|Project by Dave Polaschek||posted 11-09-2016 07:38 PM||507 views||0 times favorited||5 comments|
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.