Chester Toolworks Birdcage Awl
I recently purchased a snakewood “birdcage” awl from Chester Toolworks in New Hampshire.
The awl is beautifully made. The craftsmanship, finish and shape are all excellent! I love the short, fat length with the large rounded end on the handle. It makes the tool very easy to use because you can put your weight behind it with the palm of your hand. I’ve seen other birdcage awls that look like regular awls with a squared-off tip. These would work fine, but the Chester awl was obviously designed from the ground-up to be a birdcage, and it shows in how easy it is to use. Excellent product and recommended!
The birdcage awl is an under-appreciated tool. I end up using it for a variety of non-glamorous tasks from starting screw holes to sweeping the saw dust out of the slots left by my biscuit cutter. It is not as refined a tool as a standard awl or a marking knife, but I find myself using it just as much. I’ve not tried the Chester Toolworks standard awls or marking knives, but based on the birdcage they are likely very good. I also really like the Blue Spruce Toolworks products (marking knives and awls) that I have reviewed before in the blog, although I think the Chester birdcage design is more intuitive.
It may seem like I only give very positive reviews on this blog, and to some degree that is correct. If a tool is only average, I don’t bother to write about it. So, if I post it here it is either a very good tool or very bad tool.