Hammer Time

Back in the shop and it feels good! Now that a lot of the home renos are slowing down I’ve finally had some time to get the shop back in working order so I can finish up some other projects that have taken a back seat over the last year. For starters, I got all my wiring finished up so I have some more outlets in the shop as I only had 1 plug in the entire shop. I was constantly tripping over extension cords. I also got some more lights setup in the shop so I can see a bit more of what I’m doing over top of my bench which is where I end up doing more of the precision work.

One thing I’ve put off for a long time is sharpening all my tools. A great set of chisels I got a couple years ago had new handles made but I hadn’t got to sharpening them. I spent 3 nights and sharpened pretty much everything I own. The next project I’m working on is the dining room table and I have some mortise work to do so I need the chisels up to snuff. The one thing I don’t have though is a good mallet for my chisels. In the past I’ve always used a standard metal hammer but it’ll eventually destroy my handles. Queue up a good old turning project.

Seems like one of the first projects people do on a lathe is a basic carvers mallet. I bought my lathe to do my coffee table and haven’t played around with it much since then. I figured this would be a good excuse to dust it off (literally) and get turning.


I started by gluing up a couple pieces of scrap wood I’ve had laying around. I used a piece of maple cut down into 4 and a piece of walnut I had.


Glued the crap out of it as I’m always nervous when a glued together block of wood is ripping at a couple hundred RPM’s right in front of my face. Let the glue dry for a couple hours and then cleaned up all the squeeze out.


Here is the block all cleaned up and cut down to a balanced block. My lathe was rocking like crazy with this thing going so it took some nerves to get it circular.


Starting to take shape.


And here it is shaped and sanded.


Final product before the finishing.


I just used some old wipe on poly I had laying around the shop from when I did my stairs. Put a couple of coats on and voila. Feels really great to use and packs a good punch when I hit the chisel. Because it’s maple, the whole thing is rock solid. Nice to have a good mallet in the shop and I feel a bit better striking my chisels with this thing. I think if I make another one I would make the head a little smaller but this is a good start.


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