There is something so fundamentally - I don't know how to describe it.
I like the feeling of absolutely razor sharp chisels cutting through wood.
I like the fact that I am in total control of each cut, it's direction, depth and that I can make the blade cut where I want it too, on a stroke by stroke basis.
I like the fact that it's ME carving the wood and not a machine - it's a conscious process.
I like the fact that it's generally quiet and meditative and methodical.
I like the fact that I am not using machines that are loud, powerful, fast, noisy and can go totally out of control - ever so quickly when things fail or I am directly responsible for taking dangerous, lazy, ignorant, excuse making short cuts and inadequate preparation and dilligence etc..
I like the fact that wood is an incredibly dynamic 3D medium to work with.
I like the fact that it's a very sensual and tactile process.
I like the fact that you have time to think while doing it.
And I also like soft faced rubber mallets.
Why? - Because the "soft faced" rubber mallets have a smoother more progressive drive, than hard rubber or wooden mallets give.
They are also comparatively silent when used at 3am...
The best rubber mallets are the cheapest of the horrible ones from China. You know the ones, the handles work loose evvery five minutes, the rubber is a mix of rubber, charoal, carbon, ash, and coal tar. And the rubber is as hard as rock.
Step 1: The First Step to Fixing the Rubber Mallet, Is to Glue the Head on - Properly.
Or wrestle the damned thing loose - this should also take about 5 minutes.
Scrape the wooden hande in it's joint part, with the edge of broken glass - this is a good scraper.
Clean out the hole with naptha, shellite, acetone, white spirit, etc ., to remove the crud from the surface of the rubber.
Fill the hole with a goodly dose of contact cement, not too much, but enough to properly coat the inside of the hole, and rub the same wet contact adhesive over the joint part of the handle.
Work the two parts togther while the adhesive is still wet, and leave the excess to exude around the base of the joint.
Make sure the handle is fully seated inside the head.
Leave for about 10 - 14 days in a warm place to dry properly.
Step 2: Prepare Your Rubber Mallet - for the Soft Facing.
But the best knives for scraping and cleaning rubber, have the very fine teeth or serrations in them.
Step 3: Scrape One Face of the Head.
Scrape until the rubber is BLACK, clean and very, very rough.....
Scrape around the edge of the face as well.
Apply a coat of silicon adhesive - for fish tanks, guttering, windows, etc., across the face, and trowel it flatish..
About 6 or 7mm or so seems to be the ideal thickness..
3 or 4mm is too thin, and 10mm + is too thick.
Step 4: Finished! - and Wait for the Silicon to Set.
It's a millisecond type of event - and it makes for better cutting.
It works nice on light blow, detail work, as well as fine shaping, in general timber work.
The silicon is also soft on the wooden handled chisels... and it lasts quite well.
That is until you use a HUGE chisel, in hard wood, by belting it with a small mallet.
As long as it's all in moderation, the facing is basically permanent.
The silicon, takes say 3 or 4 days to fully cure if it's about 6 or 7 mm thick.
I ONLY use the neutral cure silicon, as I dislike the acetic curing and the fumes etc..
It's also verrrrrrrry quiet.