Introduction: $ 5 Mallet OR How to Make a Leather Handle
I was desperately in need of a new mallet for my leather carving. But instead of buying a new and most of the times expensive one, I used what I had at home and some cheap supplies to make my own. And as I am a huge turquoise fan I had to give the handle my personal touch as you can see :)
If you don't have all the tools listet below, you can also skip step 6 to 9 and buy a ready made wooden handle and attach it to the plastic head.
But first of all I have to admit that English isn't my mother tongue and I have a hard time doing this instructable, because some of these tools I can hardly name in German :/ I have to rely on the google translator very much. But most of the pictures should do the job. So please be kind. Thanks!
Step 1: Supplies and Tools
For this mallet you need:
• a plastic cutting board $ 2
• leather scraps > 3,5 mm thick $ 0 (as a leather worker I always have leather scraps)
• carriage bolt 10 x 200 mm $ 1
• capping nut 10 mm $ 0,75
• 2 washers 3 cm $ 0,75
• cyanoacrylate glue $ 0,25 (for the amount used)
• epoxy glue, 2 component, 10 min $ 0,25
TOTAL $ 5
• hole saw for wood 7 cm
• wood drill 10 mm
• heat gun
• drill press
• sanding paper 240, 320, 400, 600
• knife to cut the leather
Step 2: Cutting the Plastic Cutting Board
Use your drill and the 7 cm hole saw for wood and cut circles out of the cutting board.
In my case there were 11 circles, each 0,6 cm thick, so the mallets head is 6,5 cm thick.
Step 3: Form the Mallets Head
As the carriage bolts head isn't round, it was necessary to heat the last plastic circle with a heat gun and form it around the screw.
Step 4: Glue, Glue, Glue
Cut 4x4 cm peaces out of the leather scraps. I wanted a 11 cm long handle, so I glued 30 pieces together. Please consider that in the process of the making the leather sets and gets "thinner".
Lightly sand all pieces (plastic and leather) for a better adhesion.
Glue the leather pieces and the plastic pieces together with the epoxy glue.
As you can see on the photo I changed between the natural leather and the turquoise one, but that's not necessary, it's just a personal preference.
In case of the leather, it's necessary to glue the pieces together and clamp them firmly in a vice or some other means of applying even pressure. You have to leave the leather clamped together for 3 days. The epoxy will cure completely in 24 hours, but you are compressing the leather to a new compact and harder state. It takes 3 days before the leather finally gives up trying to spring back into its original shape.
Step 5: Turning Head on the Lathe (optional)
Turn the plastic head on the lathe (that's not necessary, the mallet will work eather way, but this way it looks better).
Sorry for the bad explanation, but I have absolutely no idea how to translate the process in english. Bad me :(
Step 6: Drill the Center Hole
Use a drill press (in the best case, but a drill and a steady hand should work too) and the 10 mm wood drill to drill the center hole through the leather.
Step 7: Shaping the Leather Handle
Use a sew and cut the handle piece roughly speaking in shape.
Step 8: Turning the Leather Handle
Turn the leather handle on the lathe using a leathe knife that works best for you. Shape the handle as work best for you (size of your hands, personal preference).
Step 9: Assemble and Finish
Assemble the mallet on the carriage bolt:
1. plastic head
3. leather handle
5. capping nut
This finish is maintenance-free, waterproof and behaves just like wood. When you are finished it doesn’t feel like leather any more.
Sand the leather gently to 240 grit sanding paper, then apply a drop of cyanoacrylate glue and immediately rub it over the whole surface with a latex or vinyl gloved finger. You are not trying to saturate the leather, just stick the surface fibres together. Leave it for about half an hour, then sand with 240, 320 and 400 grit sanding paper. Repeat the cyanoacrylate step and finally sand with 600 grit sanding paper. You can even use finer sanding paper but I didn't find it necessary.
Have fun with your mallet :)
If you liked my instructable, please vote for me in the Tandy leather contest