The scratch awl is basically a steel spike with its tip sharpened to a fine point. The tip of the spike is drawn across the timber, leaving a shallow groove. It may also be used to mark a point by pressing the tip into the timber. It is generally used when dimensioning and for laying out with the grain. It may also be used across the grain. However, a marking knife is preferred for this operation.
Scratch awls are traditionally used in leather-crafting to trace patterns onto leather. They are sometimes used in the automotive and sheet metal trades to punch holes and scribe lines in sheet metal.
- Jim Tolpin (18 June 2007). Measure Twice, Cut Once: Simple Steps to Measure, Scale, Draw and Make the Perfect Cut-Every Time. F+W Media. pp. 50–. ISBN 978-1-4403-1760-6.
- Bob Beranek; Ann Schuelke (1 August 2011). The Complete Guide to Auto Glass Installation. AuthorHouse. pp. 52–. ISBN 978-1-4634-4148-7.
- Geoffrey West (18 October 2011). Leatherwork: A Manual of Techniques. Crowood Press, Limited. pp. 38–. ISBN 978-1-84797-348-1.
- John C. Butler (1944). Sheet Metal: Theory and Practice. Wiley.