Step 3: Mark & Drill the Holes for the Needle and the Thread

Now use the eye of the needle to measure and mark the hole through which you will run the thread.  Keep in mind that the thread will hold the needle in place so you want to do the mark for the hole right by the top edge of the eye of the needle.

Then do a mark on the center of the end of the handle where you will insert the needle.

When it comes to drilling the holes, you will have to be both patient and careful.  First, drill the hole for the thread, the one that goes across the handle.  Then, you can insert another needle or a nail of a similar size to guide you when you drill the hole for the needle at the top end of the handle.  If you drill slowly, you will feel when the drill bit hits the nail/needle.  At that time, take out the nail/needle and drill just a little bit more into the handle to accommodate for the tip of the needle above the eye.

Note:  If you have a table top vice, you can hold the handle on it while you drill it.

Now it is time to insert the needle!  This is one of the tricky parts.  Make sure that you insert the needle with the eye facing the hole that you made across the handle.  Remember that later on you will be running the thread through the hole and the eye of the needle.

Note:  When inserting the needle two things can be helpful, (1) a small needle nose pliers to hold and push the needle in the hole and (2) to have a bright light right in front.  The light will help you see if you have cleared the path for the thread or if you have to re-position the needle.
<p>I was thinking of making my own awl for leather working, using basically the same approach. The only difference I was thinking was to simply drill the hole in the face of the handle (not the side), and then use some epoxy to set the needle in, instead of a string. <br>I'm still trying to think of a way to &quot;cap&quot; the awl, so that I can put it in a toolbox without having to worry about pricking myself.</p>
<p>That's a good idea! I just do not use epoxy 'cuz of the smell and my allergies. I use a piece of cork to cap my awl.</p>
I ended up a bit different. I drilled the hole and then used a &quot;washer&quot; shaped magnet. The magnet holds the steel needle in place and if I want I can remove/replace the needle. I also made a cap in the same way; the magnets hold the cap on
This is a great instructable, especially for me as bookbinding awls are very hard to buy here. <br>I have a tip: when threading the thread through the handle and needle, perhaps you can use a beading needle? <br>It is basically a piece of thin wire, doubled over to leave a loop at one end like the eye of a needle - but the difference is, it is flexible, so it can go through a bead. <br>If you can't find a beading needle you could always use a piece of really thin wire. <br> <br>Also, if you have it, upholstery or topstitching thread would be a lot stronger than embroidery thread which is really only for decoration. Sewists are always told never to use embroidery thread for seams because it's not strong enough. Another option might be silk thread which is both strong and pretty. If not, the same waxed linen thread you are probably using for bookbinding would also be better.
<p>waxed dental floss works really well also and its a lot cheaper for way more thread. I've been using it in place of thread to sew everything for 20 years. I rarely ever use regular sewing threads unless I'm using a machine</p>
<p>Nice! Thanks for all of the suggestions.</p>
Thank you! This was a total &quot;duh!&quot; moment. You are so right about the easier way to thread the needle! I have added an <a href="https://www.instructables.com/id/make-your-own-bookbinding-awl/step6/an-easier-way-to-thread/" rel="nofollow">extra step</a> to this instructable with photos showing how to use a needle threader... I do not have a beading needle yet both would do the trick. Also, thanks for the suggestions in regards to the thread choice. I used what I had at home yet will probably use stronger threads for my next awls.
Very good
This is the best DIY Awl I have found yet, I am making books for my family for X-Mas, and my store-bought awl is dull. Thanks for the share.
thank you! have fun making the books and do let me know if you have any questions and/or suggestions to make this instructable more helpful.

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Bio: Pretty much all of my interests focus on applying everything that I learn to create usable crafts... usable things... plus learning from others is quite ... More »
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