Hand Tools Archive

Re: scratch awl from scratch

Pat Riley
In the top right of the photo there are 5 that I just bought, and one that is cut in half.

They are basically just 6" brass pipes with threaded ends. The threaded ends get thrown out. It is a bit of a loss, but the fact that I can get these at the big box store any time I need makes it worth it.

Cutting off ferrule blanks and squaring the ends can be tricky. One of these days I am going to get a nice little jeweler's lathe for that. I usually cut them rough with a hack saw, then make a little stub of a jam chuck to slide them on to so I can square the end with a file on the lathe. Sometimes I do some rough shaping at this point as well.

It works best if you square both ends and get it to the right length before adding it to your project. I have thrown out a lot of nicely turned handles because the ferrule was in too rough of shape when I tried to incorporate it.

The best lesson I have learned using this method is that brass pipe is not very concentric when they extrude it. This make the wall thickness quite variable. Sometimes as much as .020 thicker on one side. That is why I true the ferrules up first before I slide them on a handle. (if the transition is meant to be seamless. A giant step on one side can really ruin your day)

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