Introduction: Make a One Piece Club Mallet

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This is how to make a club mallet from a log, Cherry in this case.
A traditional woodsmans tool.

Step 1: Warning Triangle Time

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Take care when using sharp tools!!!

Step 2: Tools:

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Axe or large chisel
Drawknife or sharp knife

Step 3: Choose Your Log

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Around 30cm long and 150mm diameter is a good starting point, but you can make it any size you like.
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

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Mark a circle in the center on the handle end of the log about 20mm larger than the handle will be.

Step 5: Next

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I usually mark the saw at the depth at which you want to cut to, and then use it as a reference all the way around but allowing for the log not being perfectly round.
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

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Now take an axe or large chisel and split the wood away from around the handle, start away from the circle you marked and work your way inwards, if using an axe, as you get nearer the to the circle change to a chisel for more control.
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

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Cut off the mallet at the required length and saw off any branch stubs.

Step 8: Finally

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Take off the bark and any sapwood then chamfer the edges.
There you have it, a simple and effective tool.


Argfyle made it! (author)2015-10-06

Thanks for the idea :)
A good moment indeed and a useful tool as well ...

Yes, the feeling of satisfaction is hard to beat.

DavidBoase (author)2015-01-29

And so it goes on!

There are a lot of good books around but I suppose the main man is Mike Abbott, often considered to be a leader of the green woodworking revival, the two books which come to mind are : 'Green Woodwork' and 'Living Wood'

DavidBoase (author)2015-01-26

Just wanted to say thanks for the brilliant, simple guide. I followed the steps and made my own rough n ready monster. It's made of Yew and it's full of knots so hopefully it will last me a while. I'll be using it for hedgelaying and log splitting.

That looks like it could do some damage, Good choice of wood, just a thought but if you took a few inches off the handle it would balance better, although you're probably happy with it as it is, the 'knottyness' should hold it all together nicely - well done.

Cheers I am in the shed. Believe it or not, the balance is pretty good. That club is pretty dense! It's also just long enough for me to get both hands round for a more 'persuasive' swing, too.

I am planning to make a few more of varying (smaller) size, though. It seems to be very addictive!

It's so satisfying to make something personal to you, I have made many of these in various styles to suit the user, dry stone wallers, hurdle makers, basket makers and lumberjacks included.... Make more and spread them around - I heard recently that one of mine made in North Wales has been to Canada, and now lives in Ireland, that feels good.

That is very cool, and a well travelled mallet!
I get the feeling I'll be making lots of them now. Could you recommend any good literature on the subject, btw?

9000_red (author)2012-05-21

The measurement should be taken from the teeth up, not from the spine of the saw down. You marked it correctly in your photo, but the drawing is slightly misleading. Great article and something I plan to try!

I didn't take a measurement, I merely marked the saw as an indicator as to when to stop sawing. I didn't say anything about measuring from the spine.

I thought I would share the finished product.

Well done, that looks like it would be good for carving, thanks for sharing.

Thanks for the plans! I plan to make a few more.

You're welcome, It can be addictive - as you have found.

9000_red (author)9000_red2012-05-23

Image didn't upload, here's a link:

overblast (author)2012-01-27

"Take care when using sharp tools!!!"

Goes very nicely with a wooden mallet !!!! :D

Yes indeed... and the tools used to make the mallet.

spylock (author)2012-04-22

I made one of these about 8 or 10 years ago,and it gets used alot,a real handy tool to make.

The Metal One (author)2012-01-22

once again, excellent work. i made a two piece mallet from apple wood a while back, but this seems to be a much better method. skal (thank you)!

Thanks, The two piece mallets are good for most things but when you want to really give something a good whack - like log splitting - then this is the job. One I made from Holly has a 13" long x 9" diameter head, which can't be used for too long without damaging your shoulder.

Dr Qui (author)I am in the shed!2012-01-24

When you say log splitting i take it you mean splitting a log along its length with a series of wedges and not as in something to hit the head of a axe that is stuck in a block of firewood?  

You would have arms on you like Popeye if you worked with one of these all day.

Its no wonder that we now live longer, its because men no longer have to use tools like this on a daily basis and you don't wear out as quick, I don't even go into my shed on days that the power is switched off lol.

Good to see the old skills kept alive I hate to see them just being forgotten.

The Metal One (author)Dr Qui2012-02-10

i do have arms like Popeye, no joke. it helps that i am a young, healthy individual, but my health has been positively affected by all the exercise i get using hand tools. the main reason we live longer today is that we understand our bodies and have access to better medical technonogy, not the advent of power-tools.

I am in the shed! (author)Dr Qui2012-01-25

Well, both really... its usually my weapon of choice for anything which requires a good whack, we don't have any power in the greenwoodworking shed apart from a light, we are all relatively fit and healthy in the coppicing group - that says a lot I s'pose.

beats the use of a ten pound sledge all day for sure

meddler (author)2012-02-10

That, is a neat idea. Can't wait to try it.

GainEnergy (author)2012-01-26

VERY CLEVER IDEA!!! AM going to share this with my husband!!! He loves to make anything out any wood scraps!!! Thank you very much for sharing this!!!

Thank you, You're welcome!

jongscx (author)2012-01-26

I misread the title and thought this was a mallet you brought "to the club"...

and what club do you go to then? :P

Phil11 (author)2012-01-26

Great instructable, great looking mallet!
I made two mallets similar to the one in this instructable out of beech recently and the one that I have indoors has cracks. Adds to the character!
Have to disagree with the gent who says people live longer because they don't use tools like these, but heavy powered hand tools can give a good workout too!

r-philp (author)2012-01-23

that looks like a fantastic tool, and I may have a go a making one myself.
In your last photo, the bark still looks pretty green. Do you have any trouble with the wood splitting as it dries, or do you do something to address that?

Dr Qui (author)r-philp2012-01-24

From my experience of trying to dry timber blanks from fallen or log pile timber, I have found that when you chose the log that does not seem to have any cracks in it is best to actually take about 6 inches of the end of the log and then cut of the desired length to work with. I found that small cracks would be forming at the ends of the log and they stay hidden until you work the piece and it starts drying and at this point they just snap open. by cutting away the end to about 5-6" you should have less chance of it splitting.

Also avoid knots as they will give trouble.

The secret of drying out is absolutely no heat or dont leave it sitting in direct sunlight, keep it some where cool with a good air flow and you will be laughing, if you workshop is heated you are more likely to have it crack, I turned green wood bowls that came up lovely only to wake the next morning to see it crack from being brought into a centrally heated house. now they stay out in a drying box for at least 6 months before I dare bring them indoors.

I am in the shed! (author)Dr Qui2012-01-25

I'm involved in a local coppicing group and we work the wood green so we tend to leave it in big pieces outside and cut it as needed, sometimes the ends are waxed or painted but this doesn's always make much difference depending on the species.
Once the wood is split and the tension is released in the fibres, the risk of cracking is greatly reduced soI just over cut the length by a few inches. This mostly works.
Other than that I have several friends in forestry/timber who cut and plank, so I usually get my seasoned stock from them.

Awesome mallet, jumping on the dry/cracking wood thread. One trick that does take a little advance planning that some of my woodworking friends use is to dry your log out before you even cut down the tree. The tree in question has most of its branch tips cut off to where they are an inch or wider. Then go to the base of the tree and remove a 6 inch wide swath of bark around the bottom of the tree, and walk away for several months if you can wait that long. Drys out much faster this I find with less waist and reduce cracking. Anyway, this is not a new idea, and I'm sure it has its cons as well. Our user names are similar, though yours is a little more appropriate.

jongscx (author)iminthebathroom2012-01-26

That's the same thing beavers do to kill trees, right? It's called Girdling or Collaring or something similar I think.

To be honest its dripping wet! and now orange, I didn't have anything dry to use, and Cherry is notorius for cracking, but this has happened several times and doesn't usually affect the use of the mallet. We had one which lasted for over seven years, and was known as the 'clapper' due to the sound it made.
I suppose I should edit the text to warn people - thanks for mentioning it.

I am in the shed! (author)2012-01-26

These were not really intended to last very long - originally.

1hotpilot (author)2012-01-26

I am totally inexperienced with making my own tools. I have been taught the reason for wood splitting lengthwise (called checking) as it dries is due to the difference in density of the center core, heartwood, and the outer softwood. I can't help thinking that starting with a much larger diameter & using only the heartwood for the mallet that spliting & cracking would be much much less. I suppose if the material is stripped of the outer layers before drying it might hold it's integrity better. Those who know, please educate me of the downsides & pitfalls this method encounters.

morfmir (author)2012-01-26

I like your work, that mallet looks god and durable. To prevent the mallet from cracking it would be a god idea to soak the mallet in lineseed oil.
I have made a lot of this kind of mallets for my woodworking classes, my favorite wood is elm or hawthorn.


Dr Qui (author)2012-01-24

When i first saw the Title of one piece mallet i though that would not work from my own experience of turning mallets, but when I saw the traditional woodsman tool it was oh yeah big and clunky throw away thing made from what is growing on site.

I made a few mall work shop mallets from White thorn, I like them as they take no tile to make and you can be rough on them as they get recycled into the fire when they jet to tatty to work with.

I was glad to see that the wood you are using has the same dark inner core as the stuff I have, I had 2 large branches come down in a storm just before Christmas, I just got the last of it cut up yesterday. I plan to season it into turning blanks.

bricobart (author)2012-01-24

Nice work, I like!

Thank you friend.

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