Dead blow mallet (finally made me one - laugh) blog.

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Blog entry by mafe posted 02-03-2015 10:32 PM 3553 reads 14 times favorited 28 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Dead blow mallet
finally made me one!

I remember years back when I started out on this wood journey, I saw a picture of a DIY dead blow mallet and was really fascinated, bought a small pack of lead beads and put it on my once to do list… Years later now I found that pack of lead beads and decided I had to finally make it, not because I needed one, but because it was a dream back then and it made me kind of travel down memory lane to make it into reality.

Once I looked into it again I realized it looked like a lot of people had misunderstood that idea, they made the hollow inside and filled it completely with weight, in this way they get a heavy mallet, but not a dead blow mallet.

At least I can see and feel that it is working the way I made it now.

So lets get into it, a project I am sure many of you have seen before, I have tried to make a really easy to follow blog, so it will be easy to make one for all. ;-)

Recycle when possible, here some wonderful ash floorboard cut offs from my shop floor.
I think that’s wonderful to be able to get a piece of the shop floor to become a useful tool.
Just cut then to a size you like for the head, I did not measure, just what made me happy.
Make three pieces, the two for the head same width and one in same thickness for the handle.

Then cut two holes through, just try to hit the middle.

Now the fence was set a little off, just a few degrees and it was cut in two.

Like this, could be a little less, but it’s fine.

So when you turn then, you have a V.

Now I ripped some wood, again no measure needed.

So here you see the idea, like a sandwich.
Also you see the pack of leads that have been in a drawer in the shop for only God knows how long.

Now the shoulders of the handle can be marked, just make it stick out the top a little.

Then cut off the sides for shoulders and make to straight cuts down the middle.
(Not like mine – the drunken sailor – not that it matters as long as you let the saw follow the grain).

Now I could glue the sides to the base in the width of the shoulders and fill up the holes app half with lead beads.

Then glue on top…

Clamp it together and sit down to wait for the glue to dry.
You are at this point allowed to go and grab a beer, play with your friends, kids or wife…

Or go and shape the handle.
Just the way you like it.

Make some wedges.
I like matching wood here, but contrasting can be sexy also.

A few beers later.

Cut it clean.

Glue on the shoulders (not your own) and also inside the head (not your own)...

Stick the handle in the head in the small hole.
Apply glue to wedges.

Bang them deep into the wood, until it is all closed up.

Break them off.

Saw and shave.
Round the edges a little or shape it even if you like.

To make it useful also for really delicate tasks, I added a leather pad to the one side.
Contact adhesive gives you 15 – 20 minutes for another beer…

And that’s it!
We got a dead blow mallet.

Dead simple, clean look.

Now lift it up.

And put it with the rest of your mallets.
From left to right: dead blow, classic Scandinavian, my own turning from a piece of firewood from my friend Michael, Korean in the back gift from my sister, plywood from my friend Jim in US and finally a old French mallet I brought home from Paris (the one from Madts is hanging with my hammers).

With this picture I say bye, bye and thank you all that have been and are a part of my LJ life for some years now.

Hope it can inspire others to make their own tools, thank you what ever wood magazine that published that dead blow mallet online back then.

The best of my thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

28 comments so far

View ksSlim's profile


1203 posts in 2307 days

#1 posted 02-03-2015 10:53 PM

Nicely done as always!

-- Sawdust and shavings are therapeutic

View SPalm's profile


5249 posts in 3300 days

#2 posted 02-03-2015 10:58 PM

Dead blow hammers are a great tool to have around. You have done yourself proud with this one.

What do you mean bye bye? You can’t leave, I won’t let you.


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View lew's profile


11263 posts in 3173 days

#3 posted 02-03-2015 11:27 PM

Awesome set of mallets!

I echo Steve’s comments about the “bye bye” statement!

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View mafe's profile


11061 posts in 2507 days

#4 posted 02-03-2015 11:46 PM

Too many projects still to be made, too much inspiration to be followed and too many wonderful friends here to go, thanks.

Found a link here the design that inspired me back then are from 1992 Shopnotes, and I can see it was originally a joiners mallet, so the idea was not to make it a dead blow in the design I saw back then. Smiles, perhaps I should do research before and not after. But at the end I guess it does not matter, since I have just made it into a dead blow by putting less lead beads inside.
Here you can find a link for the 1992 drawings.
Btw. you should take a look at our friend Kiefers mallets they are in a special class.

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View Matt Vredenburg's profile

Matt Vredenburg

163 posts in 2832 days

#5 posted 02-03-2015 11:52 PM

Very nice and thanks for the blog entry detailing the steps. I love the idea of adding leather to one side of the mallet too – nice touch!

-- Matt, Arizona

View mafe's profile


11061 posts in 2507 days

#6 posted 02-04-2015 12:11 AM

Here are the one from Madts:
And here you can see it hanging out:
I can see I made a few mallets…
OMG, I think I lost it!
Perhaps one more, but now back to the workbench.

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View Roger's profile


19706 posts in 2222 days

#7 posted 02-04-2015 12:25 AM

Nice one to add to your collection Mads. Thnx for the walk-thru as well. You’ll like having that in the shop.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View Philip's profile


1275 posts in 1956 days

#8 posted 02-04-2015 12:48 AM

Great project Mads, nice tutorial…i have some BB’s I’m saving for this

-- I never finish anyth

View kiefer's profile


4873 posts in 2085 days

#9 posted 02-04-2015 01:55 AM

Nice mallet and great detailed blog and an inspiration to build a dead blow mallet .
Have to get busy making one .


-- Kiefer

View doubleDD's profile (online now)


5053 posts in 1461 days

#10 posted 02-04-2015 04:28 AM

I have been thinking about making one of these for years. My problem is the same as yours. Just seem to get involved with other things and it gets forgotten. Great looking mallet and nice blog.
I hope to build one of these too.

-- Dave, Downers Grove, Il. -------- When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile (online now)


17572 posts in 3093 days

#11 posted 02-04-2015 06:25 AM

Great blog Mads ;-)

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View yuridichesky's profile


622 posts in 1381 days

#12 posted 02-04-2015 07:07 AM

Oh man, yet another project added to TODO list… :-)

Nice build, thank you for sharing.

-- Yuri (10x4 -- yeah, that's my tiny shop!)

View stefang's profile


15512 posts in 2752 days

#13 posted 02-04-2015 08:15 AM

Great work on this and an excellent tutorial too Mads.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Dutchy's profile


1968 posts in 1586 days

#14 posted 02-04-2015 08:57 AM

I alwas love your blogs. Nice mallet.

-- My englisch is bad but how is your dutch?

View JanKrompan1's profile


54 posts in 1244 days

#15 posted 02-04-2015 10:34 AM

Thank for sharing this great mallet. I like the way you install the handle, simple but very effective. What will the effect be if you replace the lead beads with solid lead of equal mass?

-- Jan, Free State Province, South Africa

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