Pair of Scrapwood Mallets

  • Advertise with us
Project by JD77 posted 09-03-2019 04:20 AM 1617 views 1 time favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

In between glue-ups for a stack of Christmas projects, I finally got around to turning some scraps into a pair of mallets. I wasn’t happy with the previous versions and had earmarked some scraps for the upgrade. I used mostly some dogwood, a little cedar, and I reused one face from the previous version. In truth, it was ridiculously simple, just needed the time.
I can’t remember where I first saw this style, but you only need a regular iron pipe t-fitting, either 3/4 or 1 inch. I used one of each. The 3/4 fitting was originally black pipe that I cleaned and painted with red spraypaint. The 1 in fitting was galvanized and rather than paint it, I wire-wheeled it and it came out pretty nice. I did clear-coat it to prevent it from dulling, but I have no idea if that has had any impact.

I milled up the scraps into handle blanks and cut the cedar in half to make a couple of soft faces.

I first turned the faces for the 3/4 in mallet out of the small dogwood chunk. I wasn’t thinking about the order of operations, but I should have threaded the first tenon before shaping the other end and the faces. I didn’t have anything to hold the faces with and ended up tearing up the finish pretty badly. After I got them threaded, I had to clean them up on the lathe, but they look okay. To thread them, I filed a groove in one of the female threads to plow them into the tapered tenon. Because they are NPT, the tenons do need to be tapered.

I turned the 3/4 in handle next. I roughed in the top half and cut the tenon to fit, then stuck the blank end in the vise and turned the fitting with a short pipe segment, much easier! I determined that I wanted my handles to be a little longer than before. I made them double “coke-bottle” so that they are comfortable for a full swing, or choked-up for tapping. These handles also have flat sides where the blank is narrower side-to-side than for-and-aft. I was a little off-center on the first and the flat sides didn’t match.

I ended up just hitting the high side with a bench plane and getting it close before hand sanding the transitions.

Basically, I repeated the process for the 1 in fitting. I finished both handles with Howards Orange-oil and beeswax finish. I did make two of the cedar faces, but I will be reusing one of the oak faces because it was fine and I expect the softer cedar to break, so I have a replacement already made. I noted from my prior mallets that the edges tend to break if you do not have the faces fully seated on the rim of the fitting. I am satisfied with the weight of these, but it would be easy to add lead shot if desired. I do have some persimmon that I intended to glue up into faces, but the oak was plenty hard and I want a soft face as well.

Thanks for looking!

10 comments so far

View Andre's profile


5015 posts in 3149 days

#1 posted 09-03-2019 05:56 AM

Looks great and very practical! I picked up the Veritas L.V. Brass version years ago, but never ever really found a use for it? My little tapper as per Kiefer’s design is what stays on the bench at all times.

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

View kiwilynne's profile


313 posts in 1121 days

#2 posted 09-03-2019 08:00 AM

Mate these are awesome! Nice work.

-- Lynne, New Zealand - Crikey, Aussie is another country, Bro.

View HokieKen's profile


20743 posts in 2481 days

#3 posted 09-03-2019 12:08 PM

Very Nice JD! I’ve seen hammers using the pipe Tees but never seen the faces threaded on like that. Brilliant!

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

View d_sinsley's profile


202 posts in 898 days

#4 posted 09-03-2019 02:14 PM

This is a cool idea. I just made a pair of screw drivers and was going to make a small mallet to match. This is a great idea using the pipe fitting.

-- Devon

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

27273 posts in 4448 days

#5 posted 09-03-2019 08:52 PM

Nice mallets. The Tee ads some weight to the wacking!

Cheers, Jim

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

View James E McIntyre's profile

James E McIntyre

1700 posts in 2635 days

#6 posted 09-05-2019 09:26 PM

Marvelous Mallets JD. I like how you indexed the handles.
I want to make some of these but I don’t own a ladle. I was thinking about buying a die 3/4-14 and using a 1” dowel.
Great job!

-- James E McIntyre

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