|Project by RobS||posted 03-04-2008 06:49 AM||6938 views||1 time favorited||24 comments|
Osage Orange Mallet
There is a lot of old dead osage orange in the wooded area by my house. Occasionally I’ll come across pieces of interest, be it uniquely shaped or having a special characteristic. This was one of those pieces; I saw the mallet right away, still in the fallen branch of course. Trimmed it closer to final sizing and set it in the shed..
Sometime this fall, Scott inquired about continuing our Christmas exchange of handcrafted items, I said sure and pondered about what to make (ha, pondered all the way up thru Christmas). I won’t mention the other items I thought of since I still have to plan for many a future exchanges (we hope), but did finally decide that who better to get a nature/hand made carpenters mallet then a fellow jock.
Now for those of you not familiar with osage orange, you might say, “An old dead branch turned into a mallet, well I think I’ll let you keep it Rob.” Think again, osage orange, as it ages, almost petrifies, its very hard and rot resistant. As I made some final cuts, following Blake’s tip here about the face (Thanks Blake), I noticed a couple hairline cracks across both ends. So even after a few test hits and still feeling good about the strength and stability of the wood, I elected to strategically place two 1.5” long, 5/8” oak dowels into the head to help prevent further cracking. The dowels are double wedged with slivers of maple, in both the bottom and top of the dowel.
Sanded it with upto 220 grit and finished with two coats of the family favorite Howard’s Orange Wax and Feed and a few passes 0000 steel wool.
Couple tips for usage Scott, THIS is the best it should EVER look, use it as it was intended to be used, for woodworking. And I noticed while handling that even though the grip feels good to our dominant right hands, it almost feels better in the left, so use it and then pass it on to our favorite southpaw, your daughter and my niece.
Now…. it’s hammer time.
-- Rob (A) Waxahachie,TX