Monstrous Mallets


Mallet by thewoodstudio.usOminous, eh? But seriously you could do some damage with this thing. I suppose you could scale it down, but what's the fun in that? I have found that it is actually quite nimble at this size, you can choke up for fine taps and slide down when you're hogging out material. This one is made out of Mahogany(which I had a block of) and Hickory for the handle. You can make them out of anything relatively hard, Oaks, Maples, Ash, Hickory, you get the idea. I like the contrast of the light hickory with the deep red of the Mahogany, I suppose Walnut would give a similar contrast, and I have plenty of big cutoffs lying around the shop of that as well. Screen Shot 2014-05-01 at 1.09.17 PMI used this quick CAD drawing as a rough guide to dimensions, different sized mallets will have different advantages and uses. A mallet this size wouldn't be so great for fine carving but it does wonders when you really need some force. Since this was a mystery block of Mahogany, I'm not sure which subspecies it is, and with the hardness of different types of Mahogany all over the board, I'm not sure how long this head will last. I will say however, this seems like relatively dense stuff, and with a few whacks on the bench it passed my rigorous test for mallet heads. Obviously your wood choices for your mallets are important, but understandably most of us are limited to cutoffs that are lying around the shop. The good thing is that if your mallet doesn't wind up lasting a lifetime, you can always make a new one. It's a great way to skill build as well! After you've selected your stocks, it's time to mill it up, if you're lucky/smart your choice was already squared up from the previous project. Cut them a little oversize to give yourself some wiggle room. Now it's time to start laying out your cut lines. Using a bevel gauge set at roughly 3° from perpendicular and a square of some sort, transfer your lines around to the mallet head. Use a marking gauge to scribe out your through mortise, I recommend a handle thickness of 1", this tends to fit nicely in your hands and is enough material to give you a solid mallet. I leave the head square until I've cut my through mortise, it helps with holding it in the vise. I start on the narrower side of the mortise and drill out most of the waste on the drill press, I then flip over the mallet head and starting from the center hog out waste with the drill press until I'm lined up with the narrow side. Mallet by thewoodstudio.usFrom here it's hand and chisel work to finish off the corners and create your tapered mortise. The handle is cut over length and then the bevel is marked and cut on the band saw. Once you've got your handle slide it into the head and check your fit, by leaving your handle long you'll be able to make up for any imperfections in your mortise angle and not have to worry about the head flying across the shop. After you've established your mallet head won't be going anywhere feel free to cut off the extra length. I finish these with a quick coat of BLO(boiled linseed oil) and put them to work!      

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