Finger Mallet From a Tree Branch | DIY Woodworking Tools #8




About: -----------------------------------------------------------------16 year old, sick with a deadly disease called DIY-itis!-----------------------------------------------------------------Hi FTC! My I'bles con...

I've built quite a bit of mallets in the past months. A Plywood Mallet, A Hot-Glue Mallet, And my favorite: A Dead-Blow Mallet from an old transformer.

What I haven't built, is a small and light duty mallet.

So today, I'll show you how to make a small mallet that attaches to your finger (without a handle), from an old Olive wood tree branch. This also my first woodturning project, so I'll probably make a bunch of mistakes ;)

I don't know how useful this will be, but my goal was to go do some woodturning, take good pictures, and hopefully have a lot of fun, which I definitely did!

Let's get started!

*Pssst! Don't forget to check out more info about the giveaway in the comments!

Step 1: What You'll Need:

Hardware & Materials:

A Tree Branch (I used Olive wood)

Chemicals & Adhesives:


Tools (+Attachments):


Turning tools


Homemade Wooden Vise



Fine & Course Files (or Sandpaper)

12mm Drill-Bit (The diameter of my finger)


Electric/Power Tools:


6-in-1 Woodworking Machine (It contains the Lathe)


Why: First woodturning project: A Mallet!

Recommended Safety Equipment: Earmuffs, Respirator, Safety Goggles

Cost (for me): FREE!

Difficulty: Medium

Approximate Time: 2 Hours

Step 2: Leave Your Chosen Branch to Dry

After choosing the branch that I wanted, I Iet it dry for a couple months.

Right before starting the project, I noticed that the wood attracted some tiny bugs, so I put it in the sun for a few days to kill them.

Step 3: Saw Off the Twigs (small Branches)

I sawed off the small twigs that I thought would annoy me while turning the wood. At this point I realized that a wood that reads almost 3000 on the Janka Scale, is not something that is easy to work with hand tools, but I kept going.

I also did my best to square up the edges, so it would be easier to mount the branch in the Lathe.

Step 4: Mount the Branch in the Lathe

I've never done any woodturning projects, so some of the things that I mention here may be either very obvious, or incorrect.

This Lathe is made mostly of Aluminum so I thought it would be a good idea to clamp it down to the table because it would stop any vibrations. Keep in mind that I have modified this Lathe so it will be able to hold bigger pieces of wood-- This is a kit that is meant to be used for smaller turning projects.

I hammered the drive center (I think that's the name) into the center of one end, and pushed the center of the other side into the tailstock.

Ready for turning!

Step 5: Start Turning!

As you might know, or see, I don't have any of those fancy carbide gouges or super sharp chisels, so I had to improvise with what I had.

Other than the fact that it shoots razor sharp pieces of wood at you, woodturning is pretty fun. And yes, Rasp Planes work fairly well for this!

Step 6: Smooth Out the Blank

Blank. That's what it's called, isn't it?

I wanted to experiment with smoothing it out with files, and it worked pretty well. I started with a rough file, and then moved on to a super fine one, as shown in the pictures.

Step 7: Saw, & Square the Edges Again

To save some work, I let the Lathe turn the wood, and held the hacksaw in place.

After I was done with one side, I clamped the blank onto the table, and sawed the other, again, with a hacksaw. This wood feels harder than metal!

Step 8: Drill a Hole in the Middle of the Blank

After clamping the blank in my Homemade Wooden Vise, I used a 12mm Spade Drill-Bit to drill a hole in the middle.

Why 12 millimeters? That's the diameter of my finger. Choose the Bit according to the diameter of your finger, or a handle, if you want to add one

Step 9: Apply Varnish

I used a paintbrush to apply 1 coat of varnish. I wanted to see how well it would hold up, since this is a light duty Mallet.


Step 10: Have Fun! Use It!

What kind of projects do you think that this can be used for?

Non-decoration ones, that is! :)


As always, thank you so much for voting!

Don't forget to Follow me on Instructables, I have over 70 Instructables that I'm sure you'd like!

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If you have any more ideas for future Instructables, leave them in the comment section below!

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    27 Discussions


    3 years ago

    Do you want a FREE PRO Membership?

    I'm giving a FREE 3-Months PRO Membership to the first member that makes a their own finger mallet from a tree branch!

    What you have to do to be able to receive the free membership:

    1. Follow me on Instructables

    2. Reply to this message with pictures of the end result (And any explanations, If you want)

    3. Nothing! I will PM you the free code!

    Come-on, Let's make something!

    2 replies

    Reply 3 years ago

    I would totally do this, but sadly lack the tools. Great idea though!


    Reply 3 years ago

    Thank you! I don't know what tools you have, but this can be made with a drill and a regular kitchen knife...

    I guess that if you don't have a Lathe, it wouldn't be worth all of the effort :)

    Brokk Hrafnsson

    1 year ago

    I have absolutely no idea how useful it is, but it looks very nice when its done ;) Congrats

    1 reply

    2 years ago

    How do you use a mallet that sits on your finger?

    1 reply

    2 years ago


    Are you really 13? If so, that's pretty cool! I'm 13 and i'm getting started with electronics and also love taking stuff apart!

    1 reply

    3 years ago

    Awesome! Where did you purchase your lathe? I'm interested in getting into woodturning.

    4 replies

    Reply 3 years ago

    Thanks! I got this lathe here, but keep in mind that there are other ones out there, and if you want to save some money, you can also build one (If you have the skills :)

    By the way, the tools and materials that are used my Instructables are always in Step #1 (or Step #2, in case I make a step for the "plan")


    Reply 3 years ago

    I see...

    I don't see why it shouldn't work, basically all it is a sharp piece of metal... (A "sharp piece of metal"-- "How dare that kid talk like that about our $500+ chisels like that!")


    Reply 3 years ago

    Did you replace the HSS cutter with a different, harder one? How long did it stay sharp, or did you sharpen it more often? (Because it's a metal lathe).

    The lathe has a tiny tool rest, but since I modified it to hold bigger items, I can't use it. Though I can always add a piece of wood...

    I've tried using the circular saw, and several more tools, but I find that the tools that I have don't really work that well. After all, I don't think this gouge is for woodturning :)


    Reply 3 years ago

    What did you use it for? :)