Awl in a Day's Work

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Toolmaking in a woodshop

By Ken Burton

As much as I like working with high-end hand tools, my budget for them can only stretch so far. That’s why I started making some of my own tools, a passion that has grown over time. While I am still primarily a woodworker, I find making tools to be a nice change of pace and scale from the rigors of furnituremaking. If you’re looking to try your hand at tool making, an awl is a great place to start. Not only is it a useful tool, it doesn’t take a lot of time or materials, and you probably already have the necessary equipment in your shop. The most exotic thing you’ll need to acquire is a length of water-hardening drill rod. As far as equipment goes, you’ll need a grinder, a corded drill, a propane torch, and a lathe. After a little grinding and turning, the next thing you know, you’ll be ready to try out for the History Channel’s Forged in Fire.

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