# a mallet as goofy as I am

 Project by Von posted 04-29-2013 06:12 AM 710 views 0 times favorited 5 comments

I have alluded to it in the past but I have to mention it again; my arch enemies are hammers. Big hammers, small ones, yadda yadda yadda. It’s a bit of a joke amongst those who know me well. Friends and family come over and stand still, eagerly awaiting that moment when hammer meets flesh and I let out some sort of Germanic obscenity. But that is not why they all stand around gawking…it’s because they know that as long as I have a grip on the dumb thing…..it’s gunna happen again. And maybe again. And maybe again.

Now, I know how to use a hammer. Honest. No, seriously I do. I also know that somehow, no matter HOW careful I am, I am gunna smack myself with it. I’d like to blame the “math” of how a person swings a hammer; how the surfaces of the hammer and the whatever-you-are-beating-on have to match perfectly. Two planes colliding at odd angles creates torque and ricochet…. ok… I give up on the math explanation. My theory is that no matter how I try, the grip I have on most hammers is always at some odd angle to my target. So I gave the problem and theory a bit of thought. If I hold a hammer handle this way… and the surface faces that way… how do I make the mallet/hammer face the right way when I swing?.....hmm….. a twist here, a bend in the handle there….a counterweight behind the wrist….......

The result is one awfully crooked handle, but perfectly balanced and adjusted for my swing pattern for either my right or left hand. As goofy a shape as this thing is, the mallet stays perpendicular to whatever I’m using it on.

How did I get the handle so oddly shaped? I actually went out into the woods and picked a birch tree with a branch that was bent in just the right way as to match my needs. After letting it season and dry for a couple years I figured it was time to make some use of it.

The joinery is press-fit round mortise, tenon, and wedges. No glue or screws. No real finnish beyond sanding down to 300 grit.

The mallet head is hard Poplar that I hand turned from a firewood stick to it’s round-ish shape. (done barehanded over a 4” belt sander, ever so slowly because a lathe is still on my wishlist) The wedges are soft jack pine and a scrap of chokecherry shrub. The handle is white birch. Weight is around 2 or 3 pounds, but it’s counter balanced behind the wrist so it swings really smooth with no “reverb” on impact that some mallets and hammers create.

...and yes, I have already managed to smack myself with this a few times. so I guess that makes the “math” irrelevant after all…..