Stonecutter's mallet

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Project by MichaelT77 posted 08-29-2012 01:54 AM 3480 views 2 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch

The mallet on the left belonged to my great-grandfather. He worked for a limestone company in southern Indiana in the early 1900’s. My dad gave it to me many years ago. My neighbor across the street owns a tree cutting service. He gave me a few pieces of osage orange. Having recently acquired a lathe (very used), I decided to make a mallet. I probably should have cut off a little more, and I think the cracks resulted from me lettng it dry too quickly. I turned the head and the handle, and then bored a hole in the head. I hammered a wedge into the handle to tighten it up. No glue. It’s really just for looks, and would probably break if I hit it on anything hard. It doesn’t have as much character as the original, but it was good for practice.

-- Michael T, Pittsburgh, PA

4 comments so far

View TRYPHON974's profile


88 posts in 3632 days

#1 posted 08-29-2012 04:52 AM

It sure looks nice!

View nuttree's profile


280 posts in 4174 days

#2 posted 08-29-2012 05:08 AM

I think it looks terrific.

-- I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in. -John Muir

View glue4you's profile


164 posts in 3330 days

#3 posted 08-29-2012 07:17 AM

Hi Michael, it looks very nice. Your ancestors would be proud.

Reading about the glueless hammering-in the handle I wonder if it didn’t crack because of that. If you add a dry or nearly dry handle into still wet or moist wood the handle itself might swell up a tiny bit while the drying piece itself does the opposite and shrink in diameter. Another possible reason might be the wedge itself.
Never mind. I went to the basement yesterday to see how the preturned cherry bowl was doing in its paper bag …. well … cracked. I even cooked it and still so much tension in the wood. I’m now thinking about doweling the crack diagonally and turning it anyway – using a faceshield a devilish sharp tools. It’s wood and that’s what makes it such a fascinating material.

-- Alex ----- Bavaria in Germany

View HalDougherty's profile


1820 posts in 4087 days

#4 posted 08-29-2012 11:03 AM

When I turn green wood, I never wait for it to dry. I record the weight, then I heat it in the microwave for a couple of minutes (longer if it’s a big piece) at full power, then I weigh it again and start it on the defrost meat cycle for the same weight of meat. My microwave runs at 50% on defrost and the internal computer calculates the time based on the weight. The first high heat cycle breaks down the cell walls so the water bound in the cells can be released easily. Each time I defrost my turning, I give it time to return to room temperature. I either wrap the turning in some kind of towel or put it in a brown paper grocery bag. I weigh it each time and when it stops loosing weight, It’s ready for the final turning to re-round the turning. I get a lot fewer cracks this way and I hate waiting!

-- Hal, Tennessee

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