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Best wood (and finish) for crab mallets

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Forum topic by HapHazzard posted 09-19-2017 11:07 PM 371 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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HapHazzard

101 posts in 648 days


09-19-2017 11:07 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question wood selection kitchen tool

I just discovered we don’t have any crab mallets—but I do have a lathe!

I have some white ash, a little American hickory, walnut, cherry and a few treasured pieces of American hornbeam. The hornbeam would be a no brainer for a mallet head, and maybe some hickory for the handle, but while I know the hickory holds up okay to getting wet, I don’t know about the hornbeam, and I have no idea how safe either wood is for food handling. In the shop I normally linseed oil or shellac my tools and handles, but that won’t fly in the kitchen. I know you can get food quality linseed (aka flax seed) oil, but I don’t believe that’s good for wood finishing, amiright?

-- Unix programmers never die; they just > /dev/null


7 replies so far

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papadan

3584 posts in 3149 days


#1 posted 09-20-2017 12:05 AM

Which wood you use doesn’t matter for something like this. Seal them with several coats of water based polyurethane and they will be hard, water proof, and safe to use on food products.

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LittleShaver

179 posts in 400 days


#2 posted 09-20-2017 05:08 PM

I use 75% Mineral Oil 25% Bees Wax for anything that needs to be food safe. Looks very similar to BLO when applied but nothing potentially harmful in it.

-- Sawdust Maker

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Gilley23

311 posts in 162 days


#3 posted 09-20-2017 05:26 PM

I like a heavier wood for crab mallets. The cheap disposable mallets are lightweight, a heavier mallet just feels nicer and more quality.

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msinc

88 posts in 284 days


#4 posted 09-20-2017 05:40 PM



I like a heavier wood for crab mallets. The cheap disposable mallets are lightweight, a heavier mallet just feels nicer and more quality.

- Gilley23

This…....It does matter what wood for a crab mallet. You want the heavier wood available. I mean, I get that any ole wood will do, how hard do you have to hit a crab claw? But, heavy does feel better and gets the job done easier and it takes the same effort to make one out of pine as it does some exotic jungle wood so why not make it look good?
I see beech commonly used for different mallets so I guess that would do fine for a crab mallet. My favorite wood for mallets though has always been osage orange. It has it all, it is heavy, dense and hard…plus the golden yellow glow is pretty.

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Bill_Steele

193 posts in 1512 days


#5 posted 09-20-2017 06:09 PM

Lignum Vitae (mallet head)
Hickory (handle)
Polyurethane (finish)

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papadan

3584 posts in 3149 days


#6 posted 09-20-2017 06:26 PM

I like the idea of Osage, but you might lose your mallet in a pile of crab shells. LOL

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HapHazzard

101 posts in 648 days


#7 posted 09-21-2017 01:06 AM

Good to see we’re all in agreement!

Seriously, though. I appreciate the feedback. Just a few more dumb questions/comments:

Polyurethane: I’m kinda leaning towards the oil and beeswax. I used to use poly, but I always felt like I was coating the wood in plastic, and if I’m going to do that, why not just make them out of plastic?

Lignum vitae: Is that still available? I thought it was endangered.

Beech: I do have some pieces of some kind of beech. I forgot about them. Somehow it doesn’t feel dense enough, but I’ll take another look.

Boxwood is another so-dense-it-doesn’t-float wood, but it’s tough to find it. Does anybody know where I could find some, or would it cost more than it’s worth?

-- Unix programmers never die; they just > /dev/null

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