Fine old saddlers awls

Fine old saddlers awls

Here at last are more awl pictures....notice that these awls have no bolster, and that the handle itself is reinforced with a brass ferrule.
The blades are more spear pointed, especially on my favorite awl, thats the one on the left. That awl has a horn handle, and the blade is actually set with cutlers pitch...its an oldie, the ferrule is a rolled and brazed piece of sheet brass....a small pin holds the ferrule on.

The other awls have wooden handles, and bear the marks of being used to push stubborned needles...they have less of a spear point, especially the middle one thats nearly "worn out" , but are slightly "widest" just past their spear tips....this is very important for consistent stitch holes...some harness type awls just keep getting wider and wider the farther down the shank you go. That means the harder you push, the wider your stitch hole gets...not a good deal for fine stitching. Spear point awls simply pierce, or more accurately they actually "slit" a hole the exact width of the spear point and no wider ....over and over. These 3 awls are all pretty good, and have a bit of variety to their widths, and they all get sharper and sharper the more I use them...I think they are all pretty old, mid to late 19th century for sure, and the horn handled one maybe older. The shanks are pretty fine and almost delicate, so they could snap either at the handle or at the tip if abused. I have never found a handle on this type of awl with the blade snaped off at the ferrule like you see on so many harness or peg awls....lucky I guess? Or maybe these were for more professional less rough work. (But then why were they "unprofessionally" using the awl as a thimble, thats a good way to bust the eye of a needle not to mention messing up the awl handle.) These awls sure fit the hand well, and are very comfortable to use. If you ever see any like them at a sale etc... I would not hesitate to grab them up, and were I to make up an awl from scratch, I would definately use this pattern.
Tim