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Wykoni

Who makes the finest diamond awls

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Looking for a quality steel diamond awl.  Have used some Japanese stuff that’s been pretty good but just wondering who is the market leader for quality 

thanks

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I doubt there is much difference in the awl blades themselves apart from the very low cost ones, But if your inclined to be impressed by a wooden handle, you can spend a small fortune on exotic wood and shape

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I assume you are meaning the blade itself and not the haft?  The blades from Barry King get good reviews.  Douglas used to be noted for quality, but availability is questionable.  

Most any awl blade of decent quality can be made into a workable tool with proper sharpening and polishing.  There are youtube guides from Nigel Armitage and others that show 

techniques for fashioning a good awl.

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For me it's this guy:  jerome.david569@orange.fr

these awls are simply....perfect.it's already coming sharp ready.

 

1j0Qe.jpg

 

jjoNe.jpg

 

mK02P.jpg

one for saddlery one for leather goods making

 

Edited by paloma

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Have you heard of 'The Law of Diminishing Returns' ? Put simply, it means that you can do the basics of a job - like making an awl - quite easily and cheaply, but to get better, and better, and ultimately the best possible results you must spend more and more time, effort and money for progressively  smaller and smaller improvements

Traditionally, if you want an awl, you would buy the blade and haft separately, then mount them and sharpen the blade yourself. This keeps the cost down as you are doing most of the work yourself, but it's a right pain and takes a long time

As far as I can gather, top end makers buy good quality blades from people like John James or Vergez Blanchard, then do that sharpening for you. The blades are fairly cheap, what you're paying for is the time, effort, and skill.

Having made a sharp blade it makes sense to present it nicely. You can buy a haft for <£5; The wood will probably be beech, and the ferrule will be drawn aluminium or brass tube. A top end haft would typically be some sort of exotic hardwood and a machined ferrule, which all adds to the cost. It won't do the job any better, it just looks more impressive

I've had awl blades by John James and Tandy - individual 'proper' blades, not the infamous 4-in-1. I had to mount them, and they took ages to sharpen. A few months ago I bought an Osborne blade, and to be fair, that only needed an hour to sharpen & polish. Knocking it into a haft was fiddly, and I couldn't get it straight, so after a couple of attempts I drilled the haft and set the blade in with epoxy glue. When & if I ever buy another awl I'll probably get an Osborne blade, and a haft with some kind of chuck or clamp

A typical price for an Osborne haft with a chuck is about £12, and a blade is about £9 ( I haven't been able to find prices in $ but they won't be much different) A Vergez Blanchard awl & haft ready mounted is about $24.

A Barry King haft is about $55, and a blade is about $25, so the question you must ask yourself is - am I willing to pay $80 or more for something that might be a slight improvement?

Edited by zuludog

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I like the Osborne No. 145 sewing awl haft. Not jazzy but I like the way it fits my hand and it works for me. I'm on the same page as zuludog; it takes me about an hour to sharpen and polish an Orborne blade to my liking. I paid $24.00 CDN for the haft and $10.00 CDN per for blades. I suspect I could probably get the blades for less if I shopped harder. Leather Wranglers has a little video here showing what a well sharpened and polished Osborne blade can/should do for you.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ARvDZoOZGLs&feature=youtu.be

Regards,

Arturo

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9 hours ago, Tugadude said:

Douglas used to be noted for quality, but availability is questionable.  

As far as I know, Bob is still making tools. His awl blades come sharp and mirror polished.He also makes hafts but I find the size a little large for my preference. 

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2 other picts of Jerome David awls...

NLg5W.jpg

kQRYl.jpg

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Not sure if you mean finest as in thinest, or finest as in best.

However, here's an old picture (On the left.) of the awl I use for the fiddly stuff, anything over a no.10 iron really. It is also my favourite kind of sewing awl (with bigger blades) up to about 6 to the inch.

It's a John James blade in a small Blanchard handle.  I real like the small size, narrow ferrule, flats and bare wood of the Blanchard handles. John James blades are just pretty much standard around here.

I'd use these handles for everything, by really big blades won't fit in them.

 

The posh, handmade, polished, fancy wood handles look beautiful, but don't appeal to me. Unvarnished wood is more comfortable and grippy when using it all day. Also, I was taught to push a sticky needle through with the awl handle, rather that reaching for pliers or wax. Saves a lot of time but you wouldn't want to do that with a $20 handle. (Check the needle marks on these awls.)

58dd136bcf15c_IMG_20170327_12524101.jpg.bffd1a2f66b371e27b575bea7970a419.jpg.b0c760ddf880af16ad973ed956965c86.jpg

 

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I just use a Osborne haft and awl. First I sand off all the lacquer or what ever the coating is. Then put two coats of boiled linseed oil on it. Smooth as a baby's bottom. The awl I kiss it off and polish it. Ready to go. 

Edited by sinpac

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2 hours ago, William Bloke said:

Not sure if you mean finest as in thinest, or finest as in best.

However, here's an old picture (On the left.) of the awl I use for the fiddly stuff, anything over a no.10 iron really. It is also my favourite kind of sewing awl (with bigger blades) up to about 6 to the inch.

It's a John James blade in a small Blanchard handle.  I real like the small size, narrow ferrule, flats and bare wood of the Blanchard handles. John James blades are just pretty much standard around here.

I'd use these handles for everything, by really big blades won't fit in them.

 

The posh, handmade, polished, fancy wood handles look beautiful, but don't appeal to me. Unvarnished wood is more comfortable and grippy when using it all day. Also, I was taught to push a sticky needle through with the awl handle, rather that reaching for pliers or wax. Saves a lot of time but you wouldn't want to do that with a $20 handle. (Check the needle marks on these awls.)

58dd136bcf15c_IMG_20170327_12524101.jpg.bffd1a2f66b371e27b575bea7970a419.jpg.b0c760ddf880af16ad973ed956965c86.jpg

 

Yes that's how i was taught to push the needle through would not want to do that wit nice fancy handle, even if i had one with nice handle just force of habit would make me do it still do it because saves time.

Hope this helps

JCUK

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On 12/27/2019 at 12:19 PM, Wykoni said:

Looking for a quality steel diamond awl.  Have used some Japanese stuff that’s been pretty good but just wondering who is the market leader for quality 

thanks

Hello, I am leather tools maker. We have diamond awl with rosewood, ebony handle.you could visit my Etsy shop: KemovanCraft 

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On 12/27/2019 at 6:13 PM, 480volt said:

As far as I know, Bob is still making tools. His awl blades come sharp and mirror polished.He also makes hafts but I find the size a little large for my preference. 

I've used Douglas blades for a long time & none of the others compare. And yes they come ready to use sharp & polished properly.

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Latest production of Jerome David:

NJGYZ.png

 

8Demp.png

Edited by paloma

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5 hours ago, paloma said:

Latest production of Jerome David:

NJGYZ.png

 

8Demp.png

Impressive and attractive tools.

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On 1/5/2020 at 1:36 PM, SaraSmith said:

Hello, I am leather tools maker. We have diamond awl with rosewood, ebony handle.you could visit my Etsy shop: KemovanCraft 

I went to the Etsy store and there are some awesome photos of tools, but no real listing of what you offer nor pricing.  Not that I could find.  I'd be interested in seeing a list of what you sell along with costs please.

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