Maple & Purple Heart Chisel Mallet

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Project by woodchips posted 09-21-2008 03:57 PM 7530 views 5 times favorited 21 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Here is my second attempt at a chisel mallet. My first one was solid maple and I’m currently using it in my shop pretty exclusively as a chisel mallet but if other things need a little “persuading” I use it for that stuff too. My reasoning behind putting purple heart around the head of each side of the mallet was for added weight and hardness but I have a question for any of you more experienced lumberjocks, will the purpleheart stand up being beat on a chisel handle without splintering off. I glued it up using titebond III and clamped for at least 12 hours. This is intended to be a Christmas gift for my brother. He doesn’t have a woodshop yet but as soon as they begin building that’s the first thing he’s going to build. So let me know what ya’ll think about the durability of the purpleheart. My solid maple hammer has stood up well under some very hard blows when I was cleaning out some mortises on whiteoak, so I was hoping the purpleheart would too.

Thanks for looking.

oh and I’m going to try and put an extra pic of the hammer here.Maple & Purpleheart Hammer

incidentally, the maple used for this hammer is reclaimed from an old maple bed frame that was being thrown away. I got about 15 full bend frames that were being thrown out from the women’s dorm of the university where I work in Plant Services. It’s a great place to work because I’m always getting first access to all kinds of wood. I just LOVE wood!

-- "Repetition is a leading cause of carelessness, and carelessness usually leads to injury"

21 comments so far

View Wooder's profile


163 posts in 4209 days

#1 posted 09-21-2008 04:57 PM

Fine looking mallet!

One question. Is the Purple Heart gonna be “impact” resisitant enough? Just wondering.


-- Jimmy

View USCJeff's profile


1063 posts in 4091 days

#2 posted 09-21-2008 05:19 PM

While PH is plenty hard, I found it a little brittle. I’ve only purchased about 10BF and it was all from the same place, so I can only speak from a limited sample of it. I used it as a letter opener and it held a sharp edge. I’m curious as well, hope someone will chime in with a bit more knowledge. Need a mallet myself.

-- Jeff, South Carolina

View brianinpa's profile


1812 posts in 3746 days

#3 posted 09-21-2008 05:32 PM

Nice mallet: I wonder if I would use something that looks that nice.

-- Brian, Lebanon PA, If you aren’t having fun doing it, find something else to do.

View kolwdwrkr's profile


2821 posts in 3613 days

#4 posted 09-21-2008 06:07 PM

I’d be curious to see how this holds up too. It does look beautiful and made well. But I’ve found PH to be brittle too, and believe that the corners will soon be on the floor. But, it depends on what the user is using it for I guess. Maybe it’s a show piece? Good job at any rate.

-- ~ Inspiring those who inspire me ~

View mleedix's profile


63 posts in 3573 days

#5 posted 09-21-2008 06:11 PM

I’ll put it this way…

A few months back my front wheel drive car threw a bearing. They are of
course pressed in. With the lack of any real tools to get the old bearing out
I grabbed a scrap piece of PurpleHeart, cut it to the proper width. It was
approx. 10” x 1 3/4”. Lined it up and hit with a 3 lb mallet, it successfully
drove out the bearing. To my surprize the purpleheart had very slight compression
marks from the mallet but that was it, the wood sustained some pretty serious
blows from a three lb mallet.

We use loads of the wood, I love it! It is tough enough that Alva Hardwoods down in
FLA [my sons used to work for them] sells it to truckers for floorboards in the trailers.
PurpleHeart can be a bit brittle on the endgrain, thus we always protect the edges of a board. I can’t really
tell if you have or not, but I’d round over the edges of the mallet. With that done your mallet
should last for years to come. That is if you dare to use such a beautiful tool!

-- - Michael "Over 300000 species of trees, yet we take the credit for their beauty..."

View kolwdwrkr's profile


2821 posts in 3613 days

#6 posted 09-21-2008 06:22 PM

The problem is that if you round over the ends you loose some of the face that you are hitting with, and you could end up reflecting off the round edge on accident. Maybe if the tool was made with the face grain exposed it would be good, but the entire face of the mallet is end grain and in my opinion will splinter. But then again, how hard are you going to be swinging it?

-- ~ Inspiring those who inspire me ~

View woodyone's profile


231 posts in 3614 days

#7 posted 09-21-2008 07:00 PM

Thats one fancy looking mallet, I’m sure you brother will love it. Well done.


-- Woody, UK

View scottb's profile


3648 posts in 4350 days

#8 posted 09-21-2008 08:27 PM

Nice looking mallet – and in my High School Colors! – I’d wondered about that combination of woods, you’ve sold me – and perhaps I’ll have some nice gifts for fellow alumni.

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

View woodchips's profile


238 posts in 3987 days

#9 posted 09-21-2008 08:36 PM

thanks for all the kind words ya’ll. i did put a slight chamfer on the edges of each face in order to protect the edges from splintering but i suppose only time will tell. if it does hold up well then i’ll let ya’ll know after the new year when it has seen some use.

-- "Repetition is a leading cause of carelessness, and carelessness usually leads to injury"

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 3608 days

#10 posted 09-21-2008 09:34 PM

I love the design and workmanship on this nicest mallet I have ever seen.I was turning some pens last week and also found purpleheart to be very brittle shearing apart when being drilled and turned however I made a few will post pics later well done anyway sir god bless your friend in Scotland Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View Allison's profile


819 posts in 3822 days

#11 posted 09-21-2008 10:15 PM

Personally I would use this to hang up for looks in my house before I used it. It is way to nice looking to use it!! Thank you for sharing. You also just gave me an idea on a fun project for myself. Thanks

-- Allison, Northeastern Ca. Remember, Amateurs built the Ark. Professionals built the Titanic!

View trifern's profile


8135 posts in 3790 days

#12 posted 09-22-2008 12:16 AM

That is the most elegant tool of persuasion I’ve ever seen. Thanks for sharing.

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

View Bob A in NJ's profile

Bob A in NJ

1232 posts in 4022 days

#13 posted 09-22-2008 01:59 AM

Great design and construction. i think it will take the beating but I’d hang it up as a show piece.

-- Bob A in NJ

View Woodhacker's profile


1139 posts in 3746 days

#14 posted 09-22-2008 03:51 AM

Very impressive Isaac….you’ve done a great job with this one. You’re brother will love it…it’ll be hard for him to take that first blow.

My experience with PH is like others here…very hard, but can be brittle. I think it will hold up fine though…even if you’re brother does decide to use it.

-- Martin, Kansas

View Hesed's profile


36 posts in 3679 days

#15 posted 09-22-2008 05:55 AM

I can’t tell how big the stump is that the mallet is sitting on, but it looks like a giant’s mallet! How big is that thing?

Very nice work!

showing 1 through 15 of 21 comments

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