LumberJocks

Pair of Carver's Mallets

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Project by HokieKen posted 07-23-2018 12:39 PM 1243 views 5 times favorited 35 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is my entry for the 2018 Lumberjock's Mallet Swap. I made this pair for LJ GrantA.

My inspiration was this picture:

Unfortunately, there was no source information for the picture so I don’t know who made it or who to credit.

I really liked the way the different woods converged to create a continuity and I liked the overall shape of the design. What I REALLY liked though was the carved embellishment. Since I couldn’t carve that if there was a gun to my head, especially in a wood hard enough for a mallet head, I decided to go a different way.

Instead of attempting to carve into the head, I decided to do a Celtic Knot lamination. I started with Greenheart for the head. This wood is incredibly hard but also very strong and not brittle. Initially I was just going to use some Hard Maple and laminate the knot into the Greenheart blank. But then I thought I would like to see a little more contrast. So, I used some Greenheart and made the lamination in a piece of Hard Maple. Then I cut the Greenheart blank and turned a tenon onto both pieces, drilled out the Maple with the knot lamination and glued it all up.

And don’t get me wrong. I’m writing this as if I just glued some stuff up and turned it and shipped it. I think I glued up a total of 6 laminations for the knots and turned 4 complete mallets. One turned out terribly and went to the trash and one was ugly as sin but functional so it resides in my shop as a nice user :-)

So after getting the head blank glued up, I turned it to shape and drilled it out for the handle tenon. I didn’t think a through tenon would look good for this design so instead I used a blind wedged tenon that JayT brought to my attention early on in the swap. It’s a rock solid joint that required no glue and I can’t imagine it ever loosening. The handle was made from a spalted Maple blank with a piece of Greenheart joined to the end as a “pommel”.

After I finally got a good one that I was happy with, I was contemplating what to make to go with it. So the idea of a second one with the woods inverted would make a really nice yin/yang pair of whackers. This idea filled me with dread because I really hate doing all the glue-ups :-( But, nevertheless, I knew that was what I wanted so the second mallet with the Maple head and Greenheart handle was born!

The Greenheart is so dense compared to the Maple that I thought the difference was sufficient to give a nice difference in the weights of the two mallets to make it a more useful pair. They ended up weighing in at 8 oz and 11 oz. Not as much difference as I was hoping for but enough to give them a different feel in the hand and make them ideally suited to different tasks.

So, there’s Grants new mallets. I hope they serve him well for many years! Comments and questions welcomed as always. Thanks for looking!

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





35 comments so far

View Scott Oldre's profile

Scott Oldre

1102 posts in 3633 days


#1 posted 07-23-2018 12:49 PM

Beauties. So are you drilling a hole through into the mallet portion, then turning a tenon on the mallet handle to give the piece strength. I guess looking at the laminations and all the gluing perpendicular to the striking face, makes me wonder how they’ll do when actually striking.

Thanks for sharing

-- Scott, Irmo SC

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

2850 posts in 784 days


#2 posted 07-23-2018 12:53 PM

Nice work, Kenny! They’re pretty ones.

-- Dave - Minneapolis

View doubleDD's profile

doubleDD

7895 posts in 2245 days


#3 posted 07-23-2018 01:04 PM

That must of been one heck of an inspiration. You accomplish making those look same. Excellent work.

-- Dave, Downers Grove, Il. -------- When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams.

View Brit's profile

Brit

7545 posts in 3045 days


#4 posted 07-23-2018 01:08 PM

Awesome work Ken! Functional and beautiful.

-- https://www.clickasnap.com/Andy61 - Andy - Old Chinese proverb says: "If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it."

View HokieKen's profile

HokieKen

7127 posts in 1341 days


#5 posted 07-23-2018 01:11 PM



Beauties. So are you drilling a hole through into the mallet portion, then turning a tenon on the mallet handle to give the piece strength. I guess looking at the laminations and all the gluing perpendicular to the striking face, makes me wonder how they ll do when actually striking.

Thanks for sharing

- Scott Oldre

Yes Scott, the mallet heads are oriented with endgrain top and bottom. The round mortise hole was drilled about 3/4 of the length. The mating tenon was turned about 1/8” shorter than the depth of the mortise. Then I cut an angled kerf in the tenon and made a corresponding wedge. The wedge was sized so that it stuck up about 3/8” without deforming the tenon. Then when inserted into the hole, when the wedge bottomed out, there was about 1/4” gap. I then drove the handle the last 1/4” which drove the wedge into the tenon which in turn forces the tenon apart. The resulting joint is essentially an interference fit.

All of the glue joints are accomplished with M&T so I don’t forsee any issues with strength. The head blanks were formed with endgrain/endgrain contact, but not relying on those faces for adhesion. Hope that addresses your questions!

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

View HokieKen's profile

HokieKen

7127 posts in 1341 days


#6 posted 07-23-2018 01:17 PM

Thanks Dave, Dave and Andy! (Reminds me of Larry, Darrel and Darrel :-P)

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

View helluvawreck's profile

helluvawreck

32087 posts in 3069 days


#7 posted 07-23-2018 01:28 PM

This is a beautiful set of carving mallets.

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

View GR8HUNTER's profile (online now)

GR8HUNTER

5138 posts in 915 days


#8 posted 07-23-2018 01:36 PM

these BEAUTIFUL mallets will make a fine addition to anyone’s shop …. l love how the similar shape yet slightly different weights …. oh LOVE the knots of course who wouldn’t … GREAT JOB :<))

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

View HokieKen's profile

HokieKen

7127 posts in 1341 days


#9 posted 07-23-2018 01:44 PM

Thanks guys! Tony, I was trying to make them a matching pair. Unfortunately, it seems that when it comes to the lathe, everything I make is unique. I can never quite turn the same profile twice!

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

View woodcox's profile

woodcox

2158 posts in 2214 days


#10 posted 07-23-2018 01:57 PM

Nice work, Kenny. I like the contrast.

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

View JayT's profile

JayT

5961 posts in 2413 days


#11 posted 07-23-2018 02:33 PM

So you gave Grant a pair of maracas?

Seriously, dude, that’s some fine work. Love the time and thought you put in. Gluing up a lamination like that for something that is going to get beat on is over the top. Definitely did justice to the inspiration piece.

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

View jeffswildwood's profile

jeffswildwood

3604 posts in 2179 days


#12 posted 07-23-2018 02:39 PM

Very nice Ken. You really got creative on these. I really like the knot!

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

View HokieKen's profile

HokieKen

7127 posts in 1341 days


#13 posted 07-23-2018 02:44 PM

Thank you woodcox :-) I do really like the Greenheart and Maple together as well. I’ll be seeing those more in my future methinks…

Hmmm, a deadblow carver’s mallet JayT? Would be kinda nice to be able to develop a nice rythym when chopping mortises. Chika-chicka-thwack-crack, chika-chika-thwack-crack… ;-) Yeah putting that much time and effort into something just to hit stuff is definitely something I’d only do for a swap! Once I stumbled onto that inspiration pic though, I just couldn’t let it go until I’d worked it out.

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

View EarlS's profile

EarlS

1934 posts in 2550 days


#14 posted 07-23-2018 02:49 PM

Kenny – great mallets!!

I’m curious if you had noticeable wood shrink/swell differences on the lamination. I noticed several of the laminations on the mallets I made weren’t flush after a week or so, even though the shop is climate controlled. Even sanding them smooth again didn’t completely fixe the problem. I didn’t think exotics shrink/swell that much more than domestic woods. Everything was acclimated so that shouldn’t have been a problem. Thoughts?

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

View HokieKen's profile

HokieKen

7127 posts in 1341 days


#15 posted 07-23-2018 03:06 PM

Thanks Jeff, these were my first turned mallets and were a lot of work but also a load of fun! :-)


Kenny – great mallets!!

I m curious if you had noticeable wood shrink/swell differences on the lamination. I noticed several of the laminations on the mallets I made weren t flush after a week or so, even though the shop is climate controlled. Even sanding them smooth again didn t completely fixe the problem. I didn t think exotics shrink/swell that much more than domestic woods. Everything was acclimated so that shouldn t have been a problem. Thoughts?

- EarlS

No issues on these Earl. Whenever I do laminations like this for anything that matters though, I always try to work with woods that are known to be stable and when possible, woods that I’ve worked with. With these mallets, I don’t know that you would be able to notice any such differences though. I don’t have any flat, square surfaces like yours. Not only is everything curved but, I incised some small v-grooves at the glue lines between the knot pieces and the main mallet heads. I did it for looks but, it would also serve to minimize any noticeable inconsistencies in the surface as well.

I must say though, I find it unusual that your surfaces would go out-of-flush for glued laminations… It seems that once glued, you may get cracking in one wood or the other if the rates of expansion/contraction were greatly different. Or cupping/bowing/twisting depending on grain orientation. But, for flush surfaces to separate and become un-flush, it would almost have to be a case of the glue joint failing in shear due to the expansion.

I’m not sure but you’ve definitely piqued my curiousity. I’d be interested in exploring further if you want to share the wood types and how the laminations were accomplished as well as how the separation occurred. Would definitely be good information to have for any woodworker! I will say, I haven’t seen any issues with the mallet Tony made me that has Maple sandwiched between Purpleheart.

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

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