Osage Orange Mallet

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Project by RobS posted 03-04-2008 06:49 AM 7680 views 1 time favorited 24 comments Add to Favorites Watch

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

24 comments so far

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 3955 days

#1 posted 03-04-2008 07:07 AM

That VERY cool! Fantastic looking.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View Shawn's profile


225 posts in 4120 days

#2 posted 03-04-2008 07:23 AM

Very Very Cool…next time my wife questions why I collect drift wood I’ll show her this

-- Cheers

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 4213 days

#3 posted 03-04-2008 07:30 AM

You can get another color using plain waterlox. But that looks very nice. mike

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View RobS's profile


1334 posts in 4273 days

#4 posted 03-04-2008 08:00 AM

Thanks Gary, Shawn and Mike.

Shawn – A few of my projects are drift or found wood, so have her check those out too, and pretty soon she’ll be collecting right along with you.

Mike – That color is all wood, the Howard’s darkens it just a hair but no color change. What would the waterlox do?

-- Rob (A) Waxahachie,TX

View Thuan's profile


203 posts in 3785 days

#5 posted 03-04-2008 08:00 AM

If you find a guy who looks like me in your neck of the woods, just tell him what an osage tree looks like and he’ll be on his way. I want to make an adze

I think a plane blade slightly curved would make a good replacement for the stone.

-- Thuan

View RobS's profile


1334 posts in 4273 days

#6 posted 03-04-2008 08:02 AM

Hey Thuan. I’ll keep my eye out for a piece like that, should not be too hard to find…

-- Rob (A) Waxahachie,TX

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3789 days

#7 posted 03-04-2008 12:22 PM


I really like the look of this piece. This is a nice use of “found” wood.

Thanks for sharing.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4127 days

#8 posted 03-04-2008 01:00 PM

You guys are having too much fun!

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View rikkor's profile


11295 posts in 3841 days

#9 posted 03-04-2008 01:42 PM

What a neat find! It looks sooo good…

View scottb's profile


3648 posts in 4294 days

#10 posted 03-04-2008 01:50 PM

Thanks for the mallet – and the encouragement to USE it. I’m sure it’ll help coax lots of things into place, bits of lumber, plugs, 16 penny nails, railroad spikes and the random 4 (or 8) legged shop visitor.

it feels solid – and might even outweigh my hammer.

Keep those ideas on the back burner, I have a couple for future years… useful and beautiful things (tools of different sorts) I haven’t attempted yet.

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- --

View Karson's profile


35111 posts in 4367 days

#11 posted 03-04-2008 04:17 PM

Great discovery Rob. A real caveman tool.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View mjlauro's profile


244 posts in 3728 days

#12 posted 03-04-2008 05:22 PM

Very nice find, all I have is fallen pine and oak where i live.

View cajunpen's profile


14575 posts in 4033 days

#13 posted 03-04-2008 07:13 PM

That is neat. Pine and oak is about all I ever get around here.

-- Bill - "Suit yourself and let the rest be pleased."

View trifern's profile


8135 posts in 3734 days

#14 posted 03-04-2008 07:57 PM

Wow. Can I tromp through your woods?

-- My favorite piece is my last one, my best piece is my next one.

View RobS's profile


1334 posts in 4273 days

#15 posted 03-04-2008 11:20 PM

Thanks everyone. And yes, Trifern, any lumberjock is welcome to check out the woods in my area.

-- Rob (A) Waxahachie,TX

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