This is my first Instructable. It will teach you how to make your own marimba or vibraphone mallets.
Step 1: Materials
-The Shaft- This should be made of either birch, maple or rattan if you want shafts like the professionals use. Pretty much any kind of wood will work though. The dimensions are up to you, but it should be around 3/8 inches thick, cut to the length of your choice.
-The Core- This is one of the most important parts of the mallet. the core will play a huge part in the sound of your mallets. A harder core, such as a wooden craft ball, would be good for a pair of vibraphone mallets. A softer core, such as a bouncy ball, would be great for a pair of marimba mallets. Also, I've heard that the rubber end to a pool cue, (that little half circle) make a good marimba core, but these are harder to find.
-The String- Most kinds of yarn/string will work for your mallets. An acrylic yarn is good for beginners, as it is cheap and easy to find. The professionals use a wool, of wool and cotton blend. If you can LEGALLY attain it, hemp makes a very long lasting mallet head. The thickness of the string will change the number of wraps needed to make the mallet head. (Thinner string, more wraps, thicker string, fewer wraps)
-Creativity- Many of the things needed for making mallets are to be done to your personal taste.
-Disclaimer - I do not use hemp in my mallets. Use it if, and ONLY if you can obtain it LEGALLY. I will not be held responsible if you get in trouble for making, using, working with hemp, and/or hemp mallets.`
Step 2: Tools
- Drill- To drill the core with.
-Vice Grip- To hold the core in place while you drill it.
-Sandpaper- You may need this in case your shafts aren't smooth.
-Needle- To tie the end of the string.
-Super glue- gluing the core on the shaft.
Step 3: The Core and the Shaft
As stated before, the core is extremely important. Hold the core on a vice grip. Then drill a hole in it. the hole should penetrate about halfway through the core. A drill press works great for this. Also, depending on what you use for a core, it may already have a hole drilled in it. Then, glue the core onto the shaft. You should glue the core on then cut the shaft to make sure that the shafts extend the same amount from the cores.
Step 4: Wrapping the Mallet
-First, tie a knot on the shaft right under the the core.
-Second, begin to wrap the mallet. After each wrap around the top of the core, give the mallet about a quarter turn. The degree of the turn will effect the size/shape of your mallets. Make sure you don't wrap over the very top of the mallet. You need to wrap just slightly off center to give the mallet it's crown. Count the number of each wraps so that each mallet is the same size. You may need to adjust the number of wraps on each mallet so they're the same size.
Step 5: Crowning the Mallet
After you have made the desired number of wraps, you need to crown the mallet.
- First, Wrap the string so that it is at the top of the mallet.
- Second, put the needle on the string.
- Third, put the needle in the top of the mallet.
- Fourth, pull the needle (and the string) through.
- Fifth, repeat until you've gone around the mallet.
- Sixth, do to bottom side as well.
- Seventh, tie of the mallet.
Step 6: Enjoy!
I hoped you liked my instructable. These mallets may or may not be performance quality, but they're definitely good enough to practice with. As this is my first one, I ask you to comment and/or rate it.