$ 5 Mallet OR How to Make a Leather Handle





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



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

Assemble the mallet on the carriage bolt:

1. plastic head
2. washer
3. leather handle
4. washer
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


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    27 Discussions

    Nice handle! I wish I had a lathe.

    Dr. dB

    1 year ago

    I think you're doing just fine with English.

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

    1 reply

    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.

    3 replies

    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.

    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

    2 replies

    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 :)


    1 year ago

    Nice little mallet you've made and good, instructional pictures as well.

    A little language course:

    What you call a "socket drill" is a hole saw, the "torband screw" is a carriage bolt, shaping something on a lathe is "turning" it and a "drilling machine" is simply a drill or maybe a power drill if you want to specify an electrical drill.

    Cheers! (from another non-English person ;-) )

    2 replies

    Love your english course. I was so unhappy while translating as I hade to completely rely on the translations from the internet. Next time I am going to do better or you are my lecturer :)


    There is a learning curve to get over when writing in a foreign language, especially when you get into a new area of interest/expertise. I have been reading a lot in English since my teens and consider myself rather proficient in everyday English but when I read up on technical stuff there is always some new term/word that can be challenging to find a translation to.

    I some cases I learn words in English before I try to find out what they are in Swedish(my mother tounge)

    lol. When I saw this in my email, I thought it was a German stick grenade. Boy that would be quite the 'ible.

    1 reply

    1 year ago

    Excellent turorial!!! I work with metal on a budget, so I can appreciate the clever use of material in your hammer design. Curious--do you have a favorite hack to find the exact center of a circle? This seems to be a hotly debated topic for crafters, makers and hobbiests.

    2 replies

    Thanks a lot. I am very happy you like it. In my case ther is no hack. For the head the drill does the centering and in case of the handle you make squares just drill a hole and work around it. So the circle cones after the center ;) hope that helps

    Excellent job with the build and with using Google Translate. I have everything needed except the acorn or cap nut.

    If you have some solid rubber casters laying about, they could be used for the head, kind of expensive to purchase though. Old boat trailers have rubber rollers that would also make great mallet heads - I'm talking about the slightly football / rugby ball shaped rollers.

    1 reply

    Thank you to share your idea :) I had another one: using recycled milk jugs aka HDPA. Have to collect some of them and when I am ready I am going to do an instructable on that