I have this old awl that I need to put the finest point possible on for a project but I've never sharpened anything pointed before. I have a whetstone set and a file for knives and garden tools but the stone is way too fine grit and the file seems to just flatten the thing further. 

Advice, gentlemen?

Tags: sharpening, skills, tools

Views: 654

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

you need to turn it as you sharpen. I find with rounded/pointed tools, sometimes it's easier to move the stone/file in a rocking motion (held in right hand, on top of the tool tip, held in left), rather than trying the way you would with a knife. 

Hey man. I found this for you.  I hope it helps.

http://www.howtohistory.com/2010/05/how-to-sharpen-a-leather-awl/

What sort of awl is it?  There are a number of different types, going from the very plain scratch awl (more or less conical  point), to chisel-point brad awl (for starting nails), to fancier leatherworking tools, and so on.

For the conical ones, e.g. the scratch awl or marking awl, some leatherworking awls, you can keep the stone fixed, or use a belt-sander or grinding wheel, but the important thing is to orient the long axis of the awl at 90-degrees to your sharpening motion, and to turn the awl as you sharpen.  If you do this with even pressure, you won't create facets.  Another technique, I believe already suggested, is to fix the awl in a vise (or your hand, though I prefer using a vise), and move the stone in a curved motion.  I've always had better luck with fixing the stone and turning the awl.

For a chisel point brad awl, you want the flattened facets - it should look like a double-bevel chisel.  The purpose of that awl is to sit down precisely, and then be twisted in the wood to make an indentation in which to start brads.  You sharpen that just like a carving chisel, with the bevels more or less symmetric and meeting in the middle.

Leather tools can be more individual, and I'm afraid I don't have a lot of experience with any of them other than the simple, conical pointed awl.

I use a fine wet stone to deburr my awls then I use a rouge machine to polish them sharp.  This will help it make smoother, cleaners holes too. 

Owls need sharpening?
Their beaks already look pretty sharp to me.

Thanks everyone! I finally got it done, though there is a learning curve. Dino, it's a straight awl for starting nails. In the end I just held it against a file and turned, then switched to a whetstone for finishing touches.

Have you ever looked into using a bradawl to start nails?  If you use it right, it prevents splitting. 

Here's a link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bradawl

Looks like a great idea though I'm not going to be using this particular one for nails.

I was taught to turn the nail around and give it a light tap to put a dent in the timber then turn the nail around the right way then nail home , should stop the wood from splitting .
What are you useing your awl for ?

That sort of makes it behave like a brad awl.  The idea is to cut the wood fibers with the awl (or with the facets at the point of the nail, as you've described), so you're not just wedging them apart with the nail (which causes splitting). 

Punching pilot holes in vellum. I'm sewing together a handwritten parchment scroll.

Very cool!

RSS

Latest Activity

Leto Atreides II replied to Chu Kim's discussion You Are All Figments of My Imagination
"Not "other people". "ALL other people". ALL who have EVER lived. Not one single exception. 108,000,000,000 people have lived. ZER0 have not died. Subtract the 7,000,000,000 currently alive if you like. 101,000,000,000 to 0. If…"
1 hour ago
Tarquin Anstruther replied to Josh Allen's discussion My Fathers Bodybuilding Progress Leading Towards The 2014 Championships.
"Well it takes all kinds to make a world and I have to say from where I'm standing the whole idea of turning your body into this is very alien"
2 hours ago
Cthulhu's Revenge replied to Josh Allen's discussion My Fathers Bodybuilding Progress Leading Towards The 2014 Championships.
"The NPA? I have a good friend who was competing.. I'm not sure if there's separate categories though"
2 hours ago
Chu Kim replied to Chu Kim's discussion Your Vision of Paradise
"It does, but reality happens every second of every day. Why assume that perfection is not possible? You have that idea in your mind but you do not question it. You have only one life to live, why can't it be in paradise? If not now, then make…"
3 hours ago
Upside down bloke posted a discussion

Nature of relationships

Hi all,Have been thinking of relationships recently and as I didn't grow up with happily married parents I didn't have a good role model to understand what they are about.But a theory I have is that a relationship is not so much about the person you are together with, it's more about having a commitment to the relationship itself.  So it doesn't matter so much whether your wife annoys you or pleases you, whatever happens you are committed to the idea of being togeher and forming this…See More
3 hours ago
Chu Kim replied to Chu Kim's discussion Your Vision of Paradise
"I see some readers would like a shorter version. Okay, to summarize, basically if you could create your own paradise, what would it be like? And, do you genuinely think you know yourself well enough to know what that paradise really would…"
3 hours ago
Chu Kim replied to Chu Kim's discussion You Are All Figments of My Imagination
"Your argument collapses if I never die though right? And since, I have never before been dead, why should I assume that I will? Just because other people have? I am my own individual, all that is, exist because I have perceived it to…"
3 hours ago
Chu Kim replied to Chu Kim's discussion You Are All Figments of My Imagination
"Thank you sir. I do strive to be original. Frankly, many of the posts I have read seem rather mundane and petty, some of them. I think it is important to question one's sense of reality, as it can lead to greater insight into what this all…"
3 hours ago

© 2014   Created by Brett McKay.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service