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Bruce Johnson 
Leather Tools

Awls, Dividers, Nail Cups, and Tack Pullers

Nail Cups

These are the cast iron carousels used by cobblers and leather workers to sort and store small hardware like tacks, nails, rivets, and other fasteners. The tray turns on a separate base for easy reaching for the piece you need. They are cast iron and will stay in place on your work bench. The most common of these are marked "Star Nail Cup", but there were several other makers of them also.


Dividers/Compasses are used for marking out parallel lines and scribing circles in cutting patterns or for tooling work.

Sewing Awls

Sewing awls are used to stab holes for handsewing. Awl blades are held in place with the metal chuck on the end of the awl haft. Occasionally I get these with blades, but many users have a particular size and maker of awl blades they prefer, so I will generally leave that to the buyer. 

Collar Awls

Just a quick explanation on the collar awls. These have a sharp edge to cut a slit and an eye to pull a lace through. They were originally used to lace horse collars. Saddle makers use them to pull saddle strings for a restringing job or to pull the tag ends of lace to tuck them when they lace saddle jockeys or skirts together. They are also handy for pulling lace ends for stirrup treading too.

Blunt Lacing Awls

These are collar awls that have had the end blunted and cutting edges rounded over, then polished. They are useful for pulling lace ends through a braid without cutting a string. A good handy tool for pulling laces in saddle skirts, seat jockeys, and stirrup tread. I have been doing this on regular collar awls by request for a while. There is no additional charge. I try to keep a couple on hand and ready to go.

Lacing and Buckstitching Awl

These larger diamond awls are used to make the hole for large lacing or buckstitching.

Large Round Awls

Also known as scratch awls. They are useful for laying out patterns and marking work. They are not designed to be struck like a saddler spike.

Tack Pullers

Tack Pullers are used to remove tacks and small nails used in construction or for temporary tacks and nails used to hold pieces together for sewing or fitting.