H. O. Studley Infill Mallet

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Project by EarlS posted 11-16-2019 10:21 PM 1571 views 4 times favorited 20 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Initially, I wasn’t going to participate in the Mallet Swap. However, I came across a picture of the H.O. Studley infill mallet and decided I wanted to try and replicate it.

The first question that came to mind is who is Henry O. Studley and why is he so important? It turns out that he was an organ and piano maker, carpenter, and Mason who worked for the Smith Organ Co. and later for the Poole Piano Company of Quincy, Massachusetts. Studley is best known for creating the so-called Studley Tool Chest, a wall hanging tool chest that cunningly holds 218 tools in a space that takes up about 40 by 20 inches of wall space when closed. To me, the more important aspect is the amazing quality and beauty of his tools and work bench.

Studley gave the tool chest to a friend. That man’s grandson, Peter Hardwick, loaned the chest to the Smithsonian in the late 1980s as part of an exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History, until it was purchased by a private collector for an undisclosed amount of money. The current owner continues to lend the chest to the Smithsonian and other venues. It has been featured on an episode of The New Yankee Workshop and is the subject of a May 1993 article in Taunton’s Fine Woodworking and a popular wall poster.

The mallet caught my eye:

The brass details are exquisite:

I had no idea how to do the brass work, but some conversations with HokieKen and a lot of looking for square stock on line provided the answer. I was able to find some 1/8” thick, 1-1/2” square brass tubing. Kenny cut the angled ends for the head, bored out the handle opening, and as a bonus, put the beveled finials on as well. The finials make the mallet as far as I’m concerned. I owe a HUGE thanks to him for the work he put into this mallet.

The brass work was the hard part – THANK YOU KENNY!!!

The wood section of the mallet is a piece of Brazilian Ebony with a 3/4” mortise and beveled edges.

From there, I inset some brass triangles into the handle and pinned them with silver nickel pins

Some shaping on the handle and mallet was ready for finishing. The brass was polished and the handle was finished with Watco and wax.


The handle is Bocote with a brass inlay, pinned with silver nickel pins.
The wooden portion of the mallet head is Brazilian Ebony.

As a bonus item, I also sent along Virtuoso: The Tool Cabinet and Workbench of Henry O. Studley

Kenny sent me an extra brass head piece so I can make one for myself. I will need to learn how to work with brass better before I try to finish it.

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

20 comments so far

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

6675 posts in 1558 days

#1 posted 11-16-2019 10:26 PM

Awesome bit of history (I bet they have the reproduction of Studley’s cabinet at Handworks again this year) and great reproduction Earl and Kenny. Corntastic work, boys!

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View oldrivers's profile


2430 posts in 2543 days

#2 posted 11-16-2019 10:28 PM

I was unaware, thanks for sharing.

-- Soli Deo gloria!

View Bill Berklich's profile

Bill Berklich

1176 posts in 1365 days

#3 posted 11-16-2019 10:39 PM

As always l’m humbled and awed by your work. Superb!

-- Bill - Rochester MI

View duckmilk's profile


4425 posts in 2301 days

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

Awesome work Earl and Kenny! It looks stunning! Great inspiration for a beautiful mallet.

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

View hairy's profile


3197 posts in 4508 days

#5 posted 11-16-2019 11:28 PM

Excellent work!!

-- You can lead a horse to water, but you can't tie his shoes. Blaze Foley

View pottz's profile


13891 posts in 1961 days

#6 posted 11-16-2019 11:41 PM

exquisite work my friend,that is the work of a master.studley i know him well,i have a poster of his tool chest in my shop.anyone that that takes that much pride in their tool chest is a master in my would love to have seen his work.earl do you have the hard bound book on the tool chest,it’s very detailed going into depth the tools and the chest and workbench.once again beautiful work.

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

View EarlS's profile


4222 posts in 3324 days

#7 posted 11-17-2019 12:18 AM

pottz – I ordered the book as a bonus item for Keebler – my swap recipient. I glanced through the book and it is on my Christmas list.

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

View KelleyCrafts's profile


4407 posts in 1715 days

#8 posted 11-17-2019 12:30 AM

The book is phenomenal. I definitely want one. Now that we got some better pics of this mallet it’s my favorite of the swap. I heard ahead of time you were making this and was super excited to see it. You didn’t disappoint!! Beautiful!

Good job friend!

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

View anthm27's profile


1802 posts in 2086 days

#9 posted 11-17-2019 12:39 AM

Morning Earl,
I just woke up, 8 am here in Hong Kong, and your mallet swap project post was the one I was really waiting to see. As i pressed the ZOOM PICS button I found myself subconsciously whispering words under my breath. I caught myself towards the end and listened to what I was saying which was “THAT IS ABSOLUTELY HEAVENLY, ABSOLUTELY HEAVENLY” That is was what the subconscious brain was saying , now I type conscientiously and I realize those words where an understatement. Honestly speaking those ,especially the brass one is a true work of art, and further to that an extreme act of kindness to give such a beautiful piece away to another Lumberjock.
Well done Earl, Superb. Also a shout to Kenny for helping with the brass, hes number one on the metal work around here.
Great project.
Kind regards

EDIT oh and topped off with the History you shared with us all.

-- There is no hope for any of us if we keep apologizing for telling the truth.

View HokieKen's profile


16103 posts in 2115 days

#10 posted 11-17-2019 12:57 AM

It’s a winner for sure Earl! I love how you did the inlay in the handle. I can handle machining but that inlay stuff is too artsy for my brute force. Glad I could help and thanks for the shout out and the extra material to make my own head :-)

If you send me your head back, I’ll add the finials to it.. i really didn’t realize how much it adds until I saw the finished piece.

As far as I’m concerned, you and Dave are neck and neck for the “winner” of this swap. I’ll reserve final judgement on who is ultimately the winner until y’all’s bribes are in.

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

View pottz's profile


13891 posts in 1961 days

#11 posted 11-17-2019 01:21 AM

hey guys seeing all this amazing work you do really inspires me everytime i come on line here,and im not just blowin smoke im very sincere when i talk about the talent we have here on lj’s,except kenny who has super powers and doesn’t count among mortals….....just kidding,he inspires me everyday.congrats to al that make this a place we can all come and learn and grow our passion,thank you all.

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

View jeffswildwood's profile


4802 posts in 2953 days

#12 posted 11-17-2019 01:30 AM

So nice. I have got to start using brass. Buddy, I can tell you did a lot of work on this one!

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

View swirt's profile


5877 posts in 3948 days

#13 posted 11-17-2019 03:22 AM

Wow. Incredible workmanship on that. Well done.

-- Galootish log blog,

View therealSteveN's profile


7013 posts in 1550 days

#14 posted 11-17-2019 03:24 AM

Nice work Earl. That has a look of authority about it.

-- Think safe, be safe

View JohnMcClure's profile


1140 posts in 1617 days

#15 posted 11-18-2019 08:22 PM

That thing is a work of art.
It’s no clock-mallet-combo, but it comes close!
Is the design intended to allow replacing the head periodically?

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

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