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Three metals, two woods, one swap (2018 Mallet Swap)

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Project by JayT posted 07-20-2018 01:08 AM 1048 views 1 time favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Mallets made for the 2018 Mallet Swap

When the swap was announced, I saw an opportunity to do a couple things—learn to use my lathe better and finally complete a mallet idea that has been bouncing around in my head for a while.

The first pic shows three mallets sent to ElroyD as part of the swap and are the impetus for the post title. All are made of osage orange and walnut. As a woodworker, exotics are cool, but I really prefer to work with locally harvested lumber and have met some great people in my journeys to track down stock. Osage, being heavy, hard and tough, is an ideal wood for striking tools and walnut is both a joy to work and adds a classy touch.

The first mallet is a turned carving mallet with osage head and walnut handle. Pretty straight forward in design, just a a matter of obtaining a good balance and comfortable grip so that use can become second nature. Interesting note is that the osage has no finish—the sheen is achieved by sanding the wood clear up to 2000 grit. The osage is so hard it just keeps taking a better polish.

When I was assigned Elroy’s name and looked at posts he had made on LJ, two things stuck out to me. One was his desire to work in an 18th century style and the second was love of family. I decided to try and catch both in the swap. This was a great way to do that. The mallet style is totally appropriate for an 18th century woodworker and then I also made some smaller mallets in the same style for his children. Elroy’s blog has several references to his five daughters and how they like to be in the shop with him, so I decided to make them their own tools so they could “be like dad”. The smallest two are sycamore and the slightly larger one is apricot and maple from my smoking wood pile. The other turned mallets in the third pic are a solid oak that was practice for the others and one to keep in my shop made from osage and pear, also from the smoking wood pile.

The second mallet started as a joke and turned into something else. When the swap was getting started, HokieKen cracked a joke about me making a “peek-a-boo mallet”, referring to a hand plane made for a previous swap. The biggest characteristic of the plane is the three stainless steel rods that form the sides, so I decided to make a mallet using something similar. It was originally intended to just be a non-functioning mallet-shaped object that I could post in the swap thread to poke fun at Kenny. The cut head on the right in the fourth pic was the original one made. When I whacked it against something, however, almost no vibration was transmitted to the hand. “Well,” I thought, “maybe we’re on to something here.” That led to the other two mallets. Heads and all the handles are multi-axis turned, my first time attempting that technique. The original mallet’s handle didn’t have a ferrule and I didn’t feel that would hold up, so chiseled the handle off and figured out how to do ferrules out of 3/4 copper plumbing couplings that were squashed in a vise. That meant having to very carefully turn the tops of the handles on three axes to get a good fit. I think they came out well and all three mallets are very nicely balanced. Since I’m not really sure how strong the design is (though the stainless steel rods should be strong enough) they are intended as assembly mallets, not for beating something into submission. As such each has one face covered in leather to be a non-marring surface.

The final mallet design is the brass headed one and is the design I had been thinking about for a while. The plumbing aisle at the hardware store is a great place for a tool maker to shop. The heads for these mallets are flare tees that were chucked up on the lathe so threads could be filed off and then cut to the desired length. The wooden face is turned with a shaft that goes all the way through the tee in order to support the back of the flare cap on the other end.

Handles for the brass mallets are not glued, they are attached with a blind wedged tenon. The long handled one was the first I made, but it’s a bit unwieldy. That led to changing the design to be a short, palm-filling handle and it works much better. This design should be able to be used both as a plane mallet (helpful for Elroy’s 18th century type tools) and also when doing finer work with chisels.

All in all, the swap was fun. I got to learn a couple new techniques, am now more comfortable with the lathe and Elroy and his daughters hopefully have some useful tools. So a win all the way around.

Thanks for looking and hope you enjoy.

-- In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. Thomas Jefferson





18 comments so far

View Woodknack's profile

Woodknack

12230 posts in 2464 days


#1 posted 07-20-2018 03:51 AM

Quite the menagerie of mallets, so much creativity.

-- Rick M, http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

View woodcox's profile (online now)

woodcox

2079 posts in 2095 days


#2 posted 07-20-2018 04:08 AM

Ingenious work on all of those, JayT

Heads and all the handles are multi-axis turned,” Wow, the heads as well? Does that make them oval?

-- "My god has more wood than your god" ... G. Carlin.

View ToddJB's profile

ToddJB

8156 posts in 2214 days


#3 posted 07-20-2018 05:58 AM

Man, you went into production mode on this swap! Your creativity and different approach never ceases to amaze me. Good job, Homie.

-- I came - I sawed - I over-built

View Don W's profile

Don W

18878 posts in 2651 days


#4 posted 07-20-2018 10:12 AM

Excellent work JayT both in design and execution.

-- http://timetestedtools.net - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

2397 posts in 666 days


#5 posted 07-20-2018 10:44 AM

Fourteen mallets made for the swap? Or were there more that aren’t pictured? Serious effort and very cool results, JayT. Outstanding work!

-- Dave - Minneapolis

View JayT's profile

JayT

5759 posts in 2295 days


#6 posted 07-20-2018 11:16 AM

Thanks for the positive comments, guys.

Heads and all the handles are multi-axis turned,” Wow, the heads as well? Does that make them oval?

- woodcox

Yes, the heads are both ovoid and barrel shaped, with the center being a little thicker than the ends. Here’s a better look ar the oak one I kept. The barrel effect shows up even better on the laminated osage and walnut.

Not so much production mode as continual prototype mode. Every time I completed one mallet, there would be an idea for how to make it better that I’d have to try. Spent a lot more time making mallets than I had originally planned, but it was all fun. Shop time is never bad, except that I have a plane part way through construction that needs attention.

-- In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. Thomas Jefferson

View builtinbkyn's profile

builtinbkyn

2622 posts in 1024 days


#7 posted 07-20-2018 01:44 PM

Jay you, like Earl went mallet crazy and it paid off. What started as a whimsical approach to making quite a different mallet, it looks like you arrived at something that actually works well for what you intended it for. Really nice job!

-- Bill, Yo!......in Brooklyn & Steel City :)

View GR8HUNTER's profile

GR8HUNTER

4345 posts in 796 days


#8 posted 07-20-2018 02:19 PM

JayT you have certainly won the most unique mallet Award … you took it all and created some very nice mallets …. GREAT JOB :<))

-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN

View jeffswildwood's profile

jeffswildwood

3403 posts in 2061 days


#9 posted 07-20-2018 02:52 PM

Super job Jay. I love the joiners mallet.

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

View KelleyCrafts's profile

KelleyCrafts

3054 posts in 823 days


#10 posted 07-20-2018 03:05 PM

Always amazing JayT. I always look forward to some odd off the wall design that ends up looking amazing AND stays functional. Keep on designing buddy.

-- Dave - http://kelleycrafts.com/ - pen blanks - knife scales - turning tools

View HokieKen's profile

HokieKen

5843 posts in 1222 days


#11 posted 07-20-2018 03:08 PM

Excellent Jay! You never disappoint :-)) I’m glad the peekaboo comment spurred you because that’s a unique and beautiful mallet style! I’ve seen the brass flare fittings used in mallets before but not in the short stubby style like that. Excellent design on that. And now that you’ve pioneered it, that should be a pretty simple build so I’ll likely grab your coat tails and have one of those :-)

Multi-axis turning can really open up a ton of possibilities eh? I must admit though, I always put handles back on center for fitting the ferrule. Never considered trying to bend a ferrule to fit the eccentric curves. I might give that a try too. I doubt I’ll pull it off as well as you though. Got any close-ups showing the shape of the ferrules? I’m curious.

Excellent work all around buddy. Your consistent ability to pioneer new and unique designs for tools that have been around for centuries speaks very highly of your skills as a craftsman.

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

View helluvawreck's profile

helluvawreck

31994 posts in 2950 days


#12 posted 07-20-2018 04:24 PM

These mallets are so outstanding and show a lot of nice craftsmanship.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles, http://woodworkingexpo.wordpress.com

View JayT's profile

JayT

5759 posts in 2295 days


#13 posted 07-20-2018 04:31 PM

Thanks for the compliments.

Got any close-ups showing the shape of the ferrules? I m curious.

- HokieKen

I can take a pic of one of the mallets I kept. I squashed the fitting first, turned the oval as close to that shape as I could, then finished with a rasp to get a decent fit.

-- In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. Thomas Jefferson

View HokieKen's profile

HokieKen

5843 posts in 1222 days


#14 posted 07-20-2018 05:05 PM



Thanks for the compliments.

Got any close-ups showing the shape of the ferrules? I m curious.

- HokieKen

I can take a pic of one of the mallets I kept. I squashed the fitting first, turned the oval as close to that shape as I could, then finished with a rasp to get a decent fit.

- JayT

I’m just curious how “ovally” it ended up :-)

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

View JayT's profile

JayT

5759 posts in 2295 days


#15 posted 07-20-2018 06:26 PM

Here you go, Kenny.

The oval is a little flattened on the sides and a bit pointy on the tips, but not bad at all.

-- In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. Thomas Jefferson

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