How to Make a Mallet From Milk Jugs!

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Introduction: How to Make a Mallet From Milk Jugs!

About: Come spend some time in the shop. I'm a hobbyist woodworker and professional computer geek in Northern California. I guess my projects will vary widely, and I have no clue what I plan to make next...

HDPE is the plastic used in many household containers including gallon sized milk jugs. I made an Instructable a while back on the processing of HDPE using a blender and toaster oven. Well, I've been banned from touching the kitchen blender! So now I'm just rough cutting the plastic with a razor knife. Honestly? It works fine.

I had to melt down about 7 milk jugs and 3 powdered lemonade containers just to get enough HDPE to make my mallet head. It took a number of hours to process it all. I think I watched a full season of Scrubs in the shop.... :)

The handle of the mallet is made from a cherry board and adds a nice warm contrast to the plastic! This mallet packs a punch and is quite heavy given it smaller size!

Thanks for looking!

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16 Discussions

While it will NEVER compare to the Vitamix [or Blendtec], you can almost always find 'beater' appliances like blenders at a thrift shop [$]. The wife is happy & you don't have to spend forever with the utility knife. The pieces will likely be bigger than the first time, but surely they will be smaller than the second time & in much less time.

I have an old Vitamix. After ~15 years, it made 'chunkies' rather than 'smoothies'. We had to buy a new container because the lid pop out piece started to fall into the smoothies, & the seal on the bottom was not 100% sealed anymore. I saved the first container for this type of project.

Speaking as a wife - if you bought a new container [$$$], she MIGHT let you have the one you theoretically abused. I 'frosted' the inside of my container grinding wheat, & my hubby was a bit 'frosted' that it wasn't clear anymore.

I'm not really a carver but I would like to make a general purpose mallet from this materiel. Do you think it would be possible to take a piece of 1.5 or 2 inch cast iron pipe with a cap on one end. Then coat the insides with something to make it non stick and put the plastic in it with the pipe on a hot plate to melt the plastic, and use the pipe as a mold? I was thinking you could remove the cap and knock the new hammer head out of the pipe.

Hey, just watched this one and the one where you used the Vitamix (if anyone thinks that's not a good use of a Vitamix they've never seen the "Will it Blend?" videos by their competition Blendtec) and I really want to try this now. Just wondering though, have you ever tried heating it in a mold? I guess doing it that way might require a larger heating space than a toaster oven but it seems like if you made a small box mold that could be unscrewed and disassembled than you could melt the plastic inside of it and get a perfect cube or bar shape.

Seems like a lot of work to drill and shape the hole and insert the handle. Maybe an easier way would be to get a large, shallow, wide-mouth glass jar or cheap, deep glass/ceramic small casserole dish, melt the HDPE in that, and while the HDPE is still liquid stick the wooden handle into the melt and let the HDPE solidify. I think the HDPE would hold better to the handle (especially if you had drilled a few holes near the end of the handle or indentations on its edge for the HDPE to flow through) and you would need little machining. Just break the jar/dish off at the end and belt sand the HDPE into final form.

2 replies

I like the idea of casting it with the handle. I wonder if letting it sit at or slightly above melting while in the form would get the bubbles out eventually. Figuring out a square mold what would fit the handle and able to be compressed doesn't sound impossible either though. I also don't have audio right now, what was the melting temperature?

Not enough milk cans at the house right now, but I'm totally gonna start a pile in the basement (shhh.... don't tell the wife)

I don't know if it's the supidest or the greatest way to actually make a mallet. Anyway I love it, I'll probably give it a try !

1 reply

How durable is the mallet? Sorry if you mentioned it in the video, I don't have audio.

Thanks

1 reply