Introduction: Butterfly Icepick (awl)

You may not know it yet but, if you don’t have an icepick in your shop, you need one. You’ll be amazed at how useful they are, so what are you waiting for!?

This is a straightforward build with fairly easy to find materials, but you will need some basic metal working tools. Although many steps could be modified with some ingenuity (The links are specifically to what I used in the video, but use what you have on hand)



  • ~13 links of motorcycle chain (I used one from a Kawasaki Ninja 250)
    • NOTE: Several viewers have successfully used bike chains
  • 1 screwdriver (Mine was a #1 Phillips)
  • 1 3/8” shackle bolt (or appropriate size for the chain you have)

Step 1: Prepare the Ice Pick

In this step we will be transforming an old screwdriver into the blade of our icepick. If you happen to already have an icepick you can just use that instead (but this is way more fun)

  1. Remove the handle from the screwdriver (or ice pick). This step may vary depending on the screwdriver you choose to use. In this case the screwdriver had a plastic handle that was cut down with the bandsaw and pried free with pliers.
  2. Mount your now handle free screwdriver in your power drill just like you would a drill bit. (If you want to keep the driver end of the rod to add functionality to the end product as pictured then that end into the drill).
  3. Use the drill to spin the rod while you use the grinder (or file) to shape the point of the pick. This will ensure that the point is concentric.

Step 2: Prepare the Chain

Next we will need to prepare our chain, we will be tack welding the links together to form the handles and leaving the center pivot link free to move.

  1. Use the icepick to measure out how much chain you will need to form the handle by folding the chain around the rod.
  2. Press the chain together around the rod so that the two sides of the handle touch. This will make the two sides of the handle look off center, don’t worry, that’s how it should look.
  3. Cut the chain to length and remove the remains of the link that you cut in half by filing down the ends of the pin for that link and pushing it out with a punch.
  4. Use a rod to of the same diameter of the pick to hold the handle in the finished position and tack weld the links together forming the handle, making sure to leave the pivot link unwelded.
    • NOTE: If you don’t have a similarly sized rod you can use the pick itself and just clean it up afterwards.
  5. If your chain has o-rings they will probably have caught fire by now, so you can just use a torch to burn out the rest of them and pick out the remains

Step 3: Final Fabrication and Assembly

Almost done all we need to do now is weld the pick to the handle, perform our fit and finish, and add the shackle bolt closure.

  1. Weld the icepick into place. If you chose to keep the driver tip on the rod place it so that it extends out of the top top of the handle(when it is closed).
  2. Next use a file or a rotary tool to clean up the welds and round over any sharp edges.
  3. Blue the chain by heating the metal evenly with a torch until the desired color is achieved, and quench it with water. This step is simply to get a uniform color. The welding and grinding left a lot of exposed steel. If this seems a bit risky you can also use a chemical bluing agent
    • NOTE: Be sure not to overheat the actual ice pick and remove the temper
  4. Install the shackle bolt to the bottom of the handle to act as a catch to hold the pick open/closed. Simply run the bolt through the eye of one of the bottom links.
  5. Finally, start using your new ice pick in your shop. Enjoy!
Build a Tool Contest 2017

Participated in the
Build a Tool Contest 2017