Metal Head Carving Mallets

  • Advertise with us
Project by John Smith posted 01-26-2018 08:18 PM 802 views 4 times favorited 19 comments Add to Favorites Watch

this has been one of my projects for the past month or so.
I ordered several different types of 2×2x8” exotic wood stock and the precut metal turning blanks
off of E-Bay. I have the copper but haven’t gotten around to it yet.


19 comments so far

View pmayer's profile


1017 posts in 2972 days

#1 posted 01-26-2018 08:31 PM

Wow – those are sweet!

-- PaulMayer,

View GAwoodworker's profile


35 posts in 675 days

#2 posted 01-26-2018 09:44 PM

Those are really nice! An exact project I’ve been wanting to do. Where did you buy the precut metal turning blanks?

View Kelster58's profile


428 posts in 447 days

#3 posted 01-26-2018 11:11 PM

Very nice…...Each one is a treasure….GREAT job!

-- K. Stone “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” ― Benjamin Franklin

View John Smith's profile

John Smith

451 posts in 69 days

#4 posted 01-26-2018 11:47 PM

I bought the pre-cut metal pieces off of E-Bay in lots of 4 or 6 with free shipping.
I am sure other sources also have them such as Metals Online, Amazon, Etsy, etc.
Note: DO NOT turn metal in a lathe chuck designed for wood.
you MUST HAVE a lathe chuck specifically made to hold metal stock.
your choice of which metal and size to use. a “Vixen File” is great for dressing soft metals.


View wcp's profile


92 posts in 506 days

#5 posted 01-27-2018 03:58 AM

Very nice collection of mallets. Beautifully finished. Did you buy a metal chuck to mount on your wood lathe and just used files for shaping, accenting and finishing the metal?

View John Smith's profile

John Smith

451 posts in 69 days

#6 posted 01-27-2018 04:22 AM

WCP – yes, exactly like that.
the metal chuck has a 1”-8 thread that fits my harbor freight wood lathe perfectly.
I also used some common HF steel turning tools and carbide cutters.
mostly the Vixen File to profile it then some 3-M rubber backed sandpaper
then wet sanding from 320-600-1500 grit then to the polishing compounds.
adding different colors of wood in the handle is a nice touch.

View Rick_M's profile


11121 posts in 2287 days

#7 posted 01-27-2018 04:30 AM

Sweet mallets John, very well done. I particularly like the stainless ones.


View lew's profile


11944 posts in 3662 days

#8 posted 01-27-2018 02:58 PM

Those are beauties!

In the last picture, do you epoxy the threaded rod into the handle?

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View wcp's profile


92 posts in 506 days

#9 posted 01-27-2018 03:09 PM

Thanks for the reply and clarification. I am now searching for a 3 jaw metal chuck for lathe. I say again how beautiful your mallets are.


View John Smith's profile

John Smith

451 posts in 69 days

#10 posted 01-27-2018 03:19 PM

Lew – yes, the 3/8” threaded rod is epoxied into the handle about 3”.
I have had a few separations with the different wood inlay in the handles
so now I make it a point to ensure the all-thread rod goes past the ring for security.
if the inlay is on the bottom of the handle, I epoxy a 3/8” wood dowel in that section for security.
through trial and error, I have found that turning the metal head first then attaching it to
the handle for the final turning works best for the best alignment and balance.
after turning the head, I put a fixed drill chuck in the tail stock and mill a 5/16” hole dead center for the rod.
then remove the head, tap the threads and epoxy the handle on. the next day, it all has to be
aligned perfectly back in the chuck and tail stock for final turning.
if the handle is mounted on the side of the head, they both must be turned separately then attached.
some turners like to drill a 1/2” hole in the head and glue the handle in but I don’t trust that method.
the metal head mallets are not used for aggressive carving, it is for the delicate tap-tap-tap method.
the market for this type of mallet is jewelers, leather carvers, stone carvings, watch makers,
intricate wood carvers, etc.


View helluvawreck's profile


30163 posts in 2773 days

#11 posted 01-27-2018 03:22 PM

These are very nice shop made tools.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View John Smith's profile

John Smith

451 posts in 69 days

#12 posted 01-27-2018 04:14 PM

for any hand tool that I make of wood, I try to not use the common local woods
such as oak, birch, maple, walnut, etc….... but to order exotic woods off the internet
to separate my work from the others purely for aesthetics. when fabricating a round
wood handle with inlay, all the pieces must be glued back in the exact order from which they were cut
in order to retain the grain structure. (draw a magic marker line down one side prior to cutting).
I have given some of these mallets to my fellow craftsmen and they swear they will never use them
as they think it is just too darned pretty to use….. well, these are working tools – they are meant to be USED !!!
a craftsman that knows mallets understands the differences in the metal heads:
with aluminum, you have the mass without the weight.
with brass and copper, you have the weight without the mass.
with stainless steel, you have the weight and strength for aggressive stone carving without the mass.

Thanks to all who have shown an interest in this project and your kind words,


View wcp's profile


92 posts in 506 days

#13 posted 01-27-2018 04:25 PM

Congrats on making the Daily Top 3.


View Rick's profile


8904 posts in 2940 days

#14 posted 01-27-2018 05:29 PM

Vvery Nice John! Well done and Congrats on the Top 3!

-- Real MEN! Measure Once! Cut Once! Then head back to the Lumberyard. (Rick, Ontario, Canada)

View a1Jim's profile


116906 posts in 3484 days

#15 posted 01-27-2018 05:42 PM

They look great , just wonder why so many?

-- Custom furniture

showing 1 through 15 of 19 comments

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics