|Project by woodsyman||posted 04-09-2013 02:37 PM||1203 views||0 times favorited||2 comments|
Every year out in Santa’s workshop (ie my shop) I try to make as many handmade gifts for friends and family. Usually, come mid-December I realize that the clock is ticking and I still haven’t built anything yet. Then, in a mad dash, I take on way too much work in far too short of a time, just to see if I can pull it all together and bring some smiles out during the holidays. It is a fun challenge, and as of yet I have always been able to finish what gifts I intended on giving.
This past Christmas was no different. On the list was a towel storage cabinet for the bathroom my brothers and I finished for her, a plaque for my dad to place one of his many deer mounts, some hand-made clamps (I’ll show these eventually) and some mallets. As you can imagine it was a pretty wild couple weeks late December, something I’m sure many of you can relate to. The mallets though were an absolute joy to build.
I built one on a test run to see how it goes and what the process was. Then after coming up with a routine, I mass produced the ones you see in the photo. The woods I used were white hard maple, and the other is a variety of oak that I found from a pallet at work that was going to be thrown away. I’m telling you, some of the things that get thrown out at work I’ll never be able to understand. At any rate, that oak variety turned out to be very beautiful once milled.
So the head is pretty straight forward: basically a rectangular block, bevel the striking faces, tapered mortise for the handle to fit, and add the chamfer to ease all of the edges. I drilled relief holes and followed up with my starter hollow chisel mortiser, boy did that ever cut the time down on these. The handle was pretty tricky though. I’d recently discovered the world of offset turning and thought I’d try my hand at this technique on the handles. I’m glad I did it too, these handles are very comfortable. The stock I started with on the handles was maybe an 1-1/8” so not a lot of wiggle room when offset turning. It was rather intimidating to turn the lathe on for the first time knowing that the workpiece wasn’t centered. But, everything went smoothly, you just have to go pretty easy with it.
The taper on the handle was cut to match the tapered mortise. Once fit, they hold together very strongly, there isn’t a better mechanical joint than the matching tapered parts. I left them unfinished, figured if the end user wanted to finish them they could. Afterall, these are worker mallets, not wall hangings. Besides, I didn’t have time anyway, I had to apply finish to that cabinet. Everyone who got was pretty happy to open these as gifts. I love getting the phone calls later about how they’ve been put to use. Oh, I kept the prototype for my use, can’t let everyone have all the fun.
-- Peace be with you!