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​Wood lathes are pretty cool. You can turn an old log into something useful and have a lot of fun doing it.

This is a little project showing how to cut down a lot, turn it to a blank for turning, and then do some very basic shaping so that you end up with a wooden mallet you can use for chiseling, leather stamping, or popping bubbles.

Disclaimer: I don't know much about wood turning; I just have fun with it. I'd be glad to hear tips from the experts out there.

I also don't own a lathe, so I made it at techshop (techshop.ws), which has a nice wood lathe and tools to borrow.

Step 1: Find Yourself a Log

Check the "free stuff" ads on craigslist. People are getting rid of old wood / logs / lumber all the time.

Things to keep in mind:
  • Knots / burls / etc. aren't necessarily a bad thing. You get some pretty interesting grains if you use something with a lot of knots.
  • Green wood cuts more easily, but it can crack when it dries if you aren't careful. The risk is worth the fun of making easy, smooth cuts, in my mind. 
  • Rotted sections / voids will make your life harder, but may lead to a more interesting final piece.
This log is a piece of green mulberry (I believe) from a guy who had just cut down a tree in his backyard.
<p>Nice work and a very clear Instructable!</p><p>This is my attempt at a mallet on the lathe. It was my first turning project and I think it came out pretty nice. I haven't finished the wood yet.</p>
<p>Sweet, looks awesome!</p>
<p>Looks great. My only suggestion would be to ease the edge of the mallet at the top. The 90 degree corner would chip out after a while. You may have done this but I couldn't see in the pictures.</p>
Thanks! Yeah, I did a tiny little chamfer, but probably could have done more.
<p>It looks nice... Do you realize you made a mallet out of a beautiful piece of &quot;Burl&quot;??</p>
Indeed!
<p>Beautiful! And great technique!</p>
Thanks!

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