Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Making a Mallet

I had been making jigs to use in woodworking and decided what I really wanted to do was to make something "real." I remembered a simple band saw project in Mark Duginske's Band Saw Book for a wooden mallet. Knowing that I will soon be using my chisels to clean out mortises and the like, I decided a mallet would be a good next project.

I started with some rough soft maple and walnut and jointed and planed them smooth. Then I cut the maple into three short pieces and glued them together in a stack. This became the stock for the head of the mallet. While this was drying, I cut the handle from a larger piece of walnut. I cut the tenon on the walnut on the band saw with no difficulty. Then I cut the handle to shape to fit my hand and ran the whole piece through the router table using a roundover bit to ease the edges.

When the glue had dried on the maple, I cut the stack to final shape on the band saw. Then, I made the mortise on the mortising machine. I cleaned out the mortise with a chisel until the handle tenon fit tightly into the mortise. Finally, I glued the two pieces together. And the project was done! I now have a sturdy and, I think, attractive mallet that should give me good service.

Could I have done anything differently? Definitely. My chisel was not sharp enough and I did a lot of unnecessary work paring out the mortise. I cut the thick stack of maple with a 3/8" band saw blade; a 1/2" blade made for resawing would have cut better, I think. And, I might have improved the looks by sandwiching some walnut in between the maple boards (or vise versa) to create a more patterned look. But, hey, it was all about getting practice with my machines and developing a sense of accomplishment. And that I got.

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