Linseed Oil Mallet





Introduction: Linseed Oil Mallet

Many wooden mallets are too light for their size. Feeding your mallet with linseed (flaxseed) oil increases its weight, making it easier to use. It also makes it more durable, and stops absorption of water from the atmosphere that might otherwise damage or distort the mallet over time. And on top of this, it make the mallet beautiful to look at, adding a patina that makes an otherwise identikit shop-bought tool thoroughly unique!

Step 1: Gather Materials

You will need:

  • A mallet. Kind of hard to hack a mallet without one!
  • Boiled linseed oil also known as flaxseed oil in some parts of the world
  • White spirit also known as mineral spirits in some parts of the world
  • Container to hold the oil - disposable or inert (glass)
  • Time. Annoying if you are impatient, but unavoidable

Step 2: Clean Your Mallet

First, weigh your mallet! Just because it is always satisfying to know exactly how much heavier it gets during the process. `

thoroughly clean your mallet - particularly if you are using a store-bought mallet. First, clean it down with water then use white (mineral) spirit to make sure it is completely clean

Then, allow the head of the mallet to sit for a few minutes in a little white (mineral) spirit. This will allow the pores in the wood to open up, and as it evaporates it will help the wood to absorb the oil through capillary action.

Step 3: Soak in Linseed Oil

Pour some linseed (flaxseed) oil into your container. Add a small amount of white (mineral) spirit - this will evaporate quickly but will assist in the first take-up of the oil. Stand the head of the mallet into the oil bath. Don't completely immerse the mallet in oil. When the oil 'dries' it is actually polymerising, a chemical reaction which requires oxygen. So without oxygen present, the mallet will not absorb and retain the oil properly.

Then wait.

And wait some more.

Get a little bored and fiddle with the mallet just in case it might speed things up.

Occasionally you might want to top up the oil in the container, just to feel like you are doing something.

After a day or two, you will see oil bubbling to the top of the mallet as it has made its way all the way through the grain of the wood. You will probably also see an area where the mallet handle has stopped the linseed oil from penetrating all the way through. So now, you need to turn the mallet over and repeat the process on the other side of the mallet.

Step 4: Dry and Use!

You can repeat this process for several weeks if you choose - the longer you do, the heavier the mallet will become. Our mallet was left for around three days. In this time it became noticeably heavier, and, as you can see, absorbed a large amount of oil.

We then oiled the handle just to make it match. The oil dries quickly (because we did not fully immerse the mallet - if we had, it would take weeks or even months). At this point the mallet is finished and ready for use!



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Please be positive and constructive.




I have recently done this on 2 wooden mallets of mine.

The 2 took 1.25lt of oil, the difference was great.

I also did a set of beech handle engraving chisels and the mallet. but added 1/2 a bottle of lavender essential oil to the Linseed Oil.

When my friend works that set you get a plessent smell.


Are there any differences in Boiled Linseed oil vs Raw Linseed oil? If so, how would they reflect in this application?

Any linseed oil is drying. "boiled" linseed just dries faster. Boiled linseed gives me heartburn as do many other things that contain solvents. As for any quantity being "safe" or not, that is going to depend on context and many toxins, including metals, can be cumulative. In most cases, such as this one, the faster drying time is not important.

This is a common question, and a good one. This statement is by a leading wood finishing expert:

Michael Dresdner: Boiled linseed oil is a drying
oil, which means that it will go from liquid to a solid film in a day or
two after it is applied to wood. Once it is dry, it is quite safe.

As you probably know, raw linseed oil, sold as flax seed oil in the
grocery store, is edible and considered by some to be a health food
supplement. To make boiled linseed oil, metal salts are added. They
cause the oil to dry faster. While these render boiled linseed oil
inedible, you'd have to consume a decent amount before it would be
toxic. However, once the oil is dry, the metals are trapped in the film,
making it perfectly safe for use on furniture.

Incidentally, the single most hazardous aspect of boiled linseed oil
is fire risk. Oily rags or towels, if left in a pile, generate enough
heat during cure that they can spontaneously combust, smoldering and
eventually bursting into flame all by themselves. Make sure you lay your
used oil wipes out one layer thick so they can dissipate that heat
while drying. Once they are dry and crusty, they are landfill safe and
can go out with the household trash.

Boiled linseed oil has additives that accelerate drying time, but render it somewhat toxic. Raw linseed oil can be applied without gloves, and can be used when food safety is a concern (cutting boards, salad bowls, etc.). Either should be fine for this application, but raw is more pleasant to work with!

I like it, I am going to use this method to protect my wooden tools and nicely done ! :)

"Without oxygen, the mallet will not absorb the oil at all"

Really? Why not?

Its a bit Null and Void this comment as unless you put this in a Vacuum, the process will happen either way.

I agree that it was poorly worded, and I have been back and edited accordingly.

If you are able to put the mallet head in the oil and put it in a bell jar on a vacuum plate, and suck all the air out with a strong vacuum pump, you should be able to saturate the mallet in much less time. As soon as you let the air pressure back in, it will press the oil into all the pores of the wood.