Introduction: Duck Tape Mallet

Picture of Duck Tape Mallet

The purpose of this instructable is to construct a mallet which has a delicate touch that doesn't mar wood. This mallet is not meant for heavy duty work.

I was recently installing some laminate flooring in my house. The flooring needs firm yet gentle taps to get it into the proper position. I started using the steel flooring installation tool that I purchased from the store. It marred the edge of the wood. Even my trusted rubber mallet broke the tongue and groove joints in places.

There were a few duck tape rolls lying around on the floor from installing the padding that goes underneath the floors. I picked one up and gave the flooring a tap. It worked perfectly! So, I decided to make a duck tape mallet.

By the way, visit my site!

Step 1: Required Tools

Picture of Required Tools

- Welder
- Cutoff wheel, reciprocating saw, or hack saw
- Drill press or hand drill
- Wrenches
- Bench vice
- Wire wheel or wire brush
- Awl

Note: Please follow all of the safety instructions that came with your tools.

Step 2: Required Materials

Picture of Required Materials

- Non-galvanized steel tubing
- 2 stainless steel nuts that fit snugly into the tubing
- A few more nuts and washers
- Threaded rod
- A roll of duck tape

Note: none of the materials to be welded should be galvanized or zinc plated! Galvanized steel releases toxic fumes when welded.

Step 3: Prepare the Tubing

Picture of Prepare the Tubing

You can use any kind of non-galvanized tubing to which you have access. I used tubing from an old bike frame for the handle of my mallet. The most important thing is that the nuts you are using fit snugly inside of the tube.

Since my tubing is salvaged from an old bike frame, I needed to clean off the old paint with a wire wheel in my angle grinder, cut it to the length I wanted, and cut off the bike brake mount that was on it.

Step 4: Prepare the Threaded Rod

Picture of Prepare the Threaded Rod

Thread the two stainless steel nuts onto the threaded rod. They should be spaced out equal to the length of your tubing.

Step 5: Insert the Threaded Rod Into the Tubing

Picture of Insert the Threaded Rod Into the Tubing

Insert the threaded rod into the tubing. The nuts should be flush with the ends of the tube.

Step 6: Tack Weld the Nuts to the Tubing

Picture of Tack Weld the Nuts to the Tubing

Put the tubing in your vice and tack weld the nuts to the pipe. Be careful not to weld the threaded rod to the nuts.

Step 7: Remove the Threaded Rod and Finish Welding

Picture of Remove the Threaded Rod and Finish Welding

Remove the threaded rod from the tube, leaving the nuts in place at the ends of the tube. Clamp the tube into your vice and finish welding the nuts to the ends of the tube.

Be careful not to get spatter on the threads of the nuts. Also don't let your welds get too hot and warp the tubing. Make a series of small welds around the nut. Stop to let your welds cool periodically and work on the other end of the tube.

After that, re-install the threaded rod.

Step 8: Drill Holes in Your Roll of Duct Tape

Picture of Drill Holes in Your Roll of Duct Tape

You will need to measure and mark the points where you need to drill holes in your duck tape roll. I made the lexan guide in the picture a long time ago for finding a rough center of oddly shaped pieces of wood for working on the lathe.

Mark points on both sides of the roll and punch them with an awl. Take your roll over to the drill press and drill holes through your marks with a drill bit that is slightly larger than your threaded rod.

Step 9: Final Assembly

Picture of Final Assembly

Finally, attach the handle to the duck tape roll with nuts and washers.

Step 10: Conclusion

Picture of Conclusion

I am enjoying using this mallet. It has a firm yet delicate touch and conforms a bit to the shape of the object that you are hitting. This distributes the impact over a larger area and is less likely to mar wood than a standard rubber mallet.

You could wrap the handle with duck tape to make a nice grip or paint it. I didn't spend too much time on the aesthetics since, well, it will always be just a roll of duck tape on a stick. :)

If the roll of duck tape wears out and isn't working as well as it once did, then you can easily drill holes in a new roll and install it on the handle.

This is my first instructable, so please let me know if you have any suggestions or ideas on how to make the duck tape mallet or these instructions better. Thanks for reading!


jwolski (author)2010-10-25

Unfortunately, I can't enter the duck tape contest since this instructable was published before the contest began. :(

NutandBolt (author)2010-10-20

I like your ible, I like welding. You had a problem, found a solution, lots of work on a simple tool. Job well done ;-)

jwolski (author)NutandBolt2010-10-20

Thanks NutandBolt! I had fun building it.

kelseymh (author)2010-10-18

Duct tape and the tool for all seasons! What could possibly make this a better Instructable? Oh, yes.....explosions (or maybe K'nex for the juvenile crowd).
Rated and featured, and thank you for the great story!

dombeef (author)kelseymh2010-10-19

Nope, duct tape is better than knex, and how about duct tape explosions?!

jwolski (author)dombeef2010-10-19

Duck tape, WD40, bacon, and explosions.

dombeef (author)jwolski2010-10-20

Yes, when the world is about to end in 2012, i will have all of that in my stomach...

jwolski (author)kelseymh2010-10-19

Thanks kelseymh. I will try to work explosions and k'nex into my next instructable. :)

McGyver2 (author)2010-10-19

Yet another one of the 100000000000001 use for duck tape. Keep up the good work, and great use of resourcefulness!

Book Girl (author)2015-06-06

clever, I wish you could have entered it in the contest

pcanywii (author)2013-06-14

well, it is techniclly duck tape but not completely. when you read the title, you think it is completely made of duck tape, but its not! still, good creativity though. :)

adamazing (author)2010-10-18

I don't suppose there's any reason why you couldn't do away with the tubing and make this a No-weld Duck Tape Mallet.

i.e. Take your idea for the "fancy" handle embellishments and just apply it directly to the threaded rod. Wrap some plastic bags/polythene/whatever plastic the laminate flooring came in, for some padding, then hold it in place with some duct tape.

I also felt a little bad for the poor sacrificial roll of tape :(

foxy1paco (author)adamazing2010-10-19

I have an idea for feeling little to no grief for the sacrificed roll. Why not use a super generic roll that one could pick up at a Dollar Store (here in the Ohio Valley)? It'd be more cost effective and you'd be able to sleep better at night.

ladynchains (author)foxy1paco2012-01-24

Oh, I'd have to use one of the pretty designer rolls for this project. ;)

pie R []ed (author)adamazing2010-10-19

An easy no weld handle could be achieved by drilling trough a dowel (in sections if the bit isn't long enough), sliding the threaded rod through and securing it with a large washer and a nut. For added security you could use some thread lock on the end. 

adamazing (author)pie R []ed2010-10-19

I'm not sure I understand. I don't see any real reason for having a dowel or a metal tube at all. The only reason I could see for the metal tube is to make it more pleasant to hold but neither the metal tube nor the dowel would be particularly comfortable to use for long periods anyway.

As I say above, you could just do the instructable, but instead of welding the nuts to the tube, push the threaded rod through and secure with the nuts and washers. Then just wrap the handle with padding, thereby obviating the need to use the metal tube, or dowel.

jwolski (author)adamazing2010-10-19

I made it with the metal tube for a handle because it seemed like the most straight-forward way to get a solid handle on it. Ideally, I like my tools to have hardwood handles that feel comfortable and age with an attractive patina.

On the other hand, this is a duck tape mallet and is a bit silly (but useful). I think the simple piece of steel pipe with exposed nuts and bolts suit it well and provide the right level of comfort for what it is.

I welcome you to make you own version of it and share with everyone... that is what this site is about. :)

galixy (author)jwolski2010-11-04

I think we are missing the obvious... My version is gonna have a comfortable duct tape handle!

jwolski (author)galixy2010-11-05

Groovy! Post pics of it when you're done! :)

adamazing (author)jwolski2010-10-19

I made it with the metal tube for a handle because it seemed like the most straight-forward way to get a solid handle on it.

Yep, I understand that, and I don't think it's silly at all, it obviously works! There's no point in hand-carving a mahogany handle for a hammer made with a duct tape head :) If I had a welder I might have done the same thing. My initial suggestion was really only brainstorming on what I'd do given that I can't weld and don't have access to a welder. I didn't think Pie R []ed got that, hence my later reply. If I ever have to lay laminate flooring, I'll do a re-make :)

ToniRose (author)adamazing2010-10-19

I would think the tape is still usable for a lot of functions, probably most.

gareth.collier.1985 (author)2012-01-10

you could off set the handle going through the roll to give yourself two firmnesses in one hammer.

codongolev (author)2011-11-10

I thought that this was just something dumb someone made out of boredom. but with the explanation, this is genius! (I was thinking at first that it was a waste of materials, but if a roll of duct tape is three or four dollars, I doubt you'd find a piece of rubber shaped like that for near that price.)

Grimmdeath (author)2011-11-10

Sorry but thats a waste of good tape there

dubdukes (author)2011-10-04

Great creativity! i like the ideas behind this but alas... as i do not have a welder.. this requires some modification..

my idea to improve on this and make the handle a little bit easier to hold (both temperature wise and ease of grip) would be instead of using the metal tube, why not just wrap the threaded bolt with some sort of paracord or rope? or some other soft length of material. then just hot glue it or something in place to keep it from slipping off and coming undone.

Granted, it would take an extra nut on the outside of the role to help keep it in place, but it would be a softer handle grip.

just an idea.

retrotimelord (author)2011-08-01

awesome dude like duct tape has like 10000000000485047917094870914709847012485714879817098709483098470187095148740937189371094878592834756978246927569482765 freckin uses.

retrotimelord (author)2011-06-27


burdockwing (author)2011-04-12

dude that was a waste of duck tape...

harry-h (author)2011-02-10

I love this, wouldn't look out of place as an exhibit in a contemporary art gallery.....smash something up, and then fix it, all with the same tool... :)

ComplacentBard (author)2010-10-20

it looks like you put a stick through a roll of duct tape

jwolski (author)ComplacentBard2010-10-20

Yes, I did. :)

hintss (author)jwolski2010-12-22

you can always fix the duct tape with...wait for it...duct tape!

jwolski (author)2010-11-04

This is your first day on this site and you have gone around insulting people's projects. 6 out of your 7 comments are negative and insulting. You have called people "dumb", "retarded", "special ed", and "gay". By the way, tthere is nothing wrong with being gay and you shouldn't use it as a derogatory term.

Why don't you spend your time on another site if you don't have anything to contribute to this one.

Worlder (author)2010-10-22

What is taht thing? And what can I do with it, tell me more please/

jwolski (author)Worlder2010-10-22

uhhhhh... read the title and description.

Mechanical Advantage (author)2010-10-22

Clever idea! I've used a roll of tape to pound things into place before, but never thought to put a handle on one.

oakback (author)2010-10-19

I had the same problem when installing laminate floor, but I had a different solution. I cut of a scrap piece of flooring, fit it to the tonge/groove of the piece that needed to be snug, and hammered on the scrap piece. This way the force was distributed over the good piece evenly.

jeff-o (author)oakback2010-10-21

That's what I did. But I wish I'd had a duct tape hammer instead.

jwolski (author)oakback2010-10-19

Sounds like a good solution too.

jwolski (author)jwolski2010-10-19

... but you don't get a funky looking hammer to keep and use for other things after you're done. :)

oakback (author)jwolski2010-10-20

Yes, very valid point. I do like the tape mallet, it serves the purpose of a rubber mallet, when a rubber mallet is too hard.

jwolski (author)2010-10-20

Woo-hoo! There is a duck tape contest coming up soon! :) I will enter the duck tape mallet in the competition.

gmjhowe (author)2010-10-19

If you click the reply button in the bottom right hand corner of each comment it will reply directly to the persons comment (which also notifies them).

jwolski (author)gmjhowe2010-10-19

Thanks. :)

jwolski (author)2010-10-18

Good point adamazing. You could also do a no-weld version by extending the threaded rod past the end of the tubing on the handle and securing it with a washer and nut.

...and don't worry about that roll of duck tape. It will be put to good use for many years and it has it's picture on the internet. :)

Thanks for the feedback!

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