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Wooden mallet material


Nathan Stanford

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I now this is not about a regular hammer,  but I'm making a wooden mallet for fine tuning my work.   This is to avoid scaring from metal hammers.   Is walnut an okay material for this use?   It's what I have laying around and seems to have decent weight to it.   Any feedback is welcome and appreciated. 

 

Thanks, 

 

Nathan 

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From a quick google look I can't find anything that said burning walnut wood was toxic ( since that is about the only real concern I would have with a wood mallet). Just wear a respirator when/ if sanding it. 

It Did say that it can be toxic to horses. You're not a horse are you? :) 

 

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Depends on what you want to do with it. But as far as tweaking some red hot steel it should work fine.  I make them pretty simple because they do get beat up hitting steel. Soft wood more so and quicker then hard wood. 

 

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Glenn is right.

You can extend the life of a wooden hammer (used in your smithy), by banding (circumferentially) the ends closest to the striking surfaces.

Such reinforcement rings help to stabilize the head, and prevent the wood from spreading.

The denser and harder the wood, the longer it will last. People in Europe may be able to get boxwood at a reasonable price. ( I am not sure about that, someone let me know, please)

Box wood has very tight end grain.

Hence its use for wood cuts. in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Lignum vitae wood (from Haiti & the Dominican Republic), would make a superb hammer. But it has been overcut and is not usually available these days.

It was used for wood carving and sculpting hammers a few decades ago.

SLAG.

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Dogwood is a very hard and heavy wood- more so than oak and my go- to fave. Beech is good, Persimmon is awesome if you can find it. Fruitwood- apple pear etc is pretty hard and heavy. Just use whatever you can lay your hands on. They break, make a new one. Like others have said make it so you impact with the end grain.

Stevw

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You can go simple or elaborate. As long as it gets the job done. Here's a very simple one I made with an old used hammer handle and a chunk of pallet wood. Just drilled the pallet wood most of the way through with a round wood bit and carved the handle to fit the hole and press fit " lightly hammered in" and done. It's still working fine. No glue or anything and it doesn't rotate on me. Same could be done with a chunk of a tree branch. 

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You folks have built a rather tight box to try to think your way out of. 

Solution: Do not build a box. That way you do not have to think outside the box, and everything is an opportunity.

Use a cheap flea market Croquet mallet.  A little banding on the ends and they come in sets (think spares).

Or dig out that old golf club, *the wood*, historically made from persimmon wood.

Or go to the bowling alley and get a bowling pin made by gluing blocks of rock maple wood together then shaping.  You could add a handle or just reshape the small end into a handle.

Why reinvent the wheel? They have been using clubs long before Alley rode Dinny in the Kingdoms of Moo and Lem. References to the fabled lost continents of Mu and Lemuria. Cue the Curmudgeons as they remember these things.

 

 

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Still thinking in the mallet box Glenn. tsk tsk. 

I pick up wooden B ball bats when I see them  cheap enough. A little time in the saw and the resulting handle has several mallets worth of bat left. Ash I think? OR, make a mallet and use the rest for a thwocker. Of course any old branch or handy piece of lumber makes an acceptable thwocker.

I haven't paid a whole dollar for a bat in years, I think it was summer before last I bought 6or8 bats for the lot sum of $0.50. It was a bankruptcy sale and the gal was wanting to go home. I hadn't seen much of anything I wanted, all the good stuff went a couple days before and I was saying good buy when she offered me the bats. I'd been looking at them but for $1 each wasn't interested. I said no thanks to all for $1. and she went half a buck but I had to take the barrel.

I pick up hockey sticks behind the high school ice rink, there're always a bunch in the trash.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Can't beat a good rawhide mallet too!  My junk guy threw one in for free when I bought a pair of tongs from him.  Pet stores have plenty of good rawhide that can be soaked, rolled up, and used on a handle.

On the wood subject, I see plenty of old wood mallets out there for sale so it might be worth it to pick up a few every so often to keep a reserve stock.  I bought a big old square one for $12 at an antique store that I use for everything.  It was made out of burl wood so that thing was used historically for a while and I'll probably never need another one in my lifetime.  I looked at a lot of them until I found one that was made from tough & twisted burl wood.

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I make mine from Willow, as I have an abundance, a thick branch for the head and Ash from a pallet for the handle, made in the carpentry style, I've also made the simple round mallet from branches as used by a Bodger. But you can just use any old bit of wood, put no work into it, if it dies after half a days work, grab another piece and carry on.

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  • 3 months later...

I acquired a piece of white oak about 3x6x15 that I'd like to use for mallet head.  Also enough ash to make handles for the rest of my life.   on the hammer head, assuming I go the easy route and make a square rather than round head, is it desirable to band the head?  If so, how would your band a square cross section?

 

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I used to visit baseball fields in the summer time and ice rinks in the winter.

Broken bats and hockey sticks were plentiful.

Another source for lignum vitae wood could be found at lawn bowling fields. The clubs had replaced them with polymer balls.

That wood was often to be found in their locker rooms or in the basement gathering dust.

Lignum vitae is one of the densest, hardest, toughest, and heaviest woods known.

 Lignum vitae wood was/is the premier wooden mallet material.

The lawn bowls can be turned on a lathe to make the round or cylindrical shape and a wooden handle can then be attached.

That shape of mallet is preferred by wood sculptors. Carpenters use mallets with a 3-d rectangular head.

It's worth a try checking out lawn bowling clubs. They may still have them.

SLAG.

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