Disclaimer: I am not a woodworker. However I believe that anyone can make things if they really put their mind to it and give it a shot. I am still very new at woodworking projects. This is really the first time making a mallet and doing a “real” woodworking type of project. I learned a lot in the making and I love the feeling of accomplishing you get when you do something like this that you have never done before. It is a very rewarding feeling. I didn’t’ do everything perfect, and there is much room for growth but this will show you how I made this mallet. You can check out the video to see the full making in detail. Any feedback would be appreciated. I hope you enjoy.
Step 1: Materiels and Tools
- Thickness Planer
- Circular Saw https://amzn.to/2qTtTWg
- Speed Square https://amzn.to/2qTtTWg
- Table Saw https://amzn.to/2qTtTWg
- Jigsaw https://amzn.to/2qTtTWg
- Router https://amzn.to/2qTtTWg
- Random Orbital Sander https://amzn.to/2qTtTWg
- Bench Sander https://amzn.to/2qTtTWg
- Flush cut saw https://amzn.to/2HlJ1qC
Step 2: Mill and Cut the Wood to Size
The first thing I you will have to do is mill all the lumber down to a usable size. This is only necessary if you are using rough lumber like I was. I know not everyone has access to the tools to mill lumber like this. You can purchase and have your lumber milled down at your local hardwoods dealer or planing mill. I used one piece of walnut and one piece of white oak. To mill everything down I first ran the wood through the planer several times flattening out the board and getting the rough sides off of the wood. I did this for both pieces until they were around ⅞” inch thick. You can do this to your preference. I made mine the same thickness. In my design I would have the white oak sandwiched in between the walnut, so my handle would have to be the same thickness as my middle white oak piece. Again, this is all preference.
After I got the boards to the correct thickness, I then used my planer jig that I made for my table saw, which allowed me to get a straight edge on one side of the board. After I got my straight edge, I flipped the board over so I my straight edge was against my fence, I set my table saw to 3 ½” (which is how wide my mallet head would be), and then I cut each board into a strip of 3 ½”. Next I just cut the boards to length. The walnut pieces I cut to 6 ½” (which is the length of my mallet head) and I cut the white oak pieces to 3 ½” . I would trim these to exact size later. This allows room for error. While doing this, I did the same thing to prep the handle. I cut it to 18” in length (I would trim later), 1 ¼” width, and the thickness was ⅞” just like the middle section of the mallet.
Step 3: Glue the Mallet Head Together.
After I had everything cut to the size that I needed it, I could glue up the mallet head. I first laid down the bottom piece of walnut and I then measured where my handle would fit. After it was positioned correctly, I took the handle out and glued down the two oak side pieces that would be the middle. I rotated them slightly to create a sorta V shape with the middle oak pieces. That way when I drive the wedges into the handle later on, it would have room to expand and create a tight fit for the handle. I clamped the two middle pieces to the bottom piece and allowed it some time to dry. Once it was dry I glued on the top walnut piece and clamped this as well. I let this dry while I prepped the handle.
Step 4: Prep the Handle
While the mallet head was drying, I went ahead and got the handle ready for assembly. What I did was create two kerf cuts about ¼” into the end of the handle. I did this using my table saw and a jig I made specifically for this project. I made the kerfs as deep as my table saw blade would go high, which was just shy of 3”. I wanted it to go a little deeper, I did a couple passes with my jigsaw to lengthen the kerfs a little. If you don’t have a table saw jig for this or don’t want to make one, you can use a jigsaw for this without any problem. After making the kerfs, I drilled a small hole at the end of the kerf, to keep the wood from splitting once I drive the wedge into it.
One thing I wish I would have done is prepped this handle before glueing the mallet. I would have added a small “shelf” or bevel on each side of the handle end that goes into the head so it would a tighter fit. Next time I will do this but I just forgot this time.
Step 5: Cut the Wedges
Next I had to cut the wedges that would go in the handle once everything is assembled. To do this I used my crosscut sled for my table saw. I laid the board down and wedged a small board under the back of it to tilt the piece I was cutting. This allowed me to cut the board at an angle. The next cut I would cut at a 90 degree to level back out my board. I did this a few different times to get some different thicknesses and angles.
Step 6: Sand and Prep for Finish
Next I had to get everything ready for assembly and finish. The first thing I did was cut off the access wood that was sticking out of the sides of the mallet head. I would recommend using a miter saw for this if you have one. I used a circular saw. It was a little bit awkward of a cut with a circular saw. Just make sure you have a tight grip on it or you clamp it to something to keep it from moving while you cut. After the sides were trimmed, I could sand everything down. I sanded with a belt sander and then finished it off with a random orbital sander all the way up to 320 grit paper.
After sanding, I used a chamfer bit with the palm router and added a chamfer around all the edges of the mallet head and along the handle as well. I did have to go back in with the random orbital sander and sand a few places one more time. After this, the mallet was ready for assembly.
Step 7: Assemble the Mallet
It is now time to put everything together. All I had to do was put the handle in the mallet head and drive the wedges into the end of the handle as deep as I could get them. This of coarse left some handle and wedges sticking out, so I used a flush cut trim saw to cut off the access and then sanded where I cut to smooth it over. You could cut the handle to length at this point if you wanted, but I decided to leave mine how it was.
Step 8: Apply Finish
All that was left to do was apply finish to the mallet. I chose danish oil mainly because it is what I had on hand and I love how it really brings out the walnut grain. I just wiped it on. After this, the mallet was finished.
Step 9: Video
Make sure you check out the video for this project to see all the steps I mistakes I made while doing this. This is a good project if you are just beginning in woodworking.
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