Steampunk Joiner’s Mallet

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Project by shipwright posted 12-07-2017 08:32 PM 2720 views 3 times favorited 24 comments Add to Favorites Watch

OK, I’m bad,not made of wood. ... but, a woodworking tool nonetheless.

I just bought some very nice Japanese dovetail chisels to do some fine work with and my big mallet seemed overkill for the job. At home in Canada I have a lovely brass joiner’s mallet from Lee Valley but I’m not at home so I decided to make my own “Arizona model”.

The two pipe fittings cost ~ $5 and the lead was free from a local tire shop. The “casting” was way easier than a 10,000 lb. keel and only took a few minutes. The best part is I have a nice small, heavy, decently balanced mallet that works really well with the chisels.

The photos show the setup I used to melt the lead. As the weights were quite clean, and I wasn’t that concerned with absolute purity, I didn’t melt in a separate container and pour. I just broke the weights up and dropped them down the handle a few at a time. For the last bit I held the pieces with the clips in them in pliers and just let the lead drip off them into the handle.

The last photo is of the non-lead weights that I weeded out before starting. A good trick for that is dropping them on a concrete floor. Zinc and steel will ring while lead just goes “thud”.

Thanks for looking.


-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

24 comments so far

View rbrjr1's profile


208 posts in 659 days

#1 posted 12-07-2017 08:42 PM

that’s a pretty slick idea..
was there any need to clean out the black steel pipe first?
approximately how far up the handle did the lead go (if you know?)

-- only an idiot dismisses an intelligent statement because they dont know anything about the person delivering it.

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

23006 posts in 3559 days

#2 posted 12-07-2017 08:48 PM

Way to go, Paul!! I have been melting lead in a pot and found that there are 3 kinds of wheel weights – pure lead, steel and a tin allow that does not melt well.
That was a smart way to fill the mallet with lead. I have made wooden molds for lead and find that it works well and does not burn up like I thought it would!!

Cheers, Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View helluvawreck's profile


32086 posts in 3320 days

#3 posted 12-07-2017 08:49 PM

That’s very creative and nicely done. Hey! It’s a tool that can be used in a woodworking shop. That’s close enough for me. Nice work!

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Ocelot's profile


2318 posts in 3092 days

#4 posted 12-07-2017 09:16 PM

What’s that thing weigh?

View madts's profile


1903 posts in 2794 days

#5 posted 12-07-2017 09:31 PM

I like it much.


-- Thor and Odin are still the greatest of Gods.

View Karson's profile


35194 posts in 4854 days

#6 posted 12-07-2017 09:50 PM

Paul you should have put a couple of pieces of brass on the end or the “T” fitting and then you would have had a brass piece to tap your chisels instead of the steel pipe.

A brass door pull could have had it’s screw embedded in the melted lead. A wooden cap covered in leather would give the other end a softer hit.

Very creative

-- 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 icemanhank's profile


502 posts in 2610 days

#7 posted 12-07-2017 09:52 PM

Great idea mate, I love the chisels too what brand are they?

-- "These are my principles. And if you don't like them, I have others." ... Cheers, David from Sydney Australia

View pottz's profile


5788 posts in 1438 days

#8 posted 12-07-2017 11:11 PM

now thats true innovation.nice work.

-- sawdust the bigger the pile the bigger my smile-larry,so cal.

View kiefer's profile


5659 posts in 3121 days

#9 posted 12-07-2017 11:20 PM

Looks like it will work but the handle sucks at least it should have a wooden cap .


-- Kiefer

View Jerry's profile


3229 posts in 2102 days

#10 posted 12-07-2017 11:42 PM

Pretty Cool!

-- There are good ships and there are wood ships, the ships that sail the sea, but the best ships are friendships and may they always be.

View shipwright's profile


8346 posts in 3252 days

#11 posted 12-07-2017 11:45 PM

Thanks everyone,

rbrjr1, I didn’t clean anything, just screwed them together and threw the lead in.. The lead goes about 3/4” up the handle.

Jim, I guess in small amounts it may not burn the wood too badly but the keel I mentioned was cast in a wood mould and while it worked fine the wood was deeply charred and could not have been re-used.

Ocelot, I haven’t weighed it but I’d guess around a pound.

Karson, the chisels get struck by the lead which is nice and soft.

icemanhank, they are Matsumura white steel from Japan Woodworker.

Klaus, All in good time grasshopper. You never know, I might find a way to put marquetry on it.

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

View woodbutcherbynight's profile


5967 posts in 2863 days

#12 posted 12-08-2017 01:46 AM

Nice work. I work in a auto repair shop. Plenty of raw material.

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

View Andre's profile


2695 posts in 2260 days

#13 posted 12-08-2017 04:16 AM

Must be some special project to be making all them tools?
Have been reading some of your blogs on Hide glue, I might be going that route in the future?

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

View blackwell's profile


11 posts in 1928 days

#14 posted 12-08-2017 04:51 AM

I’m gonna have to try this. What an elegant and cheap solution

View DocSavage45's profile


8851 posts in 3296 days

#15 posted 12-08-2017 10:31 AM


Always thinking! Nice response to Klaus. LOL!

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

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