tools, like a chisel or a hand saw, particularly with the wood’s grain.

It’s possible to scribe across the wood’s grain using this tool, but this practice might cause your material to tear out. You’d better use a sharp cutter to scribe lines across the wood’s grain instead of an awl.

In particular, you’ll drag the Bradawl’s tip with the wood’s grain, creating a shallow groove. That groove will prevent your chisel or hand saw from surfing across the wood’s surface.

Make Holes

Another use of a Bradawl for woodworking is to create holes to mark a starting point or a drill bit or screws, such as a Forstner bit or countersink bit.

In essence, you’ll push the awl’s tip into the wood’s surface to create a tiny hole and position your drill bit into that hole. This way, it’ll reduce the chance that your drill bit will stir around the wood’s surface.

Indeed, people use a Bradawl primarily for creating holes.

Other Uses

A marking awl is, as said, a multifunctional tool fitting various applications. Please remember that this assistant requires some experience and skills to use any handheld manual tool.

Its accuracy will depend a lot on the stability of the metalworker or carpenter. Here are a few regular functions of an awl in terms of wood projects:

  • Create a precise line along the wood grain so tour chisel can follow
  • Head thread through firm materials when creating, sewing stitches in garment making or fabrics.
  • A typical, great DIT tool to make holes effortlessly in various materials.

Is An Awl Necessary For Woodworking?

It’s a brilliant idea to use this tool in woodworking.

It’s a brilliant idea to use this tool in woodworking.

It’s not mandatory to have a scratch awl around when performing a wood task, but it will be a relief if you have one beside to help.

Any professional carpenter will want to have one as a shortcut for wooden projects in their workshop.

As discussed above, a marking awl makes a starting point for other tools, reducing the chance of those tools stirring.

If we proceed with the task without creating a starting point beforehand for other tools, they can stir across the wood’s surface. Once the tools stir, they might induce damage to your material.

Should you intend to stain your project, it means you’ll need to sand out the damage. Should you intend to paint your project, it’s necessary to fill the crack using a filler to conceal the damage.

Why do you have to do that while you can use a scratch awl to create a starting point for your drill bit within seconds? It’ll help you shorten the process and save you tons of time and effort.

What Is An Awl Used For In Woodworking

Conclusion

An inexpensive, straightforward yet helpful scratch awl is a crucial assistant in any carpenter’s woodshop. Why? Our answer to “what is an awl used for in woodworking?” is a clear explanation.

In a word, it will reduce the possibility of a drill bit or chisel splitting your workpiece. So, don’t hesitate to buy one to aid your wood construction.

>>> If you buy one woodworking book this year, make it this one.

Lisa J. Thompson

Hello, my name is Lisa Thompson and I’m the Founder of Daily Home Insider, your go-to resource for all things home security and home improvement. In this day and age, security should be your top priority, and that’s exactly why my dedicated team of writers and I offer reliable information pertaining to gun storage, home safes, and so much more. When I’m not running the blog, I enjoy gardening and homesteading. As an avid nature lover, I also love going on camping trips. Currently, I happily reside in the heart of Los Angeles.

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