In Depth Look: The Awl

One of the most stand-out, interesting features of the Billy Waugh DEMO knife is its Awl.  This was one of the must-have features to be included when the knife was first being designed.  Typically, an awl is seen on a multitool, not as part of a knife, but that didn't stop the design team of Robert Young Pelton and Bill Harsey from doing it.  Here is your quick-and-dirty look at what an Awl can be used for and how this one is designed.

What Can an Awl Be Used For?

There are a ton of articles out on the internet that can offer some in depth reviews of each different type.  From leather, to woodworking, to nautical applications, there a ton of different styles out there.  For the DEMO knife, the Awl serves as a general purpose type.  Sharp and pointy enough to punch through leather, scribe something, but thick enough that it won't break on you out in the field.  The most important part of this tool is that is offers a reliable option when you need it the most.  Here are a few uses for an Awl, that DEMO owners may find helpful when carrying their knife with them out in the field:

  • Starting holes; whether it be in leather a piece of wood drywall, or more.  Since a lot of EDC users get tempted to use the tip of their blade for this, having a designated tool for it saves the abuse on your blade.
  • Scoring or marking wood, a tree, you name it.
  • Silencing an enemy (we definitely don't outwardly condone using your Awl strictly for violence, but let's be realistic, this can be used as a self defense feature if needed).
  • Untying or untangling knots.
  • Spearing - like a fish, or similar small game uses.
  • Starting a stitch.
  • Breaking ice; whether it be in a frozen over water trough, or to offer more of a crushed ice option for the backyard BBQ.
  • Leverage in tying; from leather, to wire, to rope, you can wrap the end around to help tighten things.  This is especially handy for fencing jobs or for first aid uses.
  • Poking fuse holes (like in C4 and other more DEMO focused tasks).

Surely, there are a lot more uses that we haven't listed here.  If you have a cool and unique use you have found for your DEMO Awl, feel free to tag us on social media or email us with your ideas.  Or drop a comment on this post.  We will gladly feature them!  

The Main Difference Between an Awl and a MarlinSpike

You will often see it referred to both an Awl and Marlinspike, but for the Awl aficionados, these terms are definitely NOT interchangeable.  Since this is more of a multi use design, we consider it a crossover type of feature.  

The most simple explanation would be that an Awl is typically sharp and more focused toward pokey tasks, while a Marlinspike is on the dull side, and better equipped for things like untying knots and managing rope.  The DEMO's is not super sharp, but not too dull, making it useful in both areas.  Plus, there is nothing stopping you from sharpening yours, if you prefer it to be more on the Awl side of the spectrum.



Why There is an Awl on the Billy Waugh DEMO

When Billy was issued the standard multi-tool offered in 'Nam, he had a Camilus brand that had an awl as one of its tools. 

Because of the potential benefits an Awl or Marlinspike offers in the field, the DEMO having one was a must, based on his feedback.  In true hard use fashion, the Awl on the DEMO needed to be multi purpose and take abuse. 

This one is on its own Bronze washer and conveniently opens out the back of the knife.  It offers a thumbnail groove and minimal, but sturdy design to avoid adding too much weight.


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Whether you fancy a more Awl type feel, or prefer a Marlin Spike, we think the design on the DEMO will live up to its design well.  

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