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 Post subject: Make your own Mallet
PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2016 3:15 am 
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I know that for many, it is probably more economic to nip down to B&Q or Wickes, and buy a Mallet, but here in Colombia, I have spent four years searching for one, and eventually gave up, I ordered a beech one from Amazon, but with import duties and transport, it cost more than double the list price, I also wanted another with a bit more weight. I hate using a hammer with chisels, so it was time to do something about it, as I have plenty of scrap mahogany.

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I cut the handles on the bandsaw, and shaped them, this gave me the size of the holes I needed to cut in the heads. I then cut the holes in the heads, using firstly a forstner bit in my pillar drill, to take out most of the waste, and finished it off with mallet and chisel. I left the two heads in one piece, until these were completed, as it made the timber easier to handle.

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I then cut the heads on my compound mitre saw with a 5° angle on the face, sanded all the parts, rounding the handle to make it a more comfortable fit in my hand, put a slight chamfer around the faces, then after assembly gave them both a coat of mineral oil.

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I am glad I made two, because I have since noticed a hairline crack in the face of one, which I am sure will split in time, if it does it will be no loss, after all, it was only scrap!!


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 Post subject: Re: Make your own Mallet
PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2016 10:37 pm 
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Nice job.. :thumbright:

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 Post subject: Re: Make your own Mallet
PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2016 3:07 pm 
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as a matter of fact these look pretty cute!


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 Post subject: Re: Make your own Mallet
PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2016 6:07 pm 
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DmitriKara wrote:
as a matter of fact these look pretty cute!


Haha! Thanks...that's one way of describing them :-)


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 Post subject: Re: Make your own Mallet
PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2016 6:32 pm 
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Nice mallet! :thumbright:
I made one some years ago after reading an article in one of the mags. It was a cheat :lol:. The head was made from four pieces of beech which I had from making my bench, glued together to make the 'ole for the 'andle without any chopping out, it worked OK, and IIRC according to the article the one the writer had made had lasted for some years with no mishap. I gave it away so don't know what happened to mine. I did use it though.
I already had (and have) my dad's mallet though from the 60's which still has "5/11" or something in pencil on the end of the handle.
FWIW I actually prefer a round "carvers" type mallet for bench work. I don't like plastic handles, but I have some for general work around the place, and I'm afraid I tap them with the side of the claw hammer these days. One less tool to carry. You can see why the site boys do it.



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 Post subject: Re: Make your own Mallet
PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2016 6:56 pm 
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Dave54 wrote:
Nice mallet! :thumbright:
I made one some years ago after reading an article in one of the mags. It was a cheat :lol:. The head was made from four pieces of beech which I had from making my bench, glued together to make the 'ole for the 'andle without any chopping out, it worked OK, and IIRC according to the article the one the writer had made had lasted for some years with no mishap. I gave it away so don't know what happened to mine. I did use it though.
I already had (and have) my dad's mallet though from the 60's which still has "5/11" or something in pencil on the end of the handle.
FWIW I actually prefer a round "carvers" type mallet for bench work. I don't like plastic handles, but I have some for general work around the place, and I'm afraid I tap them with the side of the claw hammer these days. One less tool to carry. You can see why the site boys do it.


Thanks Dave... I certainly wouldn't describe making a mallet from separate pieces a cheat, it is an alternative method, especially if you want to use different types of wood in the build, there are plenty of youtube videos showing both methods. I know what you mean about using a claw hammer, and until recently I had no option, because I had no mallet, but personally I feel as if I have more control with a mallet than a hammer, also you are less likely to damage the handle of the chisel, but with cheap jobbing chisels I guess that is no great loss.


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 Post subject: Re: Make your own Mallet
PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2016 7:05 pm 
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Funny thing preferences. I don't particularly have a problem with using a hammer from an actual physical POV, but it feels "wrong" somehow. :lol:
An old joiner I met years ago, despised plastic handles and hitting them with the hammer. He used a cross pein hammer as well. That was back in the 70s, and he was past retirement then, so I'll have a guess he did his time in the 20s. A very different world.



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 Post subject: Re: Make your own Mallet
PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2016 10:34 pm 
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Dave54 wrote:
An old joiner I met years ago, despised plastic handles and hitting them with the hammer. He used a cross pein hammer as well.

But traditionally a site carpenter would have had a set of registered mortise chisels - the sort with a steel ferrules round the tops of the handles (a bit like Japanese chisels) which were specifically designed to be struck with a steel hammer for heavy work - I've actually found two of these under floors on the present job left, no doubt, by long dead carpenters. Those handles, often of ash to withstand the pounding (hickory was American and expensive) could be specified for most types of chisels, although the tool makers advised against it for lighter tools such as bevel edge chisels because they (in particular) were much lighter than the modern, lumpen variety and consequently weren't designed to be belted by a big lump of cast steel. One reason you see so many bent examples at flea markets, I suppose. That trad site carpenter would also have had a set of firmer chisels (his mainstay) which would have wooden handles and be hand "driven", but only a few bevel edge chisels (lighter, more delicate/fragile) and maybe only a couple of paring chisels. The "cross pein" hammer (your engineering heritage is showing :wink: ) would possibly have been a Warrington hammer, although there were other types such as Exter and London patterns (to name two), more than likely because the flat pein can be used to start panel pins and nails were pulled with a pair of Lancashire or possibly Tower-pattern (ball and claw) pincers and not one of those rough American adze-eye claw hammers which were the invention of the devil, surely? Trades change as do the attitutes to tools. I wonder how he'd feel about my main site chisels? - through-tanged, plastic handled and fitted with a steel striking cap and designed specifically to be hit with a hammer because a site carpenter doesn't carry a mallet........ he hasn't got the strength (well, I don't, anyways), what with all the other tackle which weighs him down. :lol:

Incidentally I recently took a roll of registered chisels, firmer chisels and a couple of paring chisels to a job where I needed to do some more traditional work. It fair freaked out the 2nd year apprentice :lol: :shock:

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OK, I'm an "old school" chippie, so please don't ask me to do a bodge job - I didn't bring my horse today and in any case you don't seem to have a hitching rail!


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 Post subject: Re: Make your own Mallet
PostPosted: Thu Mar 31, 2016 12:59 pm 
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The guy was working when I met him. Putting fire doors on an amenity block, meals room, showers etc. I was doing some work near there and got talking. He was IIRC semi retired then, and a bit miffed at being dragged off the bench to hang these doors. The gist was that these doors were special in some way, which they may well have been, (They were massively heavy and had big jamb closers on them. They opened straight out onto a continuous production line.) and the younger blokes couldn't be trusted to do the job properly. I wasn't much into woodwork back then, but (again IIRC it's nearly 40 years ago) he had firmer chisels and, as you say a Warrington hammer and pincers.
You're right, the engineering background still shows. I've rarely had to talk about woodwork really, mostly working alone, so I tend call things what I think of them as.


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 Post subject: Re: Make your own Mallet
PostPosted: Thu Mar 31, 2016 9:34 pm 
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Hi,

Nice work PhilCop; isn't it wonderful to use something you've made yourself? :huray:

Thanks for sharing. :salute:

Kind regards, Col.

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 Post subject: Re: Make your own Mallet
PostPosted: Thu Mar 31, 2016 10:36 pm 
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Dave54 wrote:
He was IIRC semi retired then, and a bit miffed at being dragged off the bench to hang these doors.

Ah! So a bench joiner. Some of those guys really hate site carpenters - and the conditions you have to work in out in the real world :lol: The way I've sometimes seen old timers use a Warrington hammer to drive their chisels when recessing for a hinge, lock or keeper is to tap the end of the chisel with the cheek (side part of the hammer head) whilst gripping the head itself. The mallet thing isn't really to do with weight - it's volume, which in the days before everyone having their own van meant having a tool kit you could lug round in a couple of basses.

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 Post subject: Re: Make your own Mallet
PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2016 10:10 pm 
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I've got a couple of the traditional mallets . Once many years ago an apprentice asked to borrow my mallet which I was ok with. He looked after it but I found that one mallet between two ( and sometimes three or more as others borrowed the mallet too ) resulted in me not having a mallet when I wanted it. So I ended up knocking one up quickly , and I do mean quickly . An off cut of semi green oak about four inches square or so with a piece of broom handle . Almost embarrassingly I've still got it and still use it.
Another mallet i use is made from a piece of yew. A simple branch around three inches in diameter , bark removed and one end thinned down so the whole thing looks like a wine bottle.


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