How to Turn a Log Into a Mallet




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Making a mallet out of a log is a fun project. Some friends cut down a black walnut tree in their backyard, so I picked up a few logs, and I figured a mallet would be a great project to make out of one of them. Of course, you could use any wood that's square or round to make this!

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Step 1: Materials & Tools Needed

Materials Needed:

  • A log, or a square / round piece of wood

Tools Needed:

  • a small ax
  • a draw knife
  • a hand saw
  • a lathe

Step 2: Pairing Down the Wood

Shape the Wood:

Make sure your log or wood is relatively straight. Start with removing the bark. I used a small ax for this job, which I sharpened first. I took my time and kept chopping away the bark. I used walnut for wood, and there were also a lot of sapwood that had to be removed in order to get to the dark walnut part.

Once most of the bark was gone, I moved on to using a draw knife to straighten out the piece further and making it as round as possible before putting it on the lathe.

Cut to size:

Using a hand saw cut the piece down to a good size, a little longer than you want the final mallet to be.

Step 3: Shape on the Lathe


Shape on the lathe: when you have a relatively round, even piece put it on the lathe and start shaping it round. Decide your dimensions: how long do you want the handle, and the head, and carve out marks for where the head starts and ends, and where the handle ends. Then keep turning and reducing the handle, smooth out the head and the edges to get a nice mallet.

When you're satisfied with the shape, get some sand paper and sand the whole piece while on the lathe. Then using a small Japanese saw, cut off the handle and the head. Sand the cut off pieces.


The wood I used was pretty wet, so I saved some of the shavings and I'm letting the mallet dry along with the shavings in a paper bag. Every couple of days, I'll change the shavings and the bag and let the mallet dry slowly to avoid any cracks.

Step 4: Conclusion - Watch the Video

For a more in depth view, please check out the video!

1 Person Made This Project!


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9 Discussions


4 years ago

I thought you were going to say sell the log and use the money to buy a mallet, but your way was way better.


4 years ago on Introduction

good call on the shavings to keep it from drying too quickly, my wood working instructor taught us the same thing for green turned bowls.

Also, I just discovered your youtube channel about a week ago, I like what you've been doing!

2 replies

Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

That's cool that you found the YouTube channel! Well, I'm hoping to prevent the mallet from cracking as it dries, so hopefully it will dry a little slower!


Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

now that I think about it, I've made a few door handles and pulls out of branch sections, I sealed the ends with candle wax before letting them dry. By sealing the ends the water is forced to slowly leave through the sides of wood. I learned the trick from a book somewhere, they were using a thick paint of somesort.
If your mallet hasn't been drying for too long yet you might try that. And I saw in the comments that you plan on using a wax finish on it so wax ought not make finishing it difficult!


4 years ago

Thanks for sharing the tips on drying the wood. I always get frustrated when my project cracks.


The ideal section to look for is a burl; a cancerous growth usually
formed into a ball hanging outside the bark, most are as large as a
basketball, many are larger. The desired quality of a burl for use as a mallet is the
interlocking grain produced by the malignancy, it is as tough to shatter
as the most modern space age plastics and has a drop- dead gorgeous
figuring, plus a simple linseed oil finish is all it takes to preserve
it. Second best material is got from the root-ball of the trunk, not as
durable but still plenty serviceable. This advice is not meant to
diminish your presentation, which is a good, traditional variation on a
theme and quite effective too.

A rather large root ball section:

Anthony Flores

4 years ago

You should of put this into the tools contest


4 years ago on Introduction

That mallet looks great! I never knew about the idea of using wood chips to slow the drying process. How long does it take to fully dry would you say? Do you have any plan on finishing the mallet when its dry?

1 reply