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Carving Mallet

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Project by Ethan Sincox posted 2757 days ago 2927 views 1 time favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Carving Mallet
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This was my very first experience at turning something on the lathe. When I decided I wanted to get a little more into woodworking, I contacted Pops, who is a bit of a second father to my younger brother, Noah. Pops had helped Noah with tool-buying decisions and instructional lessons over the years, and he also made a carving mallet for him out of some Osage Orange. So I called Pops and asked him if he would make me a mallet.

He said no.

But then he said he would be more than happy to help me make my own if I could swing by some weekend night.

It was my first turning experience, so I was obviously just a bit nervous. But he helped me the entire way, through roughing it into a cylinder to marking the divisions for mallet head and mallet handle. He pretty much let me do the rest on my own, though he did offer some advice on such things as the thickness of the grip and the transition between handle and mallet. As you can see, there is a smooth transition, with a small cove just at the base of the head, which lends itself to a great thumb position for better striking control. To get the perfectly straight face on the head, we used a large, extra-thick card scraper (i.e. a piece of flat steel with a perfectly straight edge).

After we were done, he gave me a small coffee can ½ filled with boiled linseed oil. I let it sit in the BLO in the coffee can for a full week. I then followed his treatment of sticking it back in that can once a day for a week, once a week for a month, once a month for a year, and then once a year from then on.

Learning to turn on osage orange was a great experience. Most things I turn now are nothing compared to that – rosewood, for example, is like having a stick of warm butter chucked into the lathe.

Sorry I only have one picture of it, but… it’s just a mallet. There really aren’t any more interesting angles…

-- Ethan, http://thekiltedwoodworker.com





14 comments so far

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 2902 days


#1 posted 2757 days ago

Beautiful mallet Ethan.
I suppose you hate to put any marks on it yet. That tool should last you many years. Is osage orange a pretty dense wood ? I’ve never seen it in the flesh. If you notice the mallet I made in my carving tool box picture, the thing is pretty beat up. I only used soft maple, at the time it was all I had. I guess I’ll make another some day.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN. http://www.woodcarvingillustrated.com/gallery/member.php?uid=3627&protype=1

View Don's profile

Don

2599 posts in 2779 days


#2 posted 2757 days ago

Great project, Ethan. It’s inspired me to make one from Australian Ironbark. This wood is so dense it doesn’t float. I think it will make a great mallet. I’ll let you see it when I finish it.

-- CanuckDon "I just love small wooden boxes!" http://dpb-photography.me/

View scottb's profile

scottb

3647 posts in 2929 days


#3 posted 2757 days ago

Very nice – even more so as your first project. What a wood to start on! I love the rosewood analogy.

No luck in digging up a piece to send my way? Trade you for ???

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- http://blanchardcreative.etsy.com -- http://snbcreative.wordpress.com/

View Ethan Sincox's profile

Ethan Sincox

765 posts in 2776 days


#4 posted 2756 days ago

Dick, Osage is a very dense, resiliant wood, found most often in the Midwest. It was often grown along fields as hedge rows and is also often referred to as bodark. I made the mallet about three years ago, so I’ve had plenty of time to use it. But, to be totally honest with you, I only used it for a short time. As luck would have it, I happened to find a lignum vitae mallet on e-bay for a super-reasonable price ($20) and the guy lived in St. Louis, so I didn’t pay any shipping. (We met on a rainy day in a hospital parking lot – it was like a very shady lumber deal from some 1920’s Gangster movie.)

Thanks, Don – can’t wait to see how it turns out!

Scott, due to the holiday bustle, I never got a chance to swing by Pop’s house and ask him about the osage. I think I have his phone number… I’ll give him a call if I can find it.

-- Ethan, http://thekiltedwoodworker.com

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 2917 days


#5 posted 2756 days ago

It’s to nice to use!

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 2902 days


#6 posted 2756 days ago

Thanks Ethan,
I have an lignum vitae mallet, but when I built my tool box without any planning, & that mallet didn’t fit the box , so that’s why I made a new one. I like the one I made because it’s a little lighter while doing any extended carving. I may shrink my Lignum vitae mallet some day.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN. http://www.woodcarvingillustrated.com/gallery/member.php?uid=3627&protype=1

View scottb's profile

scottb

3647 posts in 2929 days


#7 posted 2756 days ago

Thanks Ethan, no prob either way, I just know that the Osage Orange will do a better job, or rather outlast anything I can dig up or knock down here.

Maybe we’ll start a trend of making all our own tools with lumberjock stock! I guess Darryl, Frank and I would have the market on NH maple for cutting boards or ??? Come to think of it, there’s a defunct apple orchard a stones throw from here… I should check that out after the next storm!

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- http://blanchardcreative.etsy.com -- http://snbcreative.wordpress.com/

View frank's profile

frank

1492 posts in 2808 days


#8 posted 2756 days ago

Hi Ethan;
I believe Dennis summed it up best, “its to nice to use!”

Myself I just make-um, bash-um and break-um!

I also noticed that Pops knows the real story about using and curing with boiled linseed oil. That time process is not one that many use today in a world of ‘I want it done yesterday’.

Again, nice piece of work ethics, wood art and a good tool if you ever decide to break it in.
GODSPEED,
Frank

-- --frank, NH, http://rusticwoodart.tumblr.com/

View Ethan Sincox's profile

Ethan Sincox

765 posts in 2776 days


#9 posted 2756 days ago

Thanks, Frank. I try to surround myself with people not necessarily of like mind (there wouldn’t be much growth in that!), but most definitely with similar ethics and values. I’ve truly been blessed to have such people as Vic and Pops as mentors in woodworking.

And to be honest with you, I quite enjoy the smell of Boiled Linseed Oil, so I don’t really mind using it in my shop as often as I do.

-- Ethan, http://thekiltedwoodworker.com

View scottb's profile

scottb

3647 posts in 2929 days


#10 posted 2756 days ago

I like where you’re coming from Ethan. Glad to have (virtually) met.

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- http://blanchardcreative.etsy.com -- http://snbcreative.wordpress.com/

View Ethan Sincox's profile

Ethan Sincox

765 posts in 2776 days


#11 posted 2756 days ago

Ditto, Scott!

-- Ethan, http://thekiltedwoodworker.com

View WayneC's profile

WayneC

12255 posts in 2700 days


#12 posted 2621 days ago

Makes me wish I did not pass on that Osage Orange turning stock I saw at Rockler last week. How is the new house coming Ethan? I’ve not seen you around much these days.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View oscorner's profile

oscorner

4564 posts in 2913 days


#13 posted 2621 days ago

Great wood and nice comfortable looking design.

-- Jesus is Lord!

View rikkor's profile

rikkor

11295 posts in 2477 days


#14 posted 2402 days ago

Fabulous first turning. I made a really sucky candle holder for mine.

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