Monday, June 8, 2009

Mallet Of Necessity

After coming home with my new Lie-Nielsen chisels I had a problem. I didn't have have an mallet to use with the chisels. I did a little research and found one mallet that I simply loved. It was the Blue Spruce Toolworks Mallet. I had a chance to hold one of these mallets at the Popular Woodworking open house. It felt wonderful in the hand. It had a great balance and beautiful finish. Since Tom Lie-Nielsen had all my cash, I had to come up with a low cost solution.

I built a joiner's mallet a few years ago that was made of the laminated pieces of wood. One day while using it, it broke at the glue seam. I'm not sure why it failed but I didn't want that to happen again. While cruising around the forums I saw a thread on making mallets out of fire wood. Sounded like a great idea. One thing the ice storms left plenty of this year was fire wood. So I went out and picked up a piece of wood that looked like the right size. I would probably qualify for the turning Special Olympics so try not to laugh. I turned out something that looked vaguely like a mallet. It was to big and the handle was to thick. It looked more like something you would hit a froe with rather than a chisel. Round 2...I got another piece of wood and got to work. This mallet shaped up to be very nice. It had about the right weight and handle was comfortable. I decided this one would work fine. I put it in a cup of linseed oil. Letting one end soak for a day or two, then the other end. I tried to keep the whole mallet wet. I ended up with a nice usable mallet. Not exactly a work of art, but it chops out those dovetails all the same. I'm pretty sure the wood was from a fallen limb from a Hackleberry tree in my yard. I was surprised how tough this little mallet is. I have given it some pretty good smacks. The only evidence is some very light flat spots. You can see the flats. They are so light you have to feel for them. Another nice addition to the tool chest.

David B.

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