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.

About mattsanf

Matt Sanfilippo is the Chief Partnership Officer (CPO) for the College of Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) and Co-Director of its Engineering Research Accelerator. In this role, Matt coordinates and enables strategic and sponsored research opportunities across the college, and stewards the development of proposals for major research opportunities along strategic themes. Additionally, he enables collaboration among the college's research institute/center executive directors, and industrial and government relations personnel in the pursuit of opportunities with industry, federal and state governments. Before becoming CPO for the College, Matt was the Senior Executive Director for Research Initiatives, the Executive Director of CMU's SII (Smart Infrastructure Institute) and ICES (Institute for Complex Engineered Systems), and Associate Director of PITA (Pennsylvania Infrastructure Technology Alliance) and RAMP (Research for Advanced Manufacturing in Pennsylvania). Before CMU, Matt was Managing Director of Applied Technology for Michael Baker Corporation, an engineering and energy services firm. Matt managed Baker's technology division including Geographic Information System (GIS), software and web development, multimedia, virtual reality, visualization, Global Positioning System (GPS), mapping and surveying services. Before joining Baker, Matt was an Innovation Director for Redleaf Group, a Venture Capital/Operating Company focused on information security, supply chain and mobility solutions. While at Redleaf, Matt managed technical due diligence for seed-stage investments and coordinated relationships between Redleaf and their partner companies. Prior to Redleaf, Matt was CIO of GZA GeoEnvironmental Technologies, an infrastructure engineering firm, and operations manager for their Internet start-up that focused on web-technologies for health and safety and manufacturing metrics. Matt is on the board of Larson Design Group (LDG), past Chairman of the Board for the Pittsburgh Botanic Garden, current board member of the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation (PHLF), current Vice President of the Sewickley Heights Gun Club (SHGC) and former member of the Information Sciences and Technology Advisory Board for the Pennsylvania State University Beaver. Matt is also former Vice President of the Pittsburgh Chapter of the Association of Internet Professionals and former Vice President of the Board of Trustees for Baker Combined Charity of Pennsylvania.

Posted on October 30, 2006, in Tools and Shop. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Chester Toolworks Birdcage Awl.

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