An awl is a tool with a long, sharp end for making holes in leather or wood. If your uncle is a shoemaker, an awl might be the perfect gift for him.
It looks kind of like an ice pick, but an awl is a tool used by shoemakers, carpenters and other craftsmen who need to punch small holes through leather or wood. If your shoes were made by hand, chances are all those little holes where the laces go through were made with the use of an awl.
a pointed tool for marking surfaces or for punching small holes