The Goal behind this project was to build a friction fit mallet for chisel work that could be built by anyone in a few simple steps. I knew the mallet would need to be strong and balanced in weight. I used my CNC to cut out the mallet but a Jigsaw could also be used to cut out the shapes.
For this project I used two different species of wood, Red Zebra wood and Walnut. The same design could be used to build a mallet out of one or multiple types of wood. This is a great project to build with small left over pieces you may have.
- Wood Piece 4" X 15" X 1"
- Second Wood Piece 6" X 12" X 1"
- Wood Glue
- CNC or Jigsaw
- Carbide Create Files
- Sand Paper
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Step 1: DESIGNING THE MALLET
I used an SVG file in carbide create to design the mallet. I made it in two separate files, one for each type of wood. You could combine them into one file if your planning on using just one type of wood. Be careful to pay attention to the depth set in the files compared to your material.
I did the work so you don't have to, download the ready to cut files at the bottom of the page.
Step 2: CUTTING DOWN THE MATERIAL
For this project my first step is breaking down the two different woods into usable pieces with minimal waste. I cut a long board into more easily manageable pieces at the miter saw station. The Zebra wood is cut into a 4" X 15" piece, which is the minimum size and will be just big enough to cut the handle and two inside layer pieces. The walnut will but cut down into a 6" x 12" piece, big enough for the larger two outside pieces of the mallet with a little extra left over.
Using a CNC makes this process easier since you don't need to worry about exact thickness or clean edges at this point.
Step 3: CUTTING ON THE CNC
This project can be cut completely on the CNC. I use a 1/4" down cut bit for the entire project. It is important when squaring up the already cut down material on the machine that the grain is running vertically down the mallet handle and ideally will have end grain on the striking sides. This will give both the head and handle strength.
Step 4: SANDING TO UNIFORM
Sand all of the pieces checking to make sure they all align up with each other. To sand mine I used an orbital sander but you can also sand by hand. At this step you are just removing any imperfections or rough cuts from the machine. Try not to remove to much material from an individual piece, if you do don't worry it will be corrected in the later steps.
Step 5: GLUE UP
First Glue the Handle and the two inside pieces (the Red Zebra wood) to one of the mallet head outside pieces (the Walnut). Make sure you check the fit of your handle as you set up the glue. The handle should stick out the top slightly. Using Clamps apply even pressure across the wood and allow to dry.
Once the glue is dry on the first part remove any excess glue and glue on the final outside piece of the mallet head.
Step 6: FINAL SANDING
Finally sand the entire mallet. Maintain the shape of the mallet and evenly sand all surfaces smooth. This is the time to remove any imperfections and alignment issues from the glue up stage.
Using the sander I round the handle on the edges to make a more comfortable grip. I sand the entire mallet starting with 80 grit and work through 150,180 and 220 grit sandpaper.
Step 7: OIL SEAL AND FINISH
Finish the mallet in a finish of your choice. For mine I prefer a penetrating oil followed by a gel Polyethylene for its hardness. This step is my favorite, this is when the wood will really pop and give it that nice shine.
Step 8: Enjoy
The mallet is finished enjoy! Whether you built it to drive dowels or chisels or just hammer some wood together, you now have the right tool for the job.
You Can customize the mallet any way you want, on this mallet I added a chamfered edge around the head. You can also add a name or logo to the face to really make it unique.
CNC Files (Carbide Create Required)
Step 9: .
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