Impossible mallet

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Project by llwynog posted 06-25-2014 07:53 PM 2457 views 6 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Hello everyone.
This is a long overdue project.
Two years ago I decided to try and make Roy Underhill’s Mystery/Impossible mallet.
I cut and planed the parts to size but before I attempted the joinery operations and possibly waste good walnut and maple, I decided to first try my hand on a mockup made of pine and oak (which I owned in larger quantities).

The mockup turned out OK (and appeared in this project) and the two parts came together according to the instructions.

Once I validated that I was indeed able to carry out the joinery successfully… I never got around to making the actual mallet I intended.

I guess this is why I usually do not make mockups…

Recently, I finally got fed up with seeing these two parts waiting for their joinery and I brought myself to finishing this project.

Roy’s mallet is a very enjoyable project to carry out with hand tools and the joinery is actually much simpler than it may appear at first sight. It is also one case for which it is much quicker to cut the joinery by hand than to figure out some way to cut it with a machine.

Until next time,

-- Fabrice - "On est bien bête mais on sent bien quand on se fait mal" - my grandfather

8 comments so far

View stefang's profile


14956 posts in 2424 days

#1 posted 06-25-2014 08:31 PM

Excellent workmanship and very nice looking too.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View ShaneA's profile


5837 posts in 1688 days

#2 posted 06-25-2014 08:52 PM

Sweet, I have always liked this design.

View Sodabowski's profile


2273 posts in 1923 days

#3 posted 06-25-2014 10:14 PM

Waw :)

-- Thomas - Pondering the inclusion of woodworking into physics and chemistry classes...

View ward63's profile


344 posts in 2177 days

#4 posted 06-25-2014 10:46 PM

That’s a beautiful mallet! Very nice attention to detail.

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1518 posts in 1451 days

#5 posted 06-25-2014 11:28 PM

What is it good for?

-- Clint Searl....Ya can no more do what ya don't know how than ya can git back from where ya ain't been

View llwynog's profile


287 posts in 1669 days

#6 posted 06-26-2014 05:09 PM

Thank you everyone for your comments.
Clint, the mallet is not good for anything except challenging friends to reason out the way it came together.
The impossible looking dovetails make for a great conversational piece.

-- Fabrice - "On est bien bête mais on sent bien quand on se fait mal" - my grandfather

View blacknail's profile


153 posts in 1895 days

#7 posted 06-27-2014 05:31 PM

I would love to try this. Got a link for the plans?

-- Darrell B.

View llwynog's profile


287 posts in 1669 days

#8 posted 06-27-2014 06:20 PM

Hi Darell,
The plans were published in the #196 issue of popular woodworking (April 2012)

-- Fabrice - "On est bien bête mais on sent bien quand on se fait mal" - my grandfather

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