Make a Traditional Bench Mallet
The 8th of several articles on using hand tools.
This article first appeared in The GMC Group’s Publication Woodwork Craft 2015
It’s hard to imagine being a wood worker and not having a good quality wooden mallet. In fact, the wooden mallet is essential for joinery, furniture making, for chopping mortises and ‘persuading’ joints together and apart. Wooden mallets have been around for thousands of years. Over the years I have accumulated a selection – some purchased and some home made.
Making a mallet was traditionally an apprentice piece – incorporating accurate layout, cutting angles, mortices and shaping.
A mallet head can be made of pretty much any tight grained and well-seasoned hard wood. A good source of wood in upstate New York is firewood, which is typically oak, locus, maple or hickory. However, beech, dogwood and even apple can be used. My carver’s mallet is made from Live Oak, a very dense and heavy wood. Another good source of seasoned wood is old pallets. When selecting a wood to make your mallet, make sure you used a seasoned piece as this will prevent the wood from splitting.
This article first appeared in The GMC Group publication Woodwork Craft 2015