A traditional woodsmans tool.
Step 1: Warning Triangle Time
Step 2: Tools:
Axe or large chisel
Drawknife or sharp knife
Step 3: Choose Your Log
Any hardwood is OK, Apple, Plum or Cherry is very good Holly is too, and Hawthawne, if there are any knots or branch points these will make the mallet tougher, so keep these at the head end.
I should point out that if using some green woods particularly Cherry, there is the possibility of cracking when drying, so maybe go for a mostly dry log.
Step 4: Mark Out
Step 5: Next
Start to cut around the circumfrence half way along the 30cm log, you want to leave the middle or 'core' intact and depending on the size of the user's hand this can be anything from 30 - 50mm (see diagram).
**Take care not to cut too deep as this will weaken the handle.
Step 6: Cut
Taper the handle in from the end, towards the head - this will improve grip and stop the mallet from slipping from your hand in use.
Then use a drawknife or a sharp knife for a smoother finish.
Step 7: Amost Done
Step 8: Finally
There you have it, a simple and effective tool.