Japanese Genno Style Mallet - Swap 2018

  • Advertise with us
Project by ToddJB posted 07-21-2018 11:38 PM 4688 views 3 times favorited 33 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My letter to my recipient- Buckbuster31

“Greetings – here’s a mallet!

Okay, this build employed a lot of first for me – hopefully it all pans out.

First, this is a Japanese Genno Hammer. It has a 13oz head made of brass. And a 6oz handle made of Cocobolo.

The Japanese traditionally use a steel head, and they use these mallets/hammers for danged near everything. On their chisels, joinery, nails, pegs, etc. Sometimes it’s the only wacking device they have in their arsenal.

A couple of features that are employed in the design are a flat headed side and a domed side. Traditionally, and the way I have made this one, is that the handle curves with the flat head so that your knuckles are parallel with the striking face. You’ll note what I mean if you place the hammer on it’s flat face – the handle will also be in contact with the tables surface. The other end is domed for driving home dowels and nails without maring your work piece.

Another traditional feature, which was the most nerve wracking, is the wedgeless mount of the head. Here’s how I did mine: the through hole was created with a slight taper. A few thousands bigger at the top tapering in on all 4 sides down to the bottom. Then the handle was made slightly bigger than the big end. At which point, I squeezed the handle on all four sides with my huge bench vice compressing the sides. Then pounded it home through the hole. After it was set into place I soaked the head in BLO for 5 days. The idea is that the handle expands back to it original size, or to where the metal stops it, and it is locked into place by the upside down dovetail wedge. Being Cocobolo and hard as rock, it should never loosen up. If it does you could put a screw in it, but if this is the process the Japanese have used for centuries, my hope is, you’ll never need to worry about.

The handle was finished with nothing more than carnauba wax.

I made this bad johnny to be used, so don’t baby it!

Now a moment on the hammer hanger. It’s walnut. I thought the live edge was neat but was concerned about it’s stability going from Denver to Kentucky. So there is a lot of CA Thin glue in it – it should be good. The finish I tried something new and I’m really sorry that I did. I tried to use a spray lacquer (I’m usually a Poly guy). If you look through my recent posts you’ll see pics of the issues I had. The lacquer was “blushing” like crazy, which means that it was getting moisture trapped under the flinish and causing a white milky appearance. It looked like crap. Apparently this is really common and they make a “Blush Eraser” spray which softens the finish and releases the moister. It worked great. As you can see by the back of the unit, I didn’t do it there. When this hanger got packaged up in my shop it looked good; my concern though is that it is going from dry Denver to humid Kentucky that the blushing will reappear. I hope not. If it does, I’m sorry. Some more Blush Eraser should resolve the issue. I now hate Lacquer.

So yeah. It’s a mallet. Use it to hit stuff. Enjoy!”

Some more shots, well because:

-- I came - I sawed - I over-built

33 comments so far

View builtinbkyn's profile


3034 posts in 2275 days

#1 posted 07-21-2018 11:49 PM

Wow Todd! Out having sushi alone and sitting at the bar. Figured I would chck in and wow! I hate thumbing on my phone but had to Wow! That’s over the top beautiful!

-- Bill, Yo! Brooklyn & Steel City :)

View bobasaurus's profile


3743 posts in 4518 days

#2 posted 07-21-2018 11:50 PM

Holy crap Todd, that’s some ridiculously great work. Funny that we both chose to do gennos, I though they were so obscure that I would be the only one :) . I like yours better though… I never knew about the curved and flat faces, makes sense though. Love the cocobolo handle, it looks amazing. Did you file the taper into the eye, or mill it somehow?

-- Allen, Colorado (Instagram @bobasaurus_woodworking)

View jeffswildwood's profile


4989 posts in 3312 days

#3 posted 07-21-2018 11:54 PM

Todd, that one is amazing. Well worth the wait to see!

-- We all make mistakes, the trick is to fix it in a way that says "I meant to do that".

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

9325 posts in 1917 days

#4 posted 07-21-2018 11:57 PM

That’s a beauty, Todd! Wowser!

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View woodcox's profile


2386 posts in 3346 days

#5 posted 07-22-2018 12:01 AM

Gorgeous hammer work, Todd. That is a beautiful piece of wood with the sappy inclusion.

-- "My god has more wood than your god" ... G. Carlin.

View duckmilk's profile


4950 posts in 2659 days

#6 posted 07-22-2018 12:30 AM

Holy cow Todd! That is an amazing hammer! You do some really great builds and always think up something interesting. Keep it up sir.

-- "Duck and Bob would be out doin some farming with funny hats on." chrisstef

View JayT's profile


6445 posts in 3545 days

#7 posted 07-22-2018 12:31 AM

Dang, Todd, that’s a fine piece of toolmaking. Love how you combined traditional genno elements with non-traditional materials.

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

View HokieKen's profile


20669 posts in 2473 days

#8 posted 07-22-2018 12:38 AM

Ohhhhhh soooooooo sexxxxxxxxy!

Fantabulous Toddles! That curved Cocobolo and the brass that’s so polished you could shave in it is absolutely stellar! No joking man, that’s excellent work. It’s like boobs. I’ve already seen it but I still can’t quit staring at it!

-- I collect hobbies. There is no sense in limiting yourself (Don W) - - - - - - - - Kenny in SW VA

View TheFridge's profile


10863 posts in 2820 days

#9 posted 07-22-2018 01:00 AM

It all works. Understatement :)

I love some shiny brass. Until you breathe on it and it scratches :)

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View ToddJB's profile


8836 posts in 3465 days

#10 posted 07-22-2018 01:15 AM

Thanks dudes.

Allen, the hole was made by drilling two holes side by side and then filing it the rest of the way.

-- I came - I sawed - I over-built

View Woodknack's profile


13585 posts in 3714 days

#11 posted 07-22-2018 01:16 AM

Whoa! This is one of my favorites from the swap. The handle is out of this world and the hanger is no slouch either.

-- Rick M,

View chrisstef's profile


18140 posts in 4341 days

#12 posted 07-22-2018 01:41 AM

Whoa. I mean whoa. Hummina. Hummina.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View KelleyCrafts's profile


4793 posts in 2074 days

#13 posted 07-22-2018 02:01 AM

Excellent work Todd. God to see another metal hammer come out of this. Looks better than all the others as well. I can’t believe you kept your mouth shut during reveals as you waited to have yours posted. Seriously amazing work! That thing would have a very happy home in my shop.

-- Dave - - pen blanks - knife scales - turning tools

View ToddJB's profile


8836 posts in 3465 days

#14 posted 07-22-2018 02:06 AM

Thanks fellers.

Dave, I’m pretty sure it’s still just sitting on a porch in Kentucky if you’re up for the drive.

-- I came - I sawed - I over-built

View GR8HUNTER's profile (online now)


9316 posts in 2047 days

#15 posted 07-22-2018 02:20 AM

WOW Todd what a wonderful looking genno you have made …. a real classy looking whacker … GREAT JOB :<))

-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN :<))

showing 1 through 15 of 33 comments

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics