Combination Mallet

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Project by JohnMcClure posted 04-10-2018 01:56 AM 1131 views 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I built this purely as therapy. I haven’t had time for any large projects, and making this mallet gave me a way to get out in the shop for just a few minutes at a time to unwind, without moving anything around or using a lot of tools. Shaped entirely by hand, which is a good activity for quieting the mind.

The head shape came from my desire to make use of an oddly-sized chunk of sweetgum heart, and the fact that I wanted a mallet with a small, convex striking face for fine adjustments. Thinking specifically of a certain wooden jointer plane that I have yet to tune…

Shaped both the head and handle primarily with the spokeshave.
I left the other face broad and flat for general use.
The handle is from a sassafras branch. It smells really good when cut, unlike the sweetgum.

I drilled a 3/4” hole in the head, and had a lot of fun bringing the handle down to 3/4 without a lathe. First I used a spokeshave, then a chisel, then I made a doweling plate from a piece of scrap metal.
Drilled a 3/4” hole in the steel, then used a file to give it a “tooth”. (If you use this method, make sure to “set” the tooth by striking it with a punch, so it can bite down into the wood.) It works well for taking off the last bit of material to shape the round tenon.

Thanks for looking!

-- I'd rather be a hammer than a nail

4 comments so far

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

7427 posts in 1660 days

#1 posted 04-10-2018 10:12 AM

I’ve never thought to custom make a doweling plate for that last bit of rounding a tenon (I generally make a rounding plane instead). Now I’m wondering which will end up being my go-to in the future….

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View swirt's profile


6183 posts in 4050 days

#2 posted 04-10-2018 12:31 PM

A nice build. Good point about the need for smaller therapy projects.

-- Galootish log blog,

View Andre's profile


4509 posts in 2884 days

#3 posted 04-10-2018 03:41 PM

Nice, think the handle is upside down? :)
Usually my shop therapy is cleaning and tool maintenance, sharpening blades, cleaning tables saw blade, emptying Dust collector and cleaning air filter then dust removal!

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

View ColoradoMtn's profile


96 posts in 1954 days

#4 posted 04-16-2018 12:22 AM

Really nice job on the mallet! I love the shape & your choice of woods.

Youve inspired me to make good use of the sweet gum piece I have in my garage

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