Here are four scratch awls
done in different styles.
You could make
any style you like.
The materials for the
shafts comes from worthless screwdrivers.
I smash the wood and plastic handles
with a hammer to remove them. Many old screwdrivers
have wings forged at the butt end. These ensure that
the shaft won't turn and try to come out of the
handle. Wood handles screwdrivers usually
have a ferrule which can be installed on a new tool.
These can be quite attractive. If there are wings
on 2 sides of the butt end, you will need to grind
one off so the butt end can chuck into a drill.
A steel ferrule came on a wooden
screwdriver, I ground off one of the wings on each
of these shafts so it can be chucked into a drill.
The shaft is spun against a spinning grinding wheel
to form the delicate point on the working end. Look
back at the picture showing the finished tools and
see how the shafts come to a point.
This will show how I
hold the drill and the shaft to taper it. Move the
shaft forward and back while it (and the grinding
wheel) is spinning, and the wheel will grind a very
It is very difficult to get a decent
picture of the grinding process. I just keep the
tool spinning at top speed in the drill motor while
moving it in and out across the top of grinding
wheel. When I get a shape I like, I am finished. The next step is to go to several
different grits of sandpaper to polish out the
Finally, you make a handle that you
like. I make a lot of these to give to my various
clubs where they include one in the raffles they
have. I also give away a few at Galootaclaus time.
At a recent meeting of my
woodturners club, the most skilled of all our pro
turners won one of my scratch awls. He came to me
after the meeting and just raved about the tool. He
has more turning talent than I will ever have, but
he liked something I made. That feels good.