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After roughly shaping the awl’s handle (read the first part of the story here) on the bandsaw, I clamped it inside my Pattern Maker’s Carving Vise and began shaping the neck. This vise is the perfect tool for holding tapered shapes and any blank with unusual facets. If you don’t have a dedicated vise, you can drop two padded axillary jaws inside a regular vise or clamp the handle blank in a hand-screw clamp.

I used a file and carefully reshaped the square neck into a cylinder. I used the brass ferrule to probe my progress and aimed toward a snug fit that could only be achieved with the help of a mallet. 

If you have a file with a Safe edge (smooth edge), you can rest that edge on the neck’s shoulder and work around to form the cylinder. The Safe-edge will prevent any digging into the crisp shoulders formed by the table saw.

After I finished forming the neck, I began shaping the octagonal facets. I used both files and a spokeshave to chamfer the corners. Then I sanded the handle and installed the ferrule.

When done, I placed the blade tip down on a wood block and inserted the awl’s shank into the hole with a few mallet blows. I did not use adhesive on the shank. If you build a handle and the awl’s blade feels loose in the hole, apply some epoxy or polyurethane glue on the shank and then drive it in. The fit you should look for is tight and snug, preventing the blade from swiveling in the hole. 

Lastly, I applied a coat of wipe-on varnish on the handle and ferrule and called it a day. 

To wrap up this story, I wanted to show what to do if you buy an awl’s blade that doesn’t come with a ferrule. The solution is quite simple, just get a brass or a copper tube, fitting, or pipe and use a plumber’s tubing cutter (or use a hacksaw) and make your custom-made ferrule. 

Those Japanese awl blades can be used as scoring tools or fitted into custom-made wooden handle.

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