Introduction: Make Your Own Plywood Mallet! | DIY Woodworking Tools #1
In the last few weeks, I've noticed that my interest has been moving a lot into woodworking projects*, I found that we have several woodworking tools that I forgot we had: A "Rasp", A "Rasp Planer", And some "Chisels".
These chisels caught my eye: They are around 30 years old! I sharpened them and started using them with a hammer. A metal hammer is a great tool, But is way too aggressive for chisel work, And can also damage the chisel. I remembered about the wooden mallets that Linn makes at the Darbin Orvar YouTube channel and I wanted to make one myself, So I could use it for chisel-work!
I don't have a lot of woodworking tools, But what I used was definitely enough! The wood I used was a scrap plywood piece from my Ultimate Magnetic Pegboard, That I made back in September.
Follow me along in this Instructable, And I'll show you how I made my plywood mallet (And how you can make one too!)
This is a great first time woodworking project! How do I know that? Because it's my first one too!
*This also means that my mind has become flooded with ideas for woodworking projects... :)
Step 1: What You'll Need
Scrap Plywood (Leftover 1.7cm thick Plywood from my Ultimate Magnetic Pegboard)
Lacquer/Finish (Coconut Oil!)
A C-Clamp (If your vise it too small)
Paper Towel (Yep... This is a tool...)
600 Grit Sandpaper
8mm Spur Drill-Bit
Wood Rasp File
Rasp Planer (Not a regular planer, It isn't a mistake)
2 1/8" = 54mm Hole Saw (Or bigger...)
Corded Drill (An 18V cordless Dewalt Drill has a hard time drilling with hole saws, Use a corded one!)
A Lathe (Would have been great but I don't have one)
Hot Hair Dryer
Why: Protect Your Chisels!
Protection Gear Needed: Respirator, Safety Goggles, Headphones
Cost (for me): FREE!
Needed Skills: Beginners Woodworking Skills: Sawing, Basic Chiseling, Planing, Gluing
Approximate Time: It took me 3-4 hours, But if I made one "off camera", It would have probably taken me ~1 hour or so...
Step 2: Drill 4 Holes W/ the Hole-Saw & Keep the 4 "Wood Plugs"
First I clamped the plywood in my vise, It is a lot easier to drill into it that way, Because I don't have a drill-press.
In the beginning, I tried to drill the holes with an 18V DeWalt Cordless Drill, But it wasn't strong enough, So I used a cordless drill instead because it was stronger (more torque). If you don't have a powerful drill, These can also be cut with a cheap Jigsaw.
I drilled 4 holes, And kept the inside circles (As shown in Picture #2). These circles are called "Wood Plugs", Remember that!
Step 3: Scrape Off the Melamine Resin From the Wood Plugs
I believe the plastic-y coat on the wood is called "melamine" (Google didn't help me out a lot).
To make the mallet, You have to remove the melamine coat from the wood:
First, I scraped it off with a sharp Utility Knife. The knife couldn't reach the middle part of the wood plug, So I chiseled it away, With a Chisel, Of course!
I finished the process by smoothing them off with a Rasp Planer, The good thing about a rasp planer is when there isn't any friction between the blade and the wood (The rasp planer just slides off), You know you're done.
Step 4: Glue the 4 Wood Plugs Together
I added some wood glue to each wood plug and clamped them together, My vise wasn't big enough, So I clamped them in a 4" C-Clamp.
According to Matthias Wandel's experiment, It is recommended to clamp them tightly, But not to over tighten it, So there will still be enough glue left. Just use common sense...
This part will now be called "The Mallet's Head"
Step 5: Sanding (Or "Smoothing") the Mallet's Head
If you want to make a Rectangular Mallet, Now is your time (This means: Don't follow my instructions!)
I'm not a big fan of sandpaper.
In the beginning, I used a rasp and a rasp planer to shape the mallet's head into a more precise cylinder.
After that, I clamped my rasp in my bench-vise. I used it to smooth out the edges of the cylinder, This gives the Mallet a "Softer Look".
To finish the sanding process, I kind of over-engineered a DIY sander: My bench vise is too small so it can't hold a sanding stone, So I clamped the sanding stone in a C-Clamp, That I then clamped the C-Clamp in my vise, And that was what I used for sanding down the "Plane Surface" of the cylinder.
See! I will basically do whatever I can just to avoid using sandpaper! If you to see a picture of this ridiculous gadget, Check out Picture #4
Step 6: Wooden Handle (Dowel) for the Mallet: Cutting It to Size
I used a wooden dowel that I had laying around, I chose this Dowel because it it slightly flexible (It won't break when hit), But is also EXTREMELY strong!*
First, I marked it at the size that I wanted with a pen, I chose to mark it at 28cm (11") long. If you're now sure how long you want the handle to be, Make it way longer than you think you'll want it because you can always shorten it...
I clamped the dowel in my Bench-vise and used a regular Hand-Saw to cut it to length.
*This dowel (it's original use wasn't as a dowel, It was "re-purposed") is made of "White Wax" Wood (aka "Ligustrum lucidum". Scientific names are weird...)
Step 7: Cut the Dowel Into a Spear (-ish Shape)
I used a sharp Utility Knife to sharpen the dowel, As if I was starting to make a spear.
I did this so I would be able to make a smaller hole in the Mallet's Head, Which means that the head will be a lot stronger because smaller hole = less harm to the head of the mallet
Although it isn't pictured I did (sadly) use some 600 grit sandpaper to sand the dowel. It's about as smooth as glass now!
Step 8: Drilling a Hole in the Mallet's Head for the Dowel
As I mentioned before, The Mallet's Head needs a hole so it will be possible to insert the Dowel into it (You can't just glue it, It has to sit tightly in the Mallet's Head...)
First, I traced the circumference of the spear onto the Mallet's Head
Secondly, I drilled a hole in the middle of trace (on the Mallet's Head) with an 8mm Drill-bit.
After that, I widened the hole with a chisel and by "wiggling" and moving the drill bit inside of the hole
Lastly, I made sure that the the dowel was a tight fit inside of the hole
Step 9: Glue the Dowel Into the Hole in the Mallet's Head
I wanted to be sure that the handle would never pop out of the whole, So I filled it with glue (even though it did fit very tightly without glue), These are the steps:
I first made sure that the whole hole was filled with glue, By that I mean that all of the "walls" of the hole covered with glue, Not that it I filled up the whole hole with glue to the brim (that would be a waste of glue).
After that, I added some more glue to fill up the space between the Dowel and the hole, Stuck it in with a lot of force with my hammer, And wiped away the excess glue
Step 10: Conceal the Pilot Hole From the Hole-Saw
The wood plugs that this Mallet was made of were made with a Hole-Saw (in case you forgot), And the Hole-Saws left a pilot hole in the middle of the wood plugs.
To solve this (seriously un-serious) problem, I decided to put some wood glue in the hole, And cover it with the sawdust that was produced during the making of this project, Because it's the exact same color.
Now there won't be any evidence that this was made with a Hole-Saw! (Nope, It's just to make it look better...)
Step 11: Coconut Oil Lacquer!
I've seen before that people put lacquer on their finished wood projects because it "pops out" the colors.
I wanted to "pop out" the real colors of the plywood, But I didn't have any lacquer, Didn't want to buy any lacquer, And didn't want to breath in the dangerous fumes of lacquer...
I came up with the idea of using Coconut Oil as a lacquer, Turns out People have done this before!
First, I smeared about a spoonful of Coconut Oil with a paper towel onto the mallet, And then I used a Hot Hair Dryer to spread it out more evenly because real Coconut Oil turns into a liquid at 24°C (76 °F)
Just LOOK at that Difference!
Bonus: Now I have a mallet that smells just amazing...
Step 12: DONE!
You now have your very own homemade woodworking mallet! And best of all: Can you believe that only yesterday this was a junk piece of plywood that was laying around on your floor?
Don't forget to Follow me on Instructables & Let me know if you make one!
I would really appreciate if you voted for me in the Plywood Contest, I am trying to gain new tools for woodworking but I can't really afford them, Thank you so much!