I came real close…real close…to just going ahead and using the little carving mallet I made in the end I decided to take it to the bitter end and finish it proper-like.
This is how I did it. After hand sanding the handle with 100, 150 and 220 grit to get rid of the obvious chatter marks from the chisel I used as a spokeshave (need to build/buy one of those bad boys), I pulled out the belt sander of justice and went to town with an 80 grit belt.
Then, and only then, was I finally satisfied with the shape of the handle. It still feels great in my hand, but it looks better now too, with a pleasing curve that isn’t choppy.
Once everything was as smooth as I wanted it (I didn’t want the thing to go flying out of my grip) I decided to use some paste wax and polish it up. That made a big difference in the coloration of the cherry. It went for a very pasty, dull, light pink, to a deep almost orange color.
After two coats of paste wax and buffing, I am happy with how this little project turned out. It’s got a nice shape, a pleasant feel int eh hand, and the wax gives it a slightly tacky, yet smooth surface for me to grip. Really looking forward to trying this mallet out on the leg vise carving coming up.
All in all, not bad for $7 and a few hours work!
FYI the gnomon is 6 inches in length.
And here’s a family portrait:
Left to right, the crappy little plane iron adjustment hammer I made (which is oddly shaped and too light…) the new carving mallet, and Kroktskaft.
-- Steve http://vaughtwoodworks.wordpress.com