Mallet from a Bowl

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Project by Dalbergian posted 08-28-2009 06:27 AM 1973 views 5 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Mallet from a Bowl
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For years I have been using a 2.5 lb club hammer to drive my chisels but after seeing various beautiful examples of lignum vitae mallets on the web I convinced myself that such a thing was essential.
Now,my first port of call whenever I’m looking to buy wood or supplies these days is,of course,eBay.
The first suitably sized piece of lignum listed (5”long cylinder by 5.5” diameter)seemed,at £27.50,a little too salty to me but 3 listings below it there was a set of 4 vintage lignum vitae lawn bowls,buy it now £10.
“Drat,pick up only,knew it was too good to be true!”
Click on it anyway -item location,City of Edinburgh
Send message to arrange pickup.
I have only ever worked small pieces of lignum in the past,small turned inlay & the sole of a tiny smoothing plane so to say I was unprepared for the edge destroying abilities of this ferocious timber is an understatement.I swear it felt like I was sharpening more than turning.
That said lignum vitae is a beautiful material to work taking a crisp,glossy finish.
I decided to use maple for the handle as it is a lovely creamy white which will contrast even better once the lignum oxidises to its eventual deep,leafy green.
The finished mallet is 275mm long & the head is 100mm at its widest & weighs 964grams.

inquiries welcome

-- "Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible." ~ Frank Zappa

11 comments so far

View Roz's profile


1699 posts in 3812 days

#1 posted 08-28-2009 06:31 AM

Never heard of the wood, but the result is beautiful.

-- Terry Roswell, L.A. (Lower Alabama) "Life is what happens to you when you are making other plans."

View a1Jim's profile


117120 posts in 3603 days

#2 posted 08-28-2009 06:34 AM

great mallet . you’ve pick the right wood for the job

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View TedM's profile


2002 posts in 3759 days

#3 posted 08-28-2009 11:55 AM

Great score! Ingenuity too! And a tool that will last a lifetime, and more!

-- I'm a wood magician... I can turn fine lumber into firewood before your very eyes! - Please visit and sign up for my project updates!

View spanky46's profile


995 posts in 3416 days

#4 posted 08-28-2009 11:58 AM

Very nice work! Welcome to Lumberjocks! Lots of friends with lots of talent!
I look forward to your projects and posts.

-- spanky46 -- Never enough clamps...Never enough tools...Never enough time.

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4187 days

#5 posted 08-28-2009 12:09 PM

you made that from that?
Gorgeous mallet .. just gorgeous.
(liked the story as well)

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View SgtSnafu's profile


960 posts in 3298 days

#6 posted 08-28-2009 02:46 PM

That is an awesome mallet – Very well done !

-- Scotty - aka... SgtSnafu - Randleman NC

View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

2794 posts in 3464 days

#7 posted 08-28-2009 03:10 PM

Beautiful contrast between the two woods.

My brother worked for years at the portsmouth naval shipyard in Maine. He brought home a piece of this wood once. He mentioned that it was used as a bearing for the submarine propeller shaft. Seems it’s as hard as steel but swells when wet so it makes a good seal. I’d suppose it was on older subs. Lignum Vitae is the name of the wood as I understand it. The small wedge we had was very dense and heavy.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View BTKS's profile


1986 posts in 3490 days

#8 posted 08-28-2009 04:09 PM

Wonderful grain and finish. What a score on the wood source. Congrats on a job well done. BTKS

-- "Man's ingenuity has outrun his intelligence" (Joseph Wood Krutch)

View mmh's profile


3677 posts in 3748 days

#9 posted 08-28-2009 05:16 PM

Beautiful tool! The wood grain is magnificent! I could just enjoy looking at this tool without using it for fear of damage, but I understand that Lignum Vitae is extremely hard and oily, self-lubricating, so that’s why they use it for maritime machinery. It’s quite hard to find, but I believe they still utilize it.

-- "They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night." ~ Edgar Allan Poe

View Innovator's profile


3584 posts in 3439 days

#10 posted 08-28-2009 07:59 PM

Great looking mallet. Hopefully you will get good use out of it!

-- Whether You Think You Can or You Think You Can't, YOU ARE RIGHT!!!

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 4273 days

#11 posted 08-29-2009 06:45 PM

Great looking mallet. I just made two out of walnut. They should hold up nicely. Sure aren’t as pretty as yours.

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

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