Introduction: Wood Mallet

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I made this wood mallet at Tech Shop (Pittsburgh), utilizing the wood lathe, Bar Clamps, Band Saw, Miter Saw and Drill Press. It took more than a day, but that was mostly due to letting the glue dry... and other projects I had going on.

Why make a wood mallet? There are a lot of reasons for needing a wood mallet, this one was designed to be used as a Metal Shaping Mallet, but you could use the following process to make pretty much any kind of mallet you would like. I wanted to try my hand at making gas tanks and fenders for Motorcycles, and did not want to drop around $80 to buy a plastic set.

Materials needed:
An Oak board (available at any lumber or home improvement store) I got mine at Loews from probably around $15 give or take.
Wood Glue (also available many places including the home improvement store) lucky there was some available for my project at Tech Shop.
I also utilized the scrap wood bin at Tech Shop to find a bit of wood suitable to make the handle.

Step 1: Step 1:

I measured and divided up my oak board into 6 equal pieces and a remnant. Using a ruler and the compound mitersaw in Tech Shops "Wood Shop" area.

Step 2: Step 2:

Glue and Clamp -  Next you want to apply wood glue to the surfaces of your wood pieces. Being not much of a wood worker I was fortunate enough to have Alexis a DC at Tech Shop to give me some pointers. Such as; 
A. Avoid getting glue on the out-er edges of the wood, but make sure to completely cover the faces you are joining
B. Align your pieces so the grains go against each other (in my case you could see a slight U or Rainbow shape... so I glued them so the ends of the rainbow touched each other, if that helps you visualize what I am talking about).
C. Bar Clamps are better for this application than C Clams as they will apply more pressure and more evenly.

Once this is complete it is time to wait for the glue to dry giving it a good 24 hours. since will will be chucking this up in a lather and spinning it at upto 1200 RPM we want to make sure there is a good solid bond.

Step 3: Step 3: Clean the Edges, Find Center, and Chuck It Up

Now with the glue dried... we remove the block from the bar clamps and take it back over the the miter saw. To clean up the ends and
make sure there is a nice even surface on both sides of the block.

We then want to take a pencil and draw a strait line from corner to corner crossing the center of the block (on its ends) to find the center of the piece.

Then we take our block to the ban saw and take off the corners of the block. Making our block into more of an octagon shape will help make the work on the lathe go much faster and easier.

X marks the spot, where we want to set the chucks on the wood lathe. This will help us not waste material getting the work piece centered and round.

Step 4: Step 4: Wood Lathe

The wood lathe is the fun part and where the magic happens.  Taking the "Roughing Gouge" tool we knock off the edges and work our block into a nice cylinder. Taking as little material off as possible to get to a cylinder is ideal. Once there you can play with the other tools and create what ever shapes you want.

I wanted to get a "pear" shape mallet with about a 3" head on one side and a smaller surface on the opposite side. Its a pretty easy process working on the wood lathe and practice certainly helps. I just eyeballed this and got a pretty good result the first time.

After I got the shape I was after, I applied sand paper (220 grit , then 300 grit, then 400 grit) while it was still chucked up. I did however reverse the direction of the lathes rotation as it made it more comfortable to sand.  at the end I used some of the shavings packed into a puck in my palm to burnish the mallet head giving it a nice glossy finish

Step 5: Step 5: Un Chucked

I then removed the mallet head from the lathe cut off the end pieces that was holding it in place and used some sand paper in  the cup of my had to smooth it out.

We then set up the mallet head in the drill press to drill out a hole through the center... where we could glue and tap in a wooden handle (also made on the lather using the same steps as previously outlined).

Step 6: Step 6: the Test

Once done... it was time to test it out. I grabbed a scrap piece of 14 gauge sheet steel and started pounding... the hammer did its job better than I did mine. Time to start practicing a new skill set, I made this bowl with the first run of the mallet.

Hope you found this informitive and useful.