Making a carpenter's mallet?

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Forum topic by Brett posted 09-07-2011 08:41 PM 8115 views 1 time favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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660 posts in 2375 days

09-07-2011 08:41 PM

I’m planning to make a carpenters mallet (the kind with the boxy head), and I have a few questions:

(1) I’m having a little trouble finding a block of hardwood that is the right size (minimum 2.5” x 3.5” x 6.0). In addition to rock maple and beech, is sycamore a good candidates? What other (affordable) woods should I consider?

(2) If I can’t find a solid block of wood to use for the head, can I laminate two or three pieces? Should I use regular wood glue, or something more high-tech to hold the pieces together?

(3) Is hickory a good wood to use for the handle? Should I use the same wood for the handle that I use for the head?


-- More tools, fewer machines.

11 replies so far

View lysdexic's profile


5211 posts in 2315 days

#1 posted 09-07-2011 08:49 PM

This is a great project. I laminated the head in order to facilitate a wedged thru tenon. Just used Titebond II for the glue. The head is made of Jatoba (Brazilian cherry) because I had it on hand. It is very heavy and hard. My handle is made of cherry scraps.

I documented it in my one and only blog (thus far)

-- "It's only wood. Use it." - Smitty

View lysdexic's profile


5211 posts in 2315 days

#2 posted 09-07-2011 08:52 PM

BTW, hickory is a great choice for the handle. I just didn’t have any. Ive heard that dogwood is one of the toughest woods and is a great material especially for a turned mallet.

-- "It's only wood. Use it." - Smitty

View WayneC's profile


13197 posts in 3789 days

#3 posted 09-07-2011 08:53 PM

Nice looking Mallet. Are the faces angled?

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View lysdexic's profile


5211 posts in 2315 days

#4 posted 09-07-2011 09:23 PM

About 5 degrees. A higher angle is more functional but looks a little odd to me. It is a compromise between form and function.

-- "It's only wood. Use it." - Smitty

View Don W's profile

Don W

18363 posts in 2259 days

#5 posted 09-07-2011 09:40 PM

I just made a smaller one. I have a bigger one I made about 25 years ago out of oak. Its laminated. Its worked well for me.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View Brit's profile


7092 posts in 2534 days

#6 posted 09-07-2011 10:28 PM

Beech is a good choice if you can find it.

-- - "The hand speaks to the brain as surely as the brain speaks to the hand." Frank R. Wilson

View Brett's profile


660 posts in 2375 days

#7 posted 09-07-2011 10:29 PM

I like the idea of using the Golden Ratio (suggested by lysdexic his blog) to set the proportions of the head.

-- More tools, fewer machines.

View nfang's profile


8 posts in 2148 days

#8 posted 09-08-2011 07:37 PM

I just finished making one a couple of days ago. You can see it here

View Tootles's profile


796 posts in 2194 days

#9 posted 09-09-2011 12:10 PM

Brett, I can’t say much about the wood to use because I’m considering making a mallet myself and I have the same question. I’m considering oak (australian / tasmanian variety since I’m in Oz) since I would have to go to a specialist shop that is reputed to be quite pricey to get maple or beech.

Regarding proportions of the head, or dimensions generally, you might get something from this plan. It’s something I have filed away if I do get to making one.

-- I may have lost my marbles, but I still have my love of woodworking

View Chris 's profile


1879 posts in 3683 days

#10 posted 09-09-2011 01:20 PM

As far as gluing up the head it’s not a problem. I made a few mallets a couple of years ago with laminated heads and they are still going strong.

Click for details

-- "Everything that is great and inspiring is created by the individual who labors in freedom" -- Albert Einstein

View higtron's profile


229 posts in 2369 days

#11 posted 09-09-2011 03:36 PM

nice mallet Chris I like that one

-- A friend will help you move, a good friend will help you move a body

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