Cherry & Milk Jug Joiners Mallet

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Project by Peter Brown posted 02-23-2015 09:53 PM 7780 views 55 times favorited 37 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Cherry & Milk Jug Joiners Mallet
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As a woodworker there are certain projects you are required to make.

Step Stool? Check!
Cutting Board? End-grain if you can….
Crosscut Sled? Absolutely.
Shop Mallet? Why not try something a bit different…

HDPE is the plastic used in many household containers including gallon sized milk jugs. It’s a dense and highly versatile material that can be easy processed and shaped with the woodworking tools already in your shop.

I made a video a while back on the processing of HDPE using a blender and toaster oven. Well, I’ve been banned from touching the kitchen blender! So now I’m just rough cutting the plastic with a razor knife. Honestly? It works fine.

I had to melt down about 7 milk jugs and 3 powdered lemonade containers just to get enough HDPE to make my mallet head. It took a number of hours to process it all.

The handle of the mallet is made from a nice cherry board and adds a nice warm contrast to the plastic! This mallet packs a punch and is quite heavy given it smaller size!

Thanks for looking!

-- Peter Brown - Collector of WD-40 and wood splinters

37 comments so far

View GpaBrian's profile


14 posts in 775 days

#1 posted 02-23-2015 10:39 PM

Cool idea, how warm do you get the plastic to melt it?

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Peter Brown

196 posts in 1097 days

#2 posted 02-23-2015 10:42 PM

350F is the sweet spot for the melting. The process goes a lot faster in a kitchen oven, but I can do other things in the shop so I prefer the toaster oven… :)

-- Peter Brown - Collector of WD-40 and wood splinters

View playingwithmywood's profile


246 posts in 1017 days

#3 posted 02-24-2015 12:12 AM

I do not like many people on the internet…. but you sir are always doing something terribly cool on in this case something warm that was incredibly cool

View fuigb's profile


391 posts in 2378 days

#4 posted 02-24-2015 12:39 AM

Holy smokes, you’re a genius. So many possibilities…

-- - Crud. Go tell your mother that I need a Band-aid.

View MedicineMan's profile


107 posts in 1887 days

#5 posted 02-24-2015 01:09 AM

Wow! What a great idea. And, it will take about 300 years to dissolve, too.

View lightweightladylefty's profile


3127 posts in 3132 days

#6 posted 02-24-2015 03:26 AM


We love the idea! Can you give a little instruction? 350 degrees for how long? Do you have to use a lubricant to keep it from sticking when melting it? At what point do you pour it into a shape? What do you use as forms . . . wood, metal, cardboard, etc.? Do you lubricate or line (with foil, waxed paper, etc.) the vessel into which it is poured? How long does it take to set up?

This is a great idea for those of us who seem to have more time than money and love the satisfaction of doing it ourselves! Watching a video about it doesn’t work with dial-up.


-- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

View Faceman_'s profile


18 posts in 1096 days

#7 posted 02-24-2015 04:27 AM

Very different, nice idea. How did it smell though?

Can you give a little instruction?

Cuts up 4 or 5 milk jugs

Melts each into layers

Melts all layers together

Puts into a square mold made of what looks like particle board

Lets dry

Cuts and sands to his desired shape

View siavosh's profile


674 posts in 1291 days

#8 posted 02-24-2015 05:21 AM

Woah very cool, that’s going to be indestructible. I’m guessing the plastics are non-toxic since they store milk/food, but do you know if there’s any fumes that are given off in the melting process?

-- -- Discover the most interesting woodworking blogs from around the world

View lightweightladylefty's profile


3127 posts in 3132 days

#9 posted 02-24-2015 05:24 AM

Thanks Faceman.


-- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

View albachippie's profile


757 posts in 2455 days

#10 posted 02-24-2015 11:06 AM

Very cool idea, thanks for the video,


-- Garry fae Bonnie Scotland -

View mnguy's profile


183 posts in 2818 days

#11 posted 02-24-2015 02:18 PM

Melting the plastic won’t give off any toxic fumes – food grade HDPE won’t give off toxic fumes even if you get it hot enough to start breaking down (much higher than 350 F). Get all the labels and adhesive off, and you have nothing to worry about. This is a super cool idea that I want to try :)

View Chris 's profile


1877 posts in 3411 days

#12 posted 02-24-2015 03:40 PM

The first thing that went through my head was using this for a dead-blow mallet or a carvers mallet.

-- "Everything that is great and inspiring is created by the individual who labors in freedom" -- Albert Einstein

View Peter Brown's profile

Peter Brown

196 posts in 1097 days

#13 posted 02-24-2015 03:52 PM

Thanks everyone!

Looks like most of the questions have been answered, but I will re-iterate.

There aren’t any fumes, which makes this ideal for the home/hobbyist. Making sure you’re using HDPE is important. There is a #2 inside the recycle symbol.

I used the mallet pretty heavily on Sunday. I cut some joinery and re-seated my drill press chuck. There are some indents marks, but no more than a maple mallet.

If I could do it over, I would skip the melamine mold and reheat the layers in a bread pan or similar. Then just cut a piece of wood to clamp down into that shape to get compression of the plastic.

Once the HDPE cools it doesn’t stick to anything, and almost no glue sticks to it. Thus the need for mechanical fastening.

-- Peter Brown - Collector of WD-40 and wood splinters

View Notw's profile (online now)


439 posts in 1173 days

#14 posted 02-24-2015 03:56 PM

how bad does that stink while melting?

View Bluepine38's profile


3336 posts in 2505 days

#15 posted 02-24-2015 04:08 PM

Definitely have to do this in the shop, do not think the beautiful lady would want it to happen in the

-- As ever, Gus-the 77 yr young apprentice carpenter

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