LumberJocks

Oak mallet

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Project by Dave Polaschek posted 11-09-2016 07:38 PM 507 views 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Mallet #2 build

After having built my first pine-scrap mallet, one of my co-workers said he had a couple scraps of oak that would be much more suitable for mallet heads and he’d see if he could dig them up. A few days later, I had two nice dense chunks of oak to work with. On the same trip to the lumber-yard that got me my cane, I found a chunk of maple in the scrap bin, an inch, by about an inch and a half, by just under three feet long. For three bucks, it seemed like it would make a nice pair of mallet handles.

Only the second mallet I’ve built, and I’ve already got some habits. The first thing I like to do is trim the faces to about five degrees, which makes a pleasing angle for striking things (at least in my hand). In this case, doing that initial trim revealed a crack on the oak which got away from me. I ended up losing about a half inch off the end of the chunk of wood, but better to find that now than later when I’m using it, I guess.

A closer look revealed some other small cracks. Nothing that’ll cause problems like that first one, but maybe something that would chip during heavy use, so they all got a little CA glue squirted in them and then I rough-sanded the head before moving on.

Next is making the hole for the handle. I thought about tapering the hole so that the handle would fit through and lock itself into place, but I’m not that confident about my joinery yet. I decided to cut a rectangular mortise in the head and peg the rectangular tenon in place with a few dowels. No real drama there. No taper at all, so with the handle inserted, there are small gaps around the handle on the top. They’ll get wood glue and sawdust to fill at some point.

Next up was turning my rectangular piece of maple into a roundish handle. I used a spokeshave and a microplane rasp. The thing I hadn’t noticed was that the grain in the maple had a little twist to it, and simply following the grain with the spokeshave left me with a handle that’s rotated slightly from the faces of the mallet. Live and learn.

Out come the 3/8” bit and brace, and I drilled three holes into the handle. They intrude slightly less than halfway into the handle, so I think I’ve still got plenty of strength left in the handle. A little wood glue, a few taps from the pine mallet, and throw it all in the vise in order to let the vise jaws imprint their pattern on the very slightly proud dowels.

A little chamfering, a little sanding, and a couple coats of BLO, and my second mallet is done. It’s about 20% heavier than the one made of pine scraps, which leaves it a little on the light side for my usual philosophy of “little taps with a BFH”, but it’s proving pretty serviceable. I may go after the handle with a power-sander to take out the slight twist, or I may just keep using it as-is.





5 comments so far

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

17111 posts in 2565 days


#1 posted 11-10-2016 02:22 AM

First of all WELCOME TO LUMBERJOCKS!!!
Nice mallet. you can put some tape around the bottom of the hole around the handle to stop leakage and fill the whole cavity with epoxy from the top and that will solidify the handle in there.

Cheers, Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

18 posts in 42 days


#2 posted 11-10-2016 01:30 PM

Thanks for the welcome.

I thought about epoxy, but since the handle is very solidly held into the head (three 3/8×1.25 inch dowels glued in ought to do a pretty good job) I didn’t figure I needed any additional strength. Is there some reason I’m missing why wood glue and sawdust won’t make an okay filler? Is the gap just too big? I figure I’ll eventually end up needing epoxy for something, but for now, fewer choices on my bench keeps it simpler for my brain.

View woodbutcherbynight's profile

woodbutcherbynight

2408 posts in 1868 days


#3 posted 11-11-2016 02:59 AM

Nice work!! So what it fails in time? Good excuse to make another one and make any improvements. I built a tape holder that had 10 rolls of storage beginning of this year. Someone gave me quite a few rolls of different colors and types of tape recently. Currently working on a second one to add another 10 rolls of storage, with improvements. LOL

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

18 posts in 42 days


#4 posted 11-11-2016 06:26 AM

Thanks, Butcher. I still have the “select” chunk of oak scrap and maple handle that will be made into another mallet similar to this, but using everything I learned making this one and the mistakes along the way. Live and learn. And as someone told me, it’s not the mistakes that make the woodworker, it’s how the mistakes get fixed…

View woodbutcherbynight's profile

woodbutcherbynight

2408 posts in 1868 days


#5 posted 11-12-2016 05:13 AM

Get some Dogwood for the handle. Very beautiful wood when turned.

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

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