It’s 2018 and We are Awl Full…

Drivel Starved Nation!

I just finished my 2018 work retreat and it was a weird one. More on that later.

I do not remember the last time we made awls, but I bet it was almost 20 years ago. Knowing that, I am suggesting these will be the last awls we produce while I am still alive. Now that I think of it, this is a great marketing gimmick: “John’s Not Dead Yet, Buy These Awls!”. You like Yes/No?

Before I share what I think we are going to do, I want to clarify my last post where I announced to the world that Bridge City is opening a woodworking school with free enrollment. This part is true. The students however will be kids, mainly my two grandsons, neighbor kids and their friends. So, I apologize that 99.9% of the Drivel Starved Nation is age inappropriate.

Awls, scratch awls, or sharp pointy things, are incredibly useful in the shop and the home. From starting screws to fixing the leather webbing on a baseball glove, these tools are magnificent extensions of our fingers.

Here is a pic of three awls, they are identical in size to the SA-1 thru 3 awls produced in years past but are capped in aluminum.

Scratch Awls 700

So here is the fun part where you get to help change the world of tool making. The next three images show color choices. Let me know what you like and maybe we can make your color available.

SA-1v2 Awls:
SA1v2 Group Shot 7 Colors 700

SA-2v2 Awls:
SA2v2 Group 7 Colors 700

SA-3v2 Bent Tip Awls:
SA3v2 Group 7 Colors 700

We accidentally invented the bent tip awl when a batch of awl points were hardened incorrectly and the tips bent on first use. A wise customer suggested that they work better in confined spaces and he was correct. It is a fantastic deviation and common sense to dentists around the world.

The available colors are Champagne, Black, Red, Blue, Green, Purple and Orange. Let me know your thoughts, the pre-order window will open next week.

IMPORTANT NOTE FOR INTERNET TROLLS: You do not need to purchase awls! Pound a nail in a dowel and write me another nasty email. Or follow this free tip: the last bone of your index finger is called the distal phalanx. Ask your doctor to remove everything around it down to the the interphalangeal joint and wait for that to heal. You can then file the bone to a point, no need to buy a nail! (Did the Bad John just write that on his first day back from his work retreat? I think he did.)

Lastly, I spent some time on this work retreat designing a new clamping system for the Jointmaker Pro which I will share in my next post.


11 comments on this post:

  1. So… it’s an biological age range for the school not what age we act?

    Looking forward to the new clamping system as clamping is “king” with the JMP.

    My vote for colors is champagne and black.

    Can I write the nasty email without pounding a nail in a dowel? kind of busy and hate to waste a dowel.

  2. John,
    I’m partial to the gold and black (maybe they look “the richest”) but the rest are tied for a close second.

    Is one side going to be flattened so it doesn’t dance across the workbench?

    Was a threaded screw starter (derivative of the awl’s design) ever a consideration?



  3. My vote from purely an appearance perspective would be for black anodizing, or even better black chrome – similar to MG-5 and CT-16 color scheme.

  4. I have, and in my opinion, it is one of those tools that is hard to justify in light of the fact that the battery powered drill is ubiquitous.

  5. I have considered birdcage style awls and gimlets. Since every shop has a battery powered drill, I don’t see the relevancy of these style tools in today’s shop. I could be wrong…


  6. I drew one with a flat and boy, it sure wrecks the beauty of the handle. I get the functionality, but in this case, I sacrificed it for the looks.


  7. Welcome back to civilization, now that you’re back, any more clearance stuff or eBay show trunk loot?

    Flats can be practical, but on an awl with the thin point and the larger handle they tend to roll in a short arc rather than off the bench onto the floor like chisels do.

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