2019 Mallet Swap Entry

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Project by JD77 posted 11-15-2019 11:10 PM 311 views 0 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch

The 2019 Mallet Swap was my first swap and I highly recommend it to those who haven’t tried it out yet.

As I told my recipient Hairy, I probably would not have joined if I hadn’t decided about a week prior that I really needed to make myself a new mallet. When I visited my local crack dealer, I mean wood supplier, I found some purpleheart. Since they only supply local wood normally, they made sure everyone got a couple of board feet. I grabbed some persimmon and made a plan. And then this swap came up.

The head of the mallet is a glue-up of persimmon with purpleheart accents running lengthwise that I turned until it was about 1 lb. After trimming off the corners on the saw, I rounded the persimmon blank.

I rigged up what I can only call a spit on my small crosscut sled. I used the marks on the lathe screw drive to index the cuts. Low-tech, but it was actually pretty secure. I think I may eventually make up a jig specifically for this.

The mallet handle is some white oak scraps that I ended up burning to give it a nice toasted look. I initially left it natural, but I didn’t care for the oak against persimmon. After burning the surface, I wire-brushed the darkest spots to even the tone, sanded a little, then friction-finished with blonde shellac followed by wax.

The bonus gift is a bottle opener that I made with the offcuts from the mallet. Unfortunately, I guess I didn’t take any pics while making it. I took the four corners I had trimmed from the persimmon glue-up and some left-over purpleheart strips and glued them together. Same turning and finishing techniques as the mallet. Forstner bits were used to make the cap recess after turning, glued in a magnet and screwed in a brass washer. I did stick a brass finial on the end to cover up the center-mark from the turning.

The truth of the matter is that I had intended this mallet to be the prototype that I would keep for myself, but I ran out of time. Fortunately, it came out better than I expected, so it’ll probably be better than the one I do make for myself!

15 comments so far

View EarlS's profile


3309 posts in 2910 days

#1 posted 11-15-2019 11:31 PM

You nailed it!!! Great first swap. Hairy is a lucky guy. It looks like it “turned” out great.

I think we all start out making prototypes and run out of time with the intention of making another one for ourselves. Sometimes it works out and sometimes not. Still, the fun is in making something for a fellow woodworker and pushing to try something new. I sincerely hope you continue participating in swaps.

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

View anthm27's profile


1545 posts in 1672 days

#2 posted 11-16-2019 12:42 AM

wow, that is truly something, Great the effort you’ve put into that generous swap item.
Truly superb.

-- Hand Skills provide freedom.

View jeffswildwood's profile


4187 posts in 2539 days

#3 posted 11-16-2019 01:03 AM

No question, that is one beautiful mallet! Nice work buddy!

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

View therealSteveN's profile


4318 posts in 1136 days

#4 posted 11-16-2019 01:06 AM

I like Persimmon a lot, but sometimes it’s got a little wild in it, and then I call it banana wood, or sometimes dogs hind leg wood. Once you get it straightened out, it’s kinda nice.

Would appear you got yours straight, nice job.

-- Think safe, be safe

View hairy's profile


3004 posts in 4094 days

#5 posted 11-16-2019 02:53 AM

It’s much better than he says it is.

You know I’m stealing that trick about cutting slots , thanks.

-- Genghis Khan and his brother Don, couldn't keep on keeping on...

View KelleyCrafts's profile


4056 posts in 1301 days

#6 posted 11-16-2019 06:49 AM

Well done! Interesting idea for the segmented look alike parts. Awesome.

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

View mikeacg's profile


1211 posts in 1619 days

#7 posted 11-16-2019 11:45 AM

Very nice – and I too will be stealing the slot-cutting trick! Way to shine on your first swap… Here’s to many more!!!

-- Mike, A Yooper with a drawl,

View sras's profile


5257 posts in 3691 days

#8 posted 11-16-2019 01:44 PM

Nice looking mallet!

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View Dave Polaschek's profile (online now)

Dave Polaschek

4306 posts in 1144 days

#9 posted 11-16-2019 01:44 PM

Very nice way to challenge yourself on your first swap!

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View Bill Berklich's profile

Bill Berklich

966 posts in 950 days

#10 posted 11-16-2019 01:45 PM

Nicely done and thanks for sharing your slotting method.

-- Bill - Rochester MI

View JD77's profile


30 posts in 251 days

#11 posted 11-16-2019 02:07 PM

You know I m stealing that trick about cutting slots, thanks.

- hairy

Well done! Interesting idea for the segmented look-alike parts. Awesome.

- KelleyCrafts

Thanks, guys, I definitely learned a few new tricks on this project. The idea came from all those tablesaw-dowelmaker jigs. I originally envisioned cutting the slots at an angle so they would curve around the circumference, but I wasn’t brave enough to try that first. I would say segments would be just as easy if the straight axial slot inlay were your goal. The temporary jig I made worked but was limited to a single pass for each cut. After cutting the slots, I made the strips to fit. I should have used a dado stack because the bottom of the slot wasn’t as clean as it needed to be.

I do think I will pursue making a more capable jig for smaller bowls and vases, but I may go for the router table instead.

View HokieKen's profile


11541 posts in 1700 days

#12 posted 11-16-2019 02:53 PM

So that’s how you did that!! I love these JD. Really glad you joined this swap and hope to see you in future ones. I really like making unique bottle openers too so kudos on that design. Great designs and excellent execution!!

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View doubleDD's profile


8803 posts in 2605 days

#13 posted 11-16-2019 10:03 PM

Awesome mallet. That’s some nice craftsmanship there.

-- Dave, Downers Grove, Il. -------- When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams.

View GR8HUNTER's profile


6693 posts in 1274 days

#14 posted 11-17-2019 06:48 PM

this is what makes these swaps so fun your not a new guy you fit right into the veteran class GREAT JOB :<))

-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN

View duckmilk's profile


3894 posts in 1886 days

#15 posted 11-18-2019 10:14 PM

Great looking mallet. 1 pound? That’s a heafty one.

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

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