Reply by palaswood

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Posted on Summer Mallet/Hammer Swap 2018

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1056 posts in 1986 days

#1 posted 04-30-2018 06:25 PM

In my experience, anything softer than white oak or hard maple won’t hold up to heavy banging for too many seasons, so if anyone wants to review a list of ‘hard’ hardwoods, you can find a Janka hardness scale here.

Just my 2 cents, and maybe not even worth that, but white oak is rated at about 1350 janka hardness (on wood-database), hard maple 1450. Personally, for a joiners mallet, striking with the end grain, I like to keep it above ~1500 and for a carvers mallet, where face/edge grain will be making contact with the chisel/gouge, then I would think even harder wood is going to hold up in the long run. I have some hard maple carvers mallets that are simply destroyed after a few projects but I am hardly careful not to damage the tool face, since im focused on the end result. Maybe something north of 1600/1700 on the janka scale makes more sense. Some will go right to the lignum vitae, and they may be onto something.

I’m considering something in the realm of a rosewood…

-- Joseph, Irvine CA, @palas_woodcraft on Instagram

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