Making a good mallet can be complicated. This versatile tool can be used for making delicately detailed dovetails in your work, banging in a peg to hold down a tarp or tent, and other similar tasks. But how do you make a good mallet?
To make a good mallet, you should give it a comfortable handle that allows you to control the tool correctly. It should also have a urethane head to concentrate the force into a gouge, chisel, or peg. These are essential if you want to build the best mallet possible.
This article will further explain what you need when making a suitable mallet. It will also explain the best woods for the tool, the tools you need to complete the task, and the different types of mallets you could make.
What Tools Will You Need To Make a Mallet?
You’ll need various electric and manual tools to make a suitable mallet. Some tools can help you cut down the time it takes to make the mallet. If you’re making mallets with the intention of selling them, these tools can also make production much more efficient.
The tools you will need to make a mallet include a pencil, ruler, square, sandpaper (electric sander), wood glue, table saw, hand drill (electric or manual), wood, and a range of protective equipment.
How To Make a Mallet
With a touch of patience, skill, and following the steps below, you could a mallet that’s suitable for more than just banging in a few pegs.
1. Select the Wood for Your Mallet
The first step to making a mallet is picking the right wood. Each wood contains different properties, and the best one for you depends on the tasks you intend to complete with the mallet. For example, if you expect to use your mallet a lot, you should use hardwoods like oak as they’re much more durable than materials such as pine.
On the other hand, you may want a wood that’s as beautiful as it is sturdy. Luckily, there are woods that balance those two qualities nicely. I’ll cover those in more detail later in this article.
If you have to choose between form and function, however, I recommend you go for form. You can always add any personal flourishes to your mallet later.
2. Cut the Wood to Size
You need a 12/4 to make the head and a 4/4 to make the handle. If you don’t have these, cut another one to size or buy one that’s roughly the same size as the above. Once you have these two parts, you can start building your own mallet.
3. Assemble the Head
Another way to make a good mallet is to glue two pieces together to create a head. If you choose this method, you should assemble the head using the strongest wood glue. Let it dry before continuing to the next step. If you have a 12/4 piece for the head, you should sand it down to a nicer shape, which will focus the power of your swing into the chisel or gouge.
Make 85-degree cuts on each size to make a trapezoid, followed by two 90-degree cuts to align with the handle. Make sure not to make the slot for the mallet too big. Otherwise, the handle will not stay in place. The space should be slightly smaller than the handle so the latter can slot firmly in place and not slip out.
4. Shape the Handle
Sanding down the handle can help you get a better grip on each swing. Sand and cut the handle according to the size you want.
If you want a good tool to sand your mallet, I suggest you grab a set of Aurellcy’s Sanding Sponges (available on Amazon.com). You can choose between different textures (from coarse to superfine) to fit your sanding needs. Also, you can wash and reuse them for a long time, so you’re likely not going to buy a new set for a while.
This is the point where you join the head and handle together. Make sure they don’t move when in motion, as you don’t want the head to fly out mid-swing. If you want to secure the mallet, you can glue the head to the handle.
At this point, you should have an excellent mallet ready for all your smashing and chiseling needs. If you did glue the pieces together, make sure you give enough time for the glue to dry so the handle can properly attach to the head.
I recommend the Gorilla Super Glue Gel XL (available on Amazon) for your mallet-gluing needs. It works on wood as well as a variety of other materials, ensuring that you get your money’s worth for it and that it won’t only be useful for mallet-making projects.
Best Woods for Your Mallet
Choosing the best wood for your mallet is crucial for making the right tool for you. Each wood has different properties, so you should choose the one that matches your needs best. For example, birch is sturdy and long-lasting, while red oak isn’t the best-looking but is exceptionally durable.
- Birch. Birchwood is a hardwood that is incredibly durable and resilient — not to mention good-looking.
- Hard Maple. Hard maple is pretty durable, so it’s a fantastic choice for creating a mallet.
- Oak. Like most hardwoods, oak can give a sturdy, long-lasting head and handle that will serve you well for years.
- Red Oak. Red oak doesn’t have the most attractive appearance. But it does an excellent job as a material for a mallet.
If looks are your top priority, you can also look at woods like ash, walnut, or maple.
Making a mallet can be a piece of cake if you follow the right steps and use the appropriate tools. Wearing the proper protective equipment can also help lower safety risks. The hardest part is picking the wood that suits you. Make sure to look for a wood that will suit your needs best.