When I began teaching bookbinding, I needed to provide my students with proper tools, including a book binder's awl for piercing holes in each section of pages. I couldn't afford to purchase enough for a class, so I decided to make my own. It's ridiculously easy. Basically, I just glue a needle in a cork.
For each awl, you will need: one cork - champaigne corks and corks from cream sherry work especially well, one needle - size 2 crewel needles, one pair of pliers, and tacky glue.
Using the pliers, make the hole in the cork for the needle by pushing the needle in point first. Then take the needle out of the cork, put a bit of glue at the "eye" end of the needle and push that end in the cork, using the pliers.
What was so lovely is that I found these awls to be much, much better than the professional book binder's awl that I purchased!
One more note: I use the size 2 crewel needles to sew the books together, too. By the time I've sewn two or three books, the needle is slightly curved. This is what I want!