Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Carver's Mallet Part 2

The Carver's Mallet Part 1

In Part 1 I talked about making the handle from curly maple and fastening it to 3 layers of cross grain laminated wood.

Now I'm adding the rest of the laminated layers to the mallet and turning the assembly on the router.

As mentioned before, the head of the mallet is made from laminated 1/4" wood, oak and padauk. I had enough scrap 1/4" wood to make it a total of 14 layers. 10 oak and 4 padauk. The bottom three layers attached to the handle and then I stacked the rest on that, gluing up 3 at a time because even that many gets squirrelly when clamping the freshly glued wood together.

The photo above is the final clamping of the entire assembly. Those Harbor Freight bar clamps fit perfectly into the 3/4" holes in my clamping table.

I quickly made a jig from particle board to hold the mallet at an angle over my router. This idea came from an article in one of the wood magazines (I forget which one). The idea is to be able to rotate the mallet over the router bit to give it a smooth face at the correct angle. I wasn't confident enough in my turning skills to use the lathe on end grain oak, so I wanted to use the router.

It was a mistake.

Several times the router grabbed the piece out of my hands, chewed it up, and spit it back at me. I'm glad I was wearing goggles!

I finally gave up on the router and put it on the lathe. I gave my turning chisels a fresh hone, held my breath and started cutting.

Not bad! Not bad at all! Some tearout on the oak end grain, but overall a good turn. I'm very comfortable with the end result. Too bad I had done so much damage to the head already with the router. Otherwise I'd be able to say it was perfect. As it its, the mallet is just ok. There is no finish on the mallet. Just 2 coats of Butcher's wax. The photos were taken before the wax was applied. That shine is from good cuts alone!

Not really. It's from sanding down to 2000 grit. =D

This is a small mallet. I am planning to take what I've learned and turn a larger one with maple for the head.

The photos here show the damage, the turning on the lathe, and the final finish photos.

I hope this helps inspire you to try your hand at crafting your own mallets! It's satisfying picking up a tool that I've made myself!

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