$ 5 Mallet OR How to Make a Leather Handle

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Introduction: $ 5 Mallet OR How to Make a Leather Handle

Tandy Leather Contest 2016

Runner Up in the
Tandy Leather Contest 2016

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


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TOTAL $ 5


Tools used:



• drill
• hole saw for wood 7 cm
• wood drill 10 mm
• heat gun
• saw
• lathe
• 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

a.
Assemble the mallet on the carriage bolt:

1. plastic head
2. washer
3. leather handle
4. washer
5. capping nut

b.
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.

c.
Have fun with your mallet :)

d.
If you liked my instructable, please vote for me in the Tandy leather contest

https://www.instructables.com/contest/tandy2016/

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    27 Comments

    Nice handle! I wish I had a lathe.

    I think you're doing just fine with English.

    Halten Sie sich die gute Arbeit, Freund! (Hope Google Translate handled that well...)

    Thank you or Dankeschön :)

    Very nice mallet!
    Just to thoughts - shouldn't it be possible to buy a plastic cylinder that size to avoid all the glueing? Shouldn't be much more expensive.
    I'm also wondering about the toxicity of the super glue and epoxy at the handle. Perhaps best to seal the handle with something else.

    Thanks for the tip. I had another idea afterwards - recycling milk jugs (HDPE). There is an instructable on that and using that as the head. So the mallet gets even cheaper :D When I have enough HDPE I am going to do an instructable on that.

    Looking forward too it!

    hint not tip. sorry :/

    I love to see expert work done like this. The problem with me is, I don't have access to a shop and/or any of the wonderful equipment I see on these post. So, if anyone wants to donate 10 to $20k for me to get some, that would be great. Until then, I'll just set back and watch you guys continue to do a great job coming up with all these cool ideas. Probably for the best any way, my wife would shoot me for living in a great shop like this 26 hours a day. Nice, thanks for the share.

    Semper Fi

    deswiger, you can get many of the tools for pretty cheap off of craigslist, or search around for a makerspace in your area.

    if it comforts you, what you see here is not my shop, it's my grandpas (only a small part of it though) who lives just 5 minutes from here :)