Very early bolstered straight awl, top view

Very early bolstered straight awl, top view

Top view of early bolstered awl. The spear point end (pointing to the left) pierces the leather, the other end is also tapered and pointed but thats so it can be fitted and driven securely into a handle ...This is a very early 18th or late 17th century awl, thats over 300 years old. Its most likely Spanish in origin, and was the stock in trade for leather working, and a very common trade item and staple for the colonists in the new world . The basic bolstered awl was made with a bolster so it would not split the handle during use, as could happen with out the stopping action of the bolster against the end of the handle...with no integral bolster, the handle itself will need an iron or brass ferrule to accomplish the same thing. I have always heard it said steel was so precious that knives and other items made from it, especially commercially, was conserved in every way possible. Leading to tapered half tang knives etc....why then is extra steel apparently used to create a bolster incorporated in these early awl blades? Tradition? Ease of use or re-handling? Ease of forging the awl itself? Its worth noting that fine european or english wood working tools like wood chisels of the same era were usually bolstered as well, exactly as the awl is. The bolstered awl was replaced by the simple "awl blade" that did indeed require a ferruled handle.