|Project by palaswood||posted 07-01-2014 10:58 PM||2634 views||4 times favorited||27 comments|
This mallet is made of some wood that is very special to me. That wood is Black Mulberry (Morus Nigra) which is the wood that GOT me started into wood working last spring. You can see the behemoth Black Mulberry tree on this blog post, which documents how I harvest my stock. :)
Once I saw how gorgeous and hard it was, I had to learn more (the rest is history, still being written). This is from a huge (12ft? 14ft?) trunk segment that broke off (due to natural causes it seems) from a tree on a public walking path in my neighborhood, and had been laying on the ground, drying for over 2 years. I had this piece for almost 1 year, so thats 3 years minimum that its been drying. It has a nice shallow check along the pith, but i wanted it a rustic mallet, so I kept it. There’s a tiny worm hole on the other side too. Fasten your seatbelts, this is a long post with a lot of pictures.
This wood is SO VERY DENSE. Just look at the tight grain pattern.
The handle is reclaimed black walnut. It was a paint stirrer stick from a cabinet shop in its former life. I accented the handle with some nice figured black mulberry of a more golden / black grain.
Then shaped it on the belt sander.
I drilled the holes for the mortise on the drill press at work (they dont mind…. but shhhhh).
Then I chopped my first mortise and tenon joint for an actual project!
I tried my hand at inlay for basically the first time, mainly because I didnt like how I had some little gaps an either side after wedging. I chiseled out all around the tenon and set in some maple accents.
The brass pins are salvaged from a local metal works, and the maple wedges/inlay came from that same cabinet shop. I drilled into the corners of the mortise and set the pins with epoxy, then used the belt sander to bring them to about 1/16th in. proud, and sanded them with 320.
The gift box is balsa wood from a pallet originating outta India. Balsa wood? I know, I know, but it’s much harder than you’re probably thinking as it did have some heartwood (reddish/golden/green swirling.. pretty), but it’s light weight cut down on shipping charges too!
I broke the pallet down months ago, and finally found a good use for it. I planed and laid out some stock.
Then glued up a quick butt-jointed box held together with brad nails & glue ( I started out going for sort of a shipping crate kinda thing). Is that curly balsa figure?!
Then I got an idea for inserts. Boy did these FlexCut carving tools i got for my birthday come in handy! Most fun I had all build…
I made two, one in the bottom with a recess to hold the head, and another to frame the mallet and keep it stationary.
Planed up a lid and shaped a handle on the belt sander, out of the balsa heartwood. Glued that on. I left the box sanded but unfinished.
Then I said farewell.
And then Mos took some great pics of him opening it:
As you can see (if you’ve gotten this far! lol ), I spent not one red cent on this build, and i was able to furnish a useful, well-made (if I do say so myself… and I do), and cool mallet that will hopefully provide years of faithful service to Mosquito. (ok, aside from glue, sandpaper etc…)
*Hit me up if you wanna trade a little wood for some of this black mulberry. Within reason, Nothing crazy, but if you fancy it, let me know. I have several logs of it, and would love to share. It’s my first wood love, and still my favorite wood.
-- Joseph, Irvine CA, @palas_woodcraft on Instagram