Mulberry Mallet - Mallet Swap 2014

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Project by palaswood posted 07-01-2014 10:58 PM 5528 views 4 times favorited 28 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This mallet is made of some wood that is very special to me. That wood is Mulberry which is the wood that GOT me started into wood working last spring. You can see the behemoth Mulberry tree on this blog post, which documents how I harvest my stock. :)

Once I saw how gorgeous and hard it was, I had to learn more (the rest is history, still being written). This is from a huge (12ft? 14ft?) trunk segment that broke off (due to natural causes it seems) from a tree on a public walking path in my neighborhood, and had been laying on the ground, drying for over 2 years. I had this piece for almost 1 year, so thats 3 years minimum that its been drying. It has a nice shallow check along the pith, but i wanted it a rustic mallet, so I kept it. There’s a tiny worm hole on the other side too. Fasten your seatbelts, this is a long post with a lot of pictures.

This wood is SO VERY DENSE. Just look at the tight grain pattern.

The handle is reclaimed black walnut. It was a paint stirrer stick from a cabinet shop in its former life. I accented the handle with some nice mulberry of a more golden / black grain.

Then shaped it on the belt sander.

I drilled the holes for the mortise on the drill press at work (they dont mind…. but shhhhh).

Then I chopped my first mortise and tenon joint for an actual project!

I tried my hand at inlay for basically the first time, mainly because I didnt like how I had some little gaps an either side after wedging. I chiseled out all around the tenon and set in some maple accents.

The brass pins are salvaged from a local metal works, and the maple wedges/inlay came from that same cabinet shop. I drilled into the corners of the mortise and set the pins with epoxy, then used the belt sander to bring them to about 1/16th in. proud, and sanded them with 320.

The gift box is balsa wood from a pallet originating outta India. Balsa wood? I know, I know, but it’s much harder than you’re probably thinking as it did have some heartwood (reddish/golden/green swirling.. pretty), but it’s light weight cut down on shipping charges too!

I broke the pallet down months ago, and finally found a good use for it. I planed and laid out some stock.

Then glued up a quick butt-jointed box held together with brad nails & glue ( I started out going for sort of a shipping crate kinda thing). Is that curly balsa figure?!

Then I got an idea for inserts. Boy did these FlexCut carving tools i got for my birthday come in handy! Most fun I had all build…

I made two, one in the bottom with a recess to hold the head, and another to frame the mallet and keep it stationary.

Planed up a lid and shaped a handle on the belt sander, out of the balsa heartwood. Glued that on. I left the box sanded but unfinished.

Then I said farewell.

And then Mos took some great pics of him opening it:

As you can see (if you’ve gotten this far! lol ), I spent not one red cent on this build, and i was able to furnish a useful, well-made (if I do say so myself… and I do), and cool mallet that will hopefully provide years of faithful service to Mosquito. (ok, aside from glue, sandpaper etc…)

Enjoy buddy!

-- Joseph, Irvine CA, @palas_woodcraft on Instagram

28 comments so far

View Hammerthumb's profile


3099 posts in 3141 days

#1 posted 07-01-2014 11:08 PM

I love the look of the Black Mulberry. I also like the shape of the head and handle. Well done.

-- Paul, Duvall, WA

View Don W's profile

Don W

20122 posts in 3733 days

#2 posted 07-01-2014 11:09 PM

Nice work Joseph. The brass pins are a great idea.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View ShaneA's profile


7085 posts in 3764 days

#3 posted 07-01-2014 11:11 PM

Turned out nice. The mulberry has some cool looking grain. I turned a small carving type mallet out of some type of mulberry firewood a year or two ago, and it has help up well.

View 489tad's profile (online now)


4021 posts in 4177 days

#4 posted 07-01-2014 11:35 PM

The wood, the story, great mallet.

-- Dan, Naperville IL, I.G.N.

View JoeinGa's profile


7741 posts in 3172 days

#5 posted 07-01-2014 11:44 PM

wow, wow, WOWIE WOW !

can ya tell I LIKE iT !?

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View 7Footer's profile


2575 posts in 3114 days

#6 posted 07-01-2014 11:50 PM

Great job Palas, that Black Mulberry is some beautiful stuff, I don’t know that I’ve ever seen it finished. Sweet mallet!


View Mean_Dean's profile


7057 posts in 4313 days

#7 posted 07-02-2014 12:14 AM

Man that’s a great looking mallet! I’m sure he appreciates all the work you put into it!

-- Dean -- "Don't give up the ship -- fight her 'till she sinks!" Capt James Lawrence USN

View Mosquito's profile


11229 posts in 3458 days

#8 posted 07-02-2014 12:39 AM

Sweet mallet! I’ve already put a beating on some chisels for a few hours already tonight :-)

-- Mos - Twin Cities, MN - -

View palaswood's profile


1061 posts in 2917 days

#9 posted 07-02-2014 12:55 AM

Mos that makes me so very proud! :) I’m beaming. Beat it to hell my good man! Such is it’s lot in life. But i have a feeling it’ll stand up to the abuse ;)

-- Joseph, Irvine CA, @palas_woodcraft on Instagram

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30631 posts in 3504 days

#10 posted 07-02-2014 12:58 AM

Another awesome piece. Loving all of these.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View Chris McDowell's profile

Chris McDowell

645 posts in 3318 days

#11 posted 07-02-2014 12:59 AM

That’s a sweet looking mallet! Awesome job and good save doing the inlay. Looks great.

-- Chris, , FACEBOOK: , Proverbs 16:9

View mahdee's profile


4291 posts in 2933 days

#12 posted 07-02-2014 01:44 AM



View Mr. E's profile

Mr. E

108 posts in 2832 days

#13 posted 07-02-2014 02:53 AM

“Started woodworking last spring”

And what a start that is. If this is the start I’m excited to tag along on the evolution of your craftiness!

View Sanding2day's profile


1016 posts in 3012 days

#14 posted 07-02-2014 03:24 AM

Very nice Joseph… Way to go!! Great material/workmanship! Thanks for sharing…

-- Dan

View john2005's profile


1768 posts in 3343 days

#15 posted 07-02-2014 04:02 AM

As has been stated, that mulberry is pretty sweet to look at. Very nice build!

-- In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.

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