My First Mallet

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Project by HokieKen posted 04-17-2017 01:03 PM 1645 views 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I’m in the process of chopping some big mortises in the bottom of my workbench for the legs. I have a wooden mallet that was given to me a couple years ago that I usually use for chisel work. It proved to be too lightweight for this chore though. So I was using my cast iron and rawhide mallet and it was doing great. I really love that mallet though and I was doing a real number on the rawhide with the repeated strikes on the small chisel handle. So, in order to preserve it, I decided it was time to build a mallet I’ve had in my head for quite a while.

Paul Sellers has a series in his blog and on YouTube on building a mallet. The mallet is big and I liked the design of the head so that was my starting point.

I started with a 6 X 4.5 X 3 inch block of white oak from an offcut of my bench. I shaped it pretty much exactly the way Paul suggests. I did deviate from his handle design and attachment method though. I felt like a wedged tenon would be easier for me to do than the tapered M&T that he uses. So, I chopped a 3/4” X 1.25” mortise through the mallet head then I just added a taper of about 1/16” to each side on the top.

I made the handle from walnut and cut the tenon and tuned it to be a tight fit. Then I cut two angled slots for the wedges and some matching wedges from some scrap purpleheart. I felt like my tapers were a little wide so I cut a couple thin slices of the purpleheart for the outsides of the tenon to keep from putting too much stress into the walnut. A dab of glue on each wedge was used but nowhere in the mortise. That way, if I decide I don’t like the handle, it can be easily replaced.

I couldn’t decide whether or not to put leather on the faces so I put it on one side and left the other with just the oak endgrain. I haven’t weighed the mallet but holding my 2# leather mallet in one hand and this one in the other, I’d guess it’s around 26 ounces.

With the exception of using my bandsaw to cut the head to rough shape and to cut the handle to size, everything else was done using hand tools. I learned some good stuff from Mr. Sellers’ videos on using planes, chisels and spokeshaves to shape the head. Even if you don’t want to make the mallet, I’d recommend watching the videos.

Thanks for looking. Comments and criticism always welcomed!

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

6 comments so far

View Ron Aylor's profile

Ron Aylor

2649 posts in 846 days

#1 posted 04-17-2017 01:09 PM

Looks great, Kenny! Yes, Paul Sellers knows what he’s doing. Good job! You are forgiven for using the bandsaw … this time. LOL!

View Roger's profile


20952 posts in 3002 days

#2 posted 04-17-2017 01:20 PM

Very nice. Every shop needs at least one mallet

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View jeffswildwood's profile (online now)


3596 posts in 2175 days

#3 posted 04-17-2017 01:27 PM

Very nice Ken, you should really be able to hammer away with this. Nice job!

-- We all make mistakes, the trick is to fix it in a way that says "I meant to do that".

View kiefer's profile


5621 posts in 2865 days

#4 posted 04-17-2017 02:26 PM

This will lead to more to come its almost addicting and you will make one for every purpose .

-- Kiefer

View Woodknack's profile


12430 posts in 2578 days

#5 posted 04-18-2017 04:52 AM

Nice whacker.

-- Rick M,

View HokieKen's profile


7046 posts in 1337 days

#6 posted 04-18-2017 11:04 AM

Thanks guys. I’ve always wanted my own BFH :-)

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

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