What Is An Awl Used For?

Are you curious to know what is an awl used for? You have come to the right place as I am going to tell you everything about an awl used for in a very simple explanation. Without further discussion let’s begin to know what is an awl used for?

In the realm of tools, there are often humble yet versatile instruments that have served craftsmen, artisans, and hobbyists for centuries. The awl is one such tool, celebrated for its simple yet effective design and its myriad of uses in a wide range of crafts and trades. In this blog, we will explore what an awl is, its various types, and the many practical applications that make it an indispensable tool.

What Is An Awl Used For?

An awl is a small, handheld tool characterized by a sharp, pointed metal or wooden shaft and a handle. This pointed end allows the user to pierce, puncture, or mark materials such as leather, wood, fabric, and even metal. Awls come in various shapes and sizes, and their specific design often aligns with their intended use.

Types Of Awls

  1. Sewing Awl: This awl is commonly used in leatherworking and upholstery. It features a straight or slightly curved needle-like point and is used for puncturing holes in materials like leather, canvas, or heavy fabrics. Sewing awls are ideal for stitching or repairing seams.
  2. Bradawl: A bradawl is employed in woodworking. It typically has a straight, tapered point and is used for creating pilot holes for screws, nails, or dowels. It helps prevent wood from splitting and ensures a secure fit for fasteners.
  3. Harness Awl: Harness awls are larger and sturdier tools used in saddle making and harness work. They feature a heavy, curved point that can easily pierce thick leather to create holes for stitching.
  4. Scratch Awl: A scratch awl is a fine-pointed tool used in carpentry and woodworking. It is employed to mark and scribe lines or designs on wood and other materials, making it useful for precision work.

Practical Applications Of The Awl

  1. Leatherworking: In the realm of leathercraft, awls are essential tools for creating holes for stitching, adding decorative accents, or punching slots for belts and straps.
  2. Upholstery: Awls are used in the upholstery industry to make holes in fabric or leather for tufting or attaching upholstery pieces to furniture frames.
  3. Woodworking: In woodworking, bradawls are invaluable for creating pilot holes for screws, nails, or other fasteners, ensuring a secure fit without splitting the wood.
  4. Sewing: Awls are handy in the sewing world, particularly for thick materials like denim or canvas, as they can pierce through layers with ease.
  5. Crafting: Awls are versatile tools for hobbyists and crafters. They can be used to create holes for jewelry making, paper crafts, bookbinding, and more.
  6. Marking and Scribing: Scratch awls serve as precise marking and scribing tools in woodworking, allowing craftsmen to create accurate reference points and designs on wood.


The awl, with its unassuming appearance, offers a multitude of uses in a variety of crafts and trades. Its ability to pierce and mark materials with precision has made it an enduring and indispensable tool for artisans, woodworkers, leatherworkers, and hobbyists alike. Whether you’re creating intricate leather goods, crafting fine woodwork, or engaging in other DIY projects, the awl is a reliable companion that facilitates precision and creativity.

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What Is The Purpose Of An Awl?

/ɔl/ An awl is a tool with a long, sharp end for making holes in leather or wood. If your uncle is a shoemaker, an awl might be the perfect gift for him. It looks kind of like an ice pick, but an awl is a tool used by shoemakers, carpenters and other craftsmen who need to punch small holes through leather or wood.

What Is The Purpose Of An Awl On A Multi Tool?

A few Leatherman multi-tools include an awl (sometimes called a reamer, or boring tool). It includes a sharp edge and a groove, which turns it into a reasonably efficient drill for working in leather, wood or soft sheet metal. The pictured awl is found on the smaller Leatherman tools.

What Does An Awl Look Like?

The awl itself is just a sharp-pointed object with a pen-like or thick palm handle. Sometimes, the tips will include “an eye” to draw a thread through them. Other times, they are solid metal, used for piercing rather than stitching.

What Is The Difference Between A Drill And An Awl?

An awl is the simplest hole maker, for, like a needle, it simply pushes material to one side without removing it. Drills, gimlets, and augers, however, have cutting edges that detach material to leave a hole.

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