Setting a harness awl blade into a handle

Written on 19 Apr 2017

Guide to setting a harness awl blade

Harness awl and leatherwork stitching tools

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Harness awl blade
  • Harness awl haft (handle)
  • 2 x coins
  • Hammer or mallet
  • Vice






Harness awl blade locked in vice ready for fitting to haft.

harness awl handle being tapped onto blade


1a. Place the harness awl blade into the jaws of the vice with the darker end pointing upwards.

1b. At the same time, sandwich the blade between two coins and tighten the vice securely.

2. Place the haft onto the top of the blade and tap gently with a hammer.

3. Remove the harness awl from the vice. Ensure the blade is straight.

4. Sharpen and polish the awl blade before use.

Leave no less than 22mm (7/8″) of blade protruding from the handle.

Never use a blunt harness awl. Learn to sharpen the blade so that it glides through the leather effortlessly.

Get into the habit of checking that your harness awl is sharp before stitching… every time!

Keep your strop to hand so that you can polish the awl blade from time to time.

For help with sharpening your harness awl and other leatherwork tools, click here.


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