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What is a bradawl?

What is a Bradawl?

A bradawl is a hand tool.

 A bradawl is a tool used in woodworking to create pilot holes for screws and nails.

What is a pilot hole?

Bradawls are used to make a pilot hole.

A pilot hole is a smaller hole created before the required size hole is drilled, or to allow a screw to be driven in without the need for pre-drilling.


Pilot holes are beneficial because they:


Prevent Splintering and Splitting


Improve the Accuracy of the Hole Location and Execution


Make it easier to Drill a Hole, or put in a Screw or Nail, than trying to do it on an Unmarked Hard Surface

How to use a bradawl to make a pilot hole.

A bradawl is a hand tool, slightly resembling a screwdriver, but is much smaller. It consists of a handle, shank and chisel-shaped point.

Comparing a bradawl with a screwdriver.

Although, technically, the tip of a bradawl is shaped like a chisel, there are two other shapes of tip which can be considered bradawls: tapered round and tapered square.

Chisel point on a bradawl against tapered square point and chisel point.

These are, respectively, round point awls and birdcage awls. The word ‘bradawl’ can therefore be used generically to describe all woodworking awls.


For more information on these types of bradawl tip, see What are the parts of a bradawl?

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