mallet type

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Forum topic by planeBill posted 09-07-2014 08:18 AM 1157 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View planeBill's profile


506 posts in 2404 days

09-07-2014 08:18 AM

I see them done here a lot, probably because they are very easy to make quickly and cheaply but my question is who prefers a long-grain striking surface (carvers type mallet) and who prefers an end-grain striking surface (the other type) and why. I have my reasons as well as to the type I like but have a piece of lignum vitae big enough for 20 mallets and don’t know if I should turn a nice one and if I should turn one with an integral handle (I don’t know if I want to use THAT much of my LV or not), turn just a head and fix a nice handle t it of some other wood (think Blue Spruce) or make the kind I usually make, any of the vast types that are more squarish carpenters type mallets but for some reason I want a nice mallet made of this extremely dense wood, one type or the other.
Anybody have any strong opinions one way or the other?

-- I was born at a very young age, as I grew up, I got older.

6 replies so far

View JohnChung's profile


408 posts in 2069 days

#1 posted 09-07-2014 04:41 PM

I suggest you try both. I work fine on the “square” mallet. It does provide a heavy blow. For small work the carver mallet works easier as you can control the hit better and have a visual indication where to hit the chisel handle.

View bigblockyeti's profile


5112 posts in 1716 days

#2 posted 09-07-2014 04:46 PM

I like long grain for light impact work, end grain for heavier work, like chopping mortises. I would have a very hard time turning a lignum vitae mallet with an integral handle as I think the wood is just too valuable when a much more accessible wood would serve just as well for a handle.

View planeBill's profile


506 posts in 2404 days

#3 posted 09-08-2014 12:21 AM

bigblock, I think youre right, that wood isn’t cheap and its sort of hard to come by. Maybe a two piece deal with a handle of a different wood would work. Isnt the bluespruce mallet made this way too. I wonder how they are joined and how well they hold up, even to light strikes?
John, ive tried both but it has been a long time since last using a round mallet and was wondering if, even though hard as a rock, the grain would crush on the LV. guess if one hits something hard enough it will huh? The round type mallets have always appeared more pleasing to the eye and can be quite artistic.Honestly, I prefer the square type for most jobs but was thinking that maybe I should expand my skills (what little I have) and give the carvers type a second chance.
Thanks for your opinions guys.

-- I was born at a very young age, as I grew up, I got older.

View bondogaposis's profile


4723 posts in 2346 days

#4 posted 09-08-2014 12:28 AM

I like both. I use the carver type round mallets for chopping dovetails and mortises. For “persuading” joints together I use the square joiners mallet.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Pezking7p's profile


3217 posts in 1646 days

#5 posted 09-08-2014 01:04 AM

I have a very heavy square mallet and a lighter square mallet. I like the heavy one for chopping mortises and for light work. It’s very easy to make light taps with the big mallet and I find it’s easy on my wrist, and I don’t have to pay attention to where I’m swinging.

The lighter square mallet sits on top of my toolbox.

-- -Dan

View pmayer's profile


1028 posts in 3060 days

#6 posted 09-08-2014 02:43 AM

I have a traditional cylinder shaped carver’s mallet that I normally use for chopping dovetails and lighter chisel work, but more frequently I reach for a joiner’s mallet. I like the heft of a traditional joiner’s mallet, but I don’t like the flat surface that invariably dings the work piece (even with chamfered edges or leather pad), causing me to put a piece of scrap between the mallet and the project. I recently made a joiner’s mallet with a design modification that has worked out quite well. I put a gentle dome shape on one end of the mallet, and it provides a much more forgiving strike surface. Using the domed end I can hit the work piece pretty hard without marring it, and in situations where the flat strike surface makes more sense I just flip it around.

If you’re interested, the construction steps are here:

-- PaulMayer,

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