Big Ash Mallets!

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Project by PioneerRob posted 12-23-2014 04:57 AM 1700 views 5 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch

So, a while back I was watching the 2013-2014 Season of The Woodwright’s Shop, the Big Ash Mallet! episode. I thought “Hey, I have some ash!”. I went and rummaged around in the back corner of my basement and found the few billets of ash donated to me years ago by my in-laws. I was pretty excited when I realized this, because my first attempt at a mallet was a failure (

Happily, I got three mallets done: a large one (24oz) for bashing on bigger stuff, a medium one (18oz) for lighter bashing on stuff, and a light one (15oz) for finer bashing, such as chisel work. I made the light one with a purple heart handle to easily distinguish it from the others.

1. The trio of mallets.
2. Light mallet disassembled.
3 and 4. Splitting the billet.
5. Planing the heads.
6. Forming the handles.

The heads are made of ash, two of the handles are hard maple, and one handle is made of purple heart.

I split the billet with a pair of wedges and got three good blocks, then planed and sawed them square. For the mortises, I drilled and chopped them with a 1” chisel.

I marked the head mortise and corresponding handle tenon with a self-made template:

The 1-1/4” line on the template is used to align it to the bottom of the head and transfer marks The 1-1/4” and the 1” lines are used to transfer marks onto the handle.

The shape for the handles were first rough sawn, then smoothed with a block plane, spoke shave, and card scrapers.

All three mallets were finished with tung oil.

From the pictures you can see that I’ve actually been using these for about 3 months now. I’m quite happy with them, and I’m expecting they’ll last a lot longer than that other first try.

Many thanks to Saint Roy for the inspiration.

-- Rob, Ontario

4 comments so far

View ElChe's profile


630 posts in 753 days

#1 posted 12-23-2014 05:08 AM

Sweet mallets! Send me the purpleheart handled one! I will pay for shipping. :)

-- Tom - Measure twice cut once. Then measure again. Curse. Fudge.

View Ken90712's profile


16862 posts in 2605 days

#2 posted 12-23-2014 09:05 AM

Nice work, these are fun to make.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View buck_cpa's profile


147 posts in 1304 days

#3 posted 12-23-2014 10:16 PM

well done sir – I knocked out some of these last year. I use them all the time – quite useful and can take a real beating.

View AtlanticBryan's profile


21 posts in 1261 days

#4 posted 12-24-2014 01:47 AM

Thanks – I’ve been looking for something like this to replace the old cheapo I bought 30 years ago for $5.

-- I'm not talking to myself ... I'm consulting an expert!

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