A relatively quick and easy mallet made from scrap wood.
For the handle length I went with a bit shorter than the length of my hammer handles, which were 200-300mm. The exact length was limited by the size of off cut I had but I went for around 200mm (plus ~100mm through the head).
For the handle thickness, I used ~30mm x 35mm. This fits in my hand and was the size of something I had.
For the head size I went more on a guess of a comfortable weight, and then looked for something in my stack which was about right. The resulting mallet looks a bit oversized because my timber isn't very dense. The final head dimensions were ~150mm x 90mm x 90mm, the head weighs around 550g and the whole thing around 700g.
- I have a few of these cheap metal ones from Amazon
- Somebody on you tube recommended a speed square : Amazon I get on well with it, the one I received was orange.
- Wood File/rasp
- I recently got one of these (Amazon), so far it takes material off well without chewing the wood up badly.
- Sand paper
- Linseed Oil
I used some softwood off cuts. They are holing up OK but a denser wood would make a more compact mallet for the same weight.
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Step 1: Build Method
After watching a lot of people making mallets on YouTube they seem to largely fall into three categories:
- Glued/laminated head, separate handle
- Solid head, separate handle
- "Traditional" carpenters mallet
- Solid/one piece head and handle
- Often turned
There are many methods to make beautiful looking mallets which will last a life time... This is not one of those. I needed a mallet reasonably quickly and wanted something I could do with my eldest. It's not pretty and won't last forever, but it gets the job done.
How you laminate your head is going to be down to the size timber you have, I was aiming for something around 80-90mm wide so this was two of my off cuts glue together. A triple laminate would avoid a seem in the middle of the striking face, for me, re-sawing down would have doubled the build time.
Step 2: Making the Mallet
Above is a video of the build.
- Cut your parts roughly to size.
- Make two cuts for the handle.
- Remove the slot for the handle with a chisel.
- Glue up.
- Take off the edges with a rasp and some sand paper.
- Apply a little linseed oil to protect it.
Step 3: Longevity
A laminated mallet runs a very real risk of splitting along the seams, especially in this case as the joint is smack in the middle of the striking surface. If I was using them everyday I suspect these probably wouldn't last long but I've now cut eight mortises with the big one and it's holding up well. Given the amount of time I spend using them, they are more likely to suffer problems from being in a damp shed over winters and I'll have something fun to make with the kids again in a few years time.