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Need help with a mallet design

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Forum topic by christherookie posted 1545 days ago 3189 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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christherookie

45 posts in 1545 days


1545 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: mallet

I’m pretty new to woodworking. Just finished my own workbench (for $50 with 2×4’s and plywood) and I’m ready to start a few small projects. My desire is start with handmade tools. My plan is first a mallet and then a measuring gauge.

I have seen a few mallet designs and before I buy the wrong wood or other materials, here are my questions.

1. How wide should the mallet head be?
2. I’m planning on using solid oak. Is that ok? I’m going to be the occasional weekend worker so I’m not using the mallet 8 hours a day every day.
3. When it comes to laminating a mallet head together, such as with two sides and a middle section, what type of glue should I use?

Thanks for your help.

oh, my tools are few. power tools: hand drill, circular saw, and jigsaw. hand tools: the basics. I do have a woodworkers vise on my bench – an el cheapo for now.


12 replies so far

View Eagle1's profile

Eagle1

2060 posts in 1563 days


#1 posted 1545 days ago

Haven’t built my own mallet. But if you do a search here on lumberjock’s you might be able to get some info.

-- Tim, Missouri ....Inside every older person is a younger person wondering what the heck happened

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8473 posts in 2147 days


#2 posted 1545 days ago

glue can be any wood glue such as titebond (I, II, III) Elmers yellow glue, or similar. I use Titebond I mostly.

Oak should be ok for the mallet, and the head should be hefty, usually if you’ll laminate 3 layers of 3/4” you’ll get a rough width of 2 1/4” for the head. rest of the measurements are really personal, and are up to you to choose, just make sure it has some weight to it. 3×5 is a good size, but draw it out and see how it looks/feels to you.

and most important – welcome to Lumberjocks! :) sounds like you are one already.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

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christherookie

45 posts in 1545 days


#3 posted 1545 days ago

Thanks!

Tim: there are quite a few great handmade mallets on LJ but little in the way of specifics.

PurpLec: That’s exactly the stuff I needed to know. I see a trip to the store happening after work! I’ll grab some graph paper and plan it out first, though.

Oh yeah, should I stain/coat it with something?

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PurpLev

8473 posts in 2147 days


#4 posted 1545 days ago

you can put Boiled Linseed Oil or similar (penetrating oil finish) to make it more durable, but I wouldn’t put anything else on it such as a top coat finish since you want it to stay soft (not the hard coating of a poly finish) and with some friction (not the smoothness of a poly finish).

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View UnionLabel's profile

UnionLabel

660 posts in 1699 days


#5 posted 1545 days ago

It is important to remember that the wood’s annual rings should be parallel to the direction of the hammer strikes, ensuring maximum handle durability. This is also true for all hammer and axe handles.

-- Methods are many,Principles are few.Methods change often,Principles never do.

View Chris Wright's profile

Chris Wright

524 posts in 1979 days


#6 posted 1545 days ago

Are you planning on making a hammer type mallet or a turned carvers mallet? I wouldn’t use Oak (specifically red oak) for a carvers mallet because the open grain would splinter after extended use. As a hammer style mallet I think it would be ok, especially if you pad the face with lather. Beech, walnut and maple make great mallet heads also. As for glue up, regular yellow glue (titebond, elmers, etc.) will work fine.

-- "At its best, life is completely unpredictable." - Christopher Walken

View christherookie's profile

christherookie

45 posts in 1545 days


#7 posted 1545 days ago

UnionLabel: Excellent point.

Chris: a hammer type. Rectangular head. I’ll use it on chisels and any place else where a regular hammer is damaging.

A long time ago, I found a simple cheat for preventing hammer damage – put a paperback book on the item and then hammer the book.

View UnionLabel's profile

UnionLabel

660 posts in 1699 days


#8 posted 1545 days ago

Chris, here is the location for a simple mallet plan.
http://www.leevalley.com/home/Articles.aspx?c=2&cat=32%2c47175&action=32

-- Methods are many,Principles are few.Methods change often,Principles never do.

View woodchic's profile

woodchic

826 posts in 1856 days


#9 posted 1545 days ago

You could go to Lee Jesbergers page also. He has made some very nice mallets I am sure he could give you the information that you need.

AKA…..........Woodchic

-- Robin Renee'

View Jim Crockett (USN Retired)'s profile

Jim Crockett (USN Retired)

852 posts in 2231 days


#10 posted 1543 days ago

Why not just print your graph paper rather than making a trip to the store.

Free online graph paper

Jim

-- A veteran is someone who, at one point in his/her life, wrote a blank check made payable to "The United States of America," for an amount of "up to and including his/her life".

View christherookie's profile

christherookie

45 posts in 1545 days


#11 posted 1542 days ago

Thanks Jim. That’s exactly the site I use.

Update: The mallet is done. If you looked at it, you’d think it was the pure work of a gen…um, no, that’s not the right phrase. It’s a sight to beho….um, no, that’s not it either. It’s not to shabby. Yep, that’s the right phrase. :)

I’ll post up a photo tonight. It’s a three-piece head with lead fishing weights added. Everything is made from oak. Laminated together with titebond. Handle is about 12 inches long with 3 inches of that inside the head. ok, so it’s 12” in total length. Once it was laminated together and allowed to dry, I sanded it down and put on a coat of the Boiled Linseed Oil. I added a small ring-bolt in the end of the handle so it could hang above my bench.

To be honest, one mallet-face side is angled wrong. After the glue dried the next day (before I oiled it), I put it in a vise and pulled out my circular saw to even up a misaligned piece. That didn’t go as planned. I cut straight across but I didn’t have the blade perpendicular to the head – it was slightly askew. :( I figure it’s a reminder that I’m a rookie with this with limited tools. I’m proud of the mallet. If I wanted, I’ve got a friend who said he could square that side up for me. Next weekend project is a measuring gauge.

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christherookie

45 posts in 1545 days


#12 posted 1539 days ago

Project has been added!
http://lumberjocks.com/projects/27262

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