This is a Tutorial on a how to use a Jerk Needle Awl that I made and have employed for well over a decade upon the trail and in shop. This is the most dependable piece of sewing equipment and has been indispensable over the years in repair / fabrication. This instructable will show you the parts and pieces as well as the process of using this tool to sew leather.
Note: The video demonstrating this technique in real time can be found on step #10. Good Luck.
Step 1: The Tool and Supplies
The Jerk Needle Awl is a two piece construct. (1) The wooden awl handle is a common one that can be picked up at any hobby store. I customize my Awls with sand paper for a better fit. (2) The Needle itself can vary and must unfortunately be special ordered in most cases. Here are some of the names that it can be found by. The needle pictured above is an American Straight Needle. Afix the needle securely to the Awl handle and you're ready to go.
MCKAY NEEDLE #5 #4002HL
Jerk Needle Size 5 1202-05 by Tandy Leather
American Straight Needle
You'll also need some thread, I use waxed thread for all of my gear for its strength and durability.
Waxed Linen Natural Thread 11207-02 by Tandy Leather
Step 2: Measuring Out the Waxed Thread
You'll need to measure out the length of material you plan on stitching before beginning. Take the length that you plan on stitching, multiply by 2 1/2 and cut the waxed thread to this measured length.
Simplified: Cut the waxed thread 2 1/2 times the length of the stitch you will be making.
Step 3: Align the Material to Be Sewn
I'm folding the leather in this instructable and will be sewing it together You can adjoin two or more separate pieces of just about any material as well. You may also want to mark along the line in which you wish the stitches to go in order to keep them straight and even.
Note: I have not marked my stitching line. With practice, keeping a straight line becomes easier without a guide.
Step 4: Begin Your Stitch
The Awl needs to be twisted and pushed through the pieces of material where the stitch is to begin.
Note: You need to be extremely careful not to run the needle through yourself. (My father borrowed this needle and had to have it removed because of this).
Step 5: Hook and Pull
Taking the waxed thread, hook the tread about 3 inches from the end and using the jerk needle, pull it through the material.
Pull the loop of thread out and even up the sides. At this point there should be an equal amount of tread coming out of each side of the material.
Step 6: Stitch Hook and Pull
Pushing and twisting the awl, begin the next stitch where desired. Once through the material, hook the tread from the other side and pull a loop back through.
Step 7: Thread the Loop and Pull
The open ended wax thread needs to be fed through the loop created by pulling the Thread through. Once the tread is through, pull both ends of the string until the "knot" is seated within the two pieces of material.
You should at this point only see a clean stitch on either side of the material. You also need to make sure that you have pulled tightly in order to properly compress the material together.
Step 8: Repeat Steps 6/7 (Continue the Stitch)
Stitch through the material as before twisting and applying constant pressure, hook the wax thread on the opposite side and pull back though. Again, feed the wax thread through the new loop and pulling upon both ends of the wax thread tighten the stitch until the "knot" seated between the pieces of material.
Step 9: Keep Going!
Keep your stitches tight and straight. You've learned a new skill and I hope that this helps a few of those hardcore outdoorsmen and crafters find this useful as I have.
Step 10: Watch This Video to See How It's Done
Not a step, but if a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video ought to be worth at least a thousand
pictures. Click on the video above to see how it's done.
Check out my YouTube Channel to see more Videos like this one: