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Make your own bookbinding awl

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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.
 
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