When hand-sewing, I stick my awl through the leather, using a block of bee's wax as a backing. In hot weather, the wax gets soft and makes it difficult to push against and maintain leather alignment. This morning, I had an epiphany. I cut an old soft-wood dowel, wrapped copper wire around the end to keep it from splintering, covered the end with bee's wax, and made a new solid backing block to push my awl against. It works so much better than bee's wax alone, I doubt I'll ever go back to the old way again.