This awl was picked up at a hardware store about 30 years ago. I see that they are still available along with the very heavy waxed thread. The exploded picture shows just how simple it is. My favourite type of tool. It has no moving parts to break. The bobbin holds enough thread to sew up almost anything without refilling. I use it to repair boots, broken straps on back packs, torn canvas, repairing leather boots (putting buckles, straps etc back on), tents and whatever need to be repaired that a regular needle won't do.
The awl part lets you push the needle through two thicknesses of 1/4 inch leather if you need to. The triangular needle is heavy duty and cuts through leather easily without hurting your hand.
It's another tool that has been around forever and has withstood the test of time! It's worth looking for one.
A stitching awl is a simple tool with which holes can be punctured in a variety of materials, or existing holes can be enlarged. It is also used for sewing heavy materials, such as leather or canvas. It is a thin, tapered metal shaft, coming to a sharp point, either straight or slightly bent. These shafts are often in the form of interchangeable needles. They usually have an eye piercing in it at the pointed end (as opposed to normal sewing needles) to aid in drawing thread through holes for the purpose of manual lockstitch sewing, in which case it is also called a sewing awl. Stitching awls are frequently used bycobblers (shoemakers) and other leatherworkers. Sewing awls are useful for making lock stitches. The needle, with the thread in the eye is pushed through the material. The thread is then pulled through the eye to extend it. As the needle is pushed through the material,the extra thread from the first stitch is then threaded through the loops of successive stitches creating a lock stitch. The action is likened to that of a "miniature sewing machine". Styles may vary, as they are adapted to specific trades, such as making shoes or saddles. They are also used in the printing trades to aid in setting movable type and inbookbinding.
Shoemakers consider sewing awls to mean for sewing leather, i.e. what archaeologists call "edge-flesh stitching"; while stitching awls are meant for stabbing through leather.
The English disparaging term “cobblers,” usually meaning “nonsense,” is Cockney rhyming slang for “balls” from the phrase “cobblers’ awls.” For shoemakers, "Cobblers" are people who repair shoes, not those who make shoes. This differentiation is ancient in the English language.
When he was an infant, Louis Braille gouged his eye with an awl by accident. The one eye was destroyed instantly, and the resulting infection claimed the other eye, making him blind by the time he was four. The accident spurred Braille to the invention of the famous Braille alphabet. Ironically Braille created the raised-dot system by using an awl.