"Singing Mallets" --by RusticWoodArt

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Blog entry by frank posted 04-25-2007 12:48 PM 1019 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Singing Mallets

....and so tis in this the moment of my arising,
that the spewing forth of motley coloratura comes weaving heavens rhyme,
where i am justified a vision quest of inseeing sensationalizing,
that comes to me bearing up beyond my scope of cosmic time

And so I thought that today I would post a couple of photos of some of the mallets that I have made. These are some that I now use and they, like the ones before them, will in likewise manner be retired with new ones to yet take their place.

Wooden mallets are useful tools, designed to art-fully engage and come into contact at the point of oneness with a wooden handle, found at the head of soft impact. Chisel handle heads and gouges are likewise designed and constructed to receive this impingement and in so doing, they will in likewise manner convey the message to the wood of ‘time to part’. What the handle of the chisel receives, the same is now given forth to the tip, as a message of time to move some wood and in this manner a curl is soon established along the grain of wood.

I make all my mallets, with exception to a few that I have bought ( .50-$1.00) at yard sales or those that I have found by rooting around in old barns. My reasoning and rule of thumb in this is what one ‘old timer’ taught me years ago….”all is yours, take what you will….only use what you take!” For more on this series you might want to read my writings about the one I came to know as the ‘old timer’. I have made ‘commanders’ which are used for setting timber beams in place, down to the smaller mallets which I use for cutting tenons, mortises, rabbits, tung-in-groove, sculpturing and all others etc…..

Working in the woods has taught me that there is an abundance of all, that just waits, for the one who can see beyond or below surface level into the understanding of ‘just is’. When a mallet wears out at the shop, then another ‘just is’ awaiting me in my woodpile and just as soon as that other mallet or pry bar wears out in the forest of woods….there awaits an-other for me also as ‘just is’. This ‘just is’, is a condition of the wood for the mallet that at times, will mean that I will even leave the bark on or at other times I will strip the bark and even shed some of the wood to convey a more ues-full shape. Whether the wood is green or dry makes no difference to me, except that I will mention that green wood in my estimation will out last dry wood for being functional as a mallet. I do have one mallet made out of apple wood that has been with me now for close to fifteen years and although this one has lost a chunk of wood, it is still very useable.

Just as the mallet is a beast of burden, so also the mallet is a harbinger of life to the object of ‘wood art’ that is waiting to come forth. As I as saying about the make-up and shape, well some have the bark on, some the bark is off, some I will shape for my hand by using timber slick or timber firmer socket chisel and some of the tenons I will make by hand or others by router. I like old oak and pine purlins from old barns for making mallets to be used with froes and then for chisels and gouges I will use oak, maple, ash, apple and etc….

Whenever I think of mallets, I am reminded of a line by William Shakespeare; and The Life of King Henry the Fifth: ”....singing masons building roofs of gold,”....

—-the first two on the left are two that I use with my froe. First one is green and straight off the woodpile and the second from the left is one I made out of joist material.
—-next is one I just recently made out of green oak from the woodpile and carved out using a timber firmer socket chisel.
—-the fourth one from the left is oak, oak head is from an old purlin and the handle is from an oak treenail I had left over.
—-next one is maple head and ash handle, both were made using green wood.
—-and the last one is green ash made with the help of a router and jig….

Thank you.

-- --frank, NH,

5 comments so far

View photonic's profile


17 posts in 4094 days

#1 posted 04-25-2007 03:51 PM

I just want to say that a greatly enjoy your posts. You remind me that wood is a living material that we shape but it also shapes us. I really appreciate you and the work you do.

I also feel better about using a scrap piece of basswood as a mallet. I found it in my shop and it just said “mallet” to me.

-- Geoff Webb, Spokane WA

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4188 days

#2 posted 04-25-2007 04:40 PM

it called; you heard; you answered.
I bet they all feel really good in the hand

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 4274 days

#3 posted 04-25-2007 05:59 PM

Great poetry Frank, I too make my own mallets. They are irreplaceable, and you’re right you can’t get the feel of the chisel on wood with a steel hammer. Besides the hammer will wreck the chisel. Good job, mike

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View PanamaJack's profile


4483 posts in 4105 days

#4 posted 04-25-2007 07:08 PM

Frank (a.k.a. – Shakespeare), you are one, alright-woodworker. Thank you for all of your postings. The world need more like you. (LumberJocks would not be the same without you.) Nice mallets Frank.

-- Carpe Lignum; Tornare Lignum (Seize the wood, to Turn the wood)

View Karson's profile


35125 posts in 4428 days

#5 posted 04-26-2007 03:29 AM

Great story frank. And great mallets. I keep wanting to make one for my use with chisels. I guess that I just start and if it’s not right then make another.

It’s never wrong, it just the not the right one for the purpose at hand.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

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