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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Starting to take shape.

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And here it is shaped and sanded.

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Final product before the finishing.

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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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