Little Mallet

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Project by David Kirtley posted 04-09-2012 12:07 AM 5061 views 4 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Little Mallet
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I have always wanted one of those little mallets like Glen-Drake sells but never wanted to spend that much money for it.

I started with a piece of 1-1/4 in (About 35mm to you Metricans) brass that I had picked up at work but never could get a good finish on. Well, I finally spent some time this weekend sharpening up a set of tools for cutting brass. Once turned to diameter, the rest of it was turned with regular wood turning tools.

After turning it, I chucked it up in a vise, milled a small flat on it, and drilled a 1/2in through hole. Then the fun began. I cut off a small piece of Texas ebony for the handle and thought I would turn it on my mini-lathe since I had already put my cheesy steady rest on and I didn’t feel like messing with the big lathe. Well, I got it chucked up and started to turn a cylinder. I had not been really thinking about the impacts from the interrupted cuts to get it turned down and all of a sudden it stopped spinning while the motor was still running. I had broken one of the plastic gears on my spindle.

Well, after a few hours disassembling lathe spindle to get to the gears and yup, sure enough, split the gear right off the jack shaft. Well, I could have just bought a new gear for $10 but I decided that I didn’t want to have to go in and ever change those gears again so I went ahead and bit the bullet and ordered a full set of gears to replace all the plastic gears with metal. Think of it as a lifetime investment.

After killing the mini-lathe, I moved on over to the big lathe. Of course most of my lathe turning tools were dull from my last time turning tool steel with them. I found enough of them that were usable and went ahead and finished up the handle. Finish is just beeswax. Right now, the handle is just driven through the head but when it loosens up, I will go ahead and trim it a bit and pin it with a piece of brass rod. I was just tired and didn’t feel like messing with it.

It feels really nice in my hand and surprisingly massive. I think I will be using it a lot. Total cost ended up about triple what it would have cost to just buy one from Glen-Drake but the new gears will be a nice upgrade for my metal lathe.


It was starting to bother me so I went ahead and drilled a cross pin and drove in some brass rod to pin it on. Chopped it off with a hacksaw, peened it over and sanded it flush. The head is not going anywhere.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

7 comments so far

View oldwolf's profile


100 posts in 4505 days

#1 posted 04-09-2012 12:41 AM

Now that is a sexy little beast! I love the Texas ebony and I’m sorry to hear about the gears, I hope the metal replacements aren’t that difficult to replace

-- Oldwolf -

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1286 posts in 4245 days

#2 posted 04-09-2012 12:51 AM

Shouldn’t be that bad. I have to take it apart anyway to replace them. I will need to take it to work and use a press and bearing puller though. I have it mostly disassembled but will have to wait until I get the gears to do anything else..

I will have to whack you on the other knee with it so they match ;)

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


22436 posts in 4923 days

#3 posted 04-09-2012 02:25 AM

That is a sexy liittle mallet!!

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Jim Rowe's profile

Jim Rowe

1133 posts in 3560 days

#4 posted 04-09-2012 08:18 AM

Nice looking mallet. The scribe looks pretty neat as well. Is there a story there?

-- It always looks better when it's finished!

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1286 posts in 4245 days

#5 posted 04-09-2012 12:38 PM


No that is a run of the mill Harbor Freight automatic punch. Was just there for scale.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

View planeBill's profile


506 posts in 3656 days

#6 posted 04-10-2012 04:52 PM

That is a very nice tool! I would love to have one of my own. Great work!!

-- I was born at a very young age, as I grew up, I got older.

View BlueStingrayBoots's profile


866 posts in 5249 days

#7 posted 04-19-2012 04:59 PM

I have’nt turned soft metal yet. Great idea! beautiful combination of metal and wood.

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