Pair of Scrapwood Mallets
A pair of simple but good looking mallets made from scraps in one afternoon.
#scrapwood #dogwood #mallet #turning
I had been saving a few nice scraps for the chance to refurbish my old mallets. I can't remember where I first saw this style, but its based on a iron pipe t-fitting. I have both a 3/4 in and a 1 in. The 3/4 in was black iron pipe and I cleaned and then sprayed it red. The 1 in was galvanized. I wire-wheeled it and then sprayed with clear coat. The scraps are all dogwood from a tree that blew down in my in-law's yard, except for a small piece of cedar I threw in, too.
I roughly milled up the scraps to about 1 in x 1.5 in x 12 in.
These will be the blanks for the handles.
I cut and glued the cedar to make a blank for the mallet faces. The cedar should be quite a bit softer. The nice thing with these mallets is that the faces can be easily swapped.
I turned the tenons and roughed in the shapes for faces of the 3/4 in mallet. Then I realized that I should have threaded the tenons before roughing in the shape of the faces.
I filed a groove into the female threads on one end of the fitting to aid in cutting the threads on the tenons. It's hard to hold the faces and they still want to wander, so I used the lathe to keep it all relatively straight. After threading them both, I cleaned the profiles up on the lathe.
The old handle was a nice shape, but the length was either too long or too short. The new handles will be "double coke-bottle" so I can switch my grip as needed.
The correct strategy for this is to first turn the tenon end, then take it out of the lathe and put it in a vise so that you are only holding one tool at a time. It took maybe 30 seconds to do. Also, I should point out that those are NPT threads, so the tenon should taper as well.
Because the handles have flat sides, they do need to be aligned with the head. This mallet needed to have the shoulder trimmed back on the lathe by a tiny amount to seat it correctly. There is no glue in these joints. I also make sure that the shoulders on the faces are snugged up to the fitting so that the edges are supported.
The other issue with having flat sides on the handles is that they will not match if your turning is off-center. While this is a shop tool and I could live with it, it's an easy fix.
I planed off a little bit with a few passes with a bench plane.
I eased the transitions from flat to round with a some hand sanding.
I coated the handles and faces with Howard's orange oil and beeswax and then I assembled it.
The handle blank for the 1 in fitting had a little wormhole that needed fixing.
I passed on the opportunity to have a river running through it and just went with clear epoxy. Once that was dry, I turned the excess off and sanded.
Here's the money shot of the first bit of finish going on.
I ended up reusing one of the original oak faces for the 1 in mallet. It held up fine, just needed a little sanding to clean it up. It will complement the softer cedar face on the opposite side.
Here are the finished products. I believe that I managed to get about 95% of the starting material in this pic. Mostly, that is because the rest of the shop is full of glue-ups for this Christmas and I had nowhere else to work. Has anybody else started their Christmas gift list?
This is, of course, a ridiculously easy project featuring joinery of the lowest form, but I am quite pleased with the results. It's almost a little indulgent to have tool handles look and feel this nice. Thanks for looking!