Home-Made Hand-Tools

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Project by RobS posted 08-30-2007 02:08 AM 9275 views 1 time favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

During the comment/reply session on my most recent post, Frank inquired about a rasp in one of my pictures. Since I was taking time to post that, I thought I would post two of my shop helpers at once.

A few years ago my Dad pointed out how well the Microplane products work on wood even though many of them started out as kitchen utensils. He ended up giving me his hacksaw blade version to take back home with me. Not wanting to use the hacksaw handle and desiring something to hold it that allowed more control, I decided to look through my supply of salvaged/found/saved, free-form wood that I have stocked up over time, for a more appropriate grip. I selected a strong, light, slightly curved piece of driftwood cedar that I remember picking up during a camping trip at the strangely monikered, Possum Kingdom Lake. Using the Microplane rasp as a guide I determined the length needed and sliced the two mounting spots flat with my radial arm saw. Then I sanded the handle, finished it with Howard’s Feed-and-Wax, and drilled two holes for attaching the rasp. I use it all the time now on all types of wood and contours.

The second item is obviously a mallet, and a hefty mallet at that, with the face at roughly 3 inches in diameter, roughly 13 inches in length and weighing in at 2.2 pounds. The nice thing about this tool is it’s straight from the backyard. While trimming an osage orange (bois d’arc) tree I happened to catch a glimpse of this mallet amongst the fallen branches. After letting it dry some, I removed that bark and shaped the handle with my draw blade. I probably could have done a better job of drying the wood to lessen some of the cracking but I’m not too worried, osage orange is a strong wood and I added a brass band to the handle to help keep those cracks in check. It is nice that it is all one piece and therefore Mother Nature did the joinery for me.

Thanks for looking.

-- Rob (A) Waxahachie,TX

13 comments so far

View scottb's profile


3648 posts in 5376 days

#1 posted 08-30-2007 02:53 AM

sweet tools. Though I’d expect nothing less than these one of a kind beauties.

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- --

View Bob Babcock's profile

Bob Babcock

1819 posts in 5136 days

#2 posted 08-30-2007 03:08 AM

Very nice Rob….I need to go make a mallet.

-- Bob

View Karson's profile


35270 posts in 5450 days

#3 posted 08-30-2007 03:16 AM

Nice job Rob. I’ll have to keep my eyes out for an osage orange branch.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View gbvinc's profile


629 posts in 4996 days

#4 posted 08-30-2007 03:38 AM

Very cool Rob!

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4444 posts in 5012 days

#5 posted 08-30-2007 04:05 AM

When I was a kid in Indiana, we had hedge rows. When I was in 4-H I learned that they were Osage Orange. In ‘68 I went to Mississippi and was introduced to “Bo-dock”. Any way you call it, it is some of the toughest wood I’ve ever seen. We made fence posts from it and after it dryed you couldn’t drive a staple into it. But it never rots. It makes one heck of a mallet. Nice work,Rob.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View Dan'um Style's profile

Dan'um Style

14189 posts in 5032 days

#6 posted 08-30-2007 04:08 AM

cool tools indeed !

-- keeping myself entertained ... Humor and fun lubricate the brain

View Don's profile


2603 posts in 5226 days

#7 posted 08-30-2007 10:11 AM

I Like them!

-- CanuckDon "I just love small wooden boxes!"

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 5210 days

#8 posted 08-30-2007 01:06 PM

that’s interesting that you mention the MicroPlane—they are on my list of interviews but I haven’t heard back from them.

Wonderful tools. Well done

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View frank's profile


1492 posts in 5255 days

#9 posted 08-30-2007 01:14 PM

Hi Rob;
—-your are truly a ‘worker of the wood’ who makes his own hand tools and then uses those tools to make beaut-i-full works of ‘wood art’!

And then where you find your wood at is also amazzzzzziiiiinnngg, I mean….Possum Kingdom Lake. Does this mean that when you go off to ‘other’ places, that you come back with more then you went with? Also I liked what you said here, “The nice thing about this tool is it’s straight from the backyard. While trimming an osage orange (bois d’arc) tree I happened to catch a glimpse of this mallet amongst the fallen branches.”

I mean that is an awesome ability….to be able to see into the woodpile and see your mallet amongst those branches. Keep it up….I believe your imagination has slipped the ‘gripper’.

Great story, great two projects….rasp and mallet, and two hand tools I would be proud to own….

Thank you.

-- --frank, NH,

View RobS's profile


1334 posts in 5356 days

#10 posted 08-30-2007 04:09 PM

Thank you for all the great comments.

Thos. – Yes, the tree has many names (horse apple, for another) and many stories of its uses, from indian long bows to hedge rows to wagon wheels.

MsDebbie – The microplane rasps are awesome, I have a small one in addition to this, they are always kept within arms reach.

Mr. Frank – I do tend to return with a few “finds” and I often “see” “glimpses” of projects within my finds. Always testing the brain to arrive at new ideas, keeping the spirit of the wood at the forefront.

Thanks again for all the posts.

-- Rob (A) Waxahachie,TX

View Gary's profile


1476 posts in 5374 days

#11 posted 08-30-2007 05:43 PM

Nice work Rob. Yep, that’s a couple of treasures you created. Fine.

-- Gary, Florida

View Jiri Parkman's profile

Jiri Parkman

953 posts in 4862 days

#12 posted 01-12-2008 08:31 PM

Nice tools.

-- Jiri

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 5038 days

#13 posted 01-12-2008 09:33 PM

Great looking tools. I love the mallet.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

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