Hickory Carver's Mallet, 2012 Swap

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Project by Smitty_Cabinetshop posted 12-24-2012 01:20 PM 3963 views 8 times favorited 31 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Synopsis: Turned carving mallet made of Hickory and given to OnlyJustMe as part of the Mallets of your Dreams ‘Mallet Swap 2012

Galoot Index: I’d have to give this a zero. It’s bandsaw and lathe work, totally.

Description: The mallet started out as a big block of hickory. A chunk, really. Ripped it on the bandsaw and again tried planing it, again without luck. I’ve run the scrub plane against this stuff as well as the sharpest jack; even a low angle jack; but hickory simply does not want to plane. Oh well. That’s not the fate that awaits this block, anyway.

With the block defined, it was over to the lathe. Nothing special about that tool; it’s an older (70s?) model Delta that is perfect for me, in that I don’t really know what I’m doing on the lathe. This is my second attempt at a finished project on the tool. I set it in and began shaping the mallet. It took awhile, but hickory (thankfully!) turns much better than it planes.

I concentrated on the head first, figuring if that came out right the rest of the tool would have to do.

Once that was pretty much defined, I went after the handle. I really (really!) didn’t have a plan or pattern, but just kept turning and letting whatever came up become the shape to define and accent. Before too long I had something that I immediately ran into the house to show my wife. :-) Not because she loves mallets, but because it was actually coming together! At this point I had hit it (I think) with a bit of sandpaper on the lathe.

From there, the progress pics stopped. So here’s what happened.

I wanted to try burning lines in the handle, to make it like a grip. I set a pair of dividers to a distance that’d fill the handle space and used those etches to carry a piece of stainless steel wire while the piece turned and made a ‘groove.’ The piece was turned with varying (progressively finer) grits of sandpaper then finished by rubbing with shavings from the bench. It kinda glowed! I was excited at this stuff, never done it before! Woodworking was a blast this day! :-)

Anyway, back to the project.

The Mallet Swap fellas on the thread were all aboard with my ‘threat’ to apply paint to my gift mallet, so I did. Colors and product used are straight from the exterior of my house: Pittsburgh Paint, exterior latex. Applied with a flux brush, allowed to dry, then ‘burnished’ with some steel wool because nothing I do is allowed to look new it seems. Finished with Minwax Antique Oil then buffed out to a soft sheen.

I shipped it off to my recipient, OnlyJustMe, and the opening was a couple days ago. Here’s the mallet in it’s new home (no action shots yet):

I loved being part of the Mallet Swap, and as always, thanks for looking!

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

31 comments so far

View Don W's profile

Don W

19314 posts in 3049 days

#1 posted 12-24-2012 01:23 PM

Smitty, first the mallet is superb, and second the pictures are a quality we only see from you. I don’t know how you do it, but its an talent not to many hold.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


16186 posts in 3100 days

#2 posted 12-24-2012 01:30 PM

Don, thanks two times! The turning was a blast, and knowing hickory can be turned is a relief because I’ve got more of it. Who wants a mallet? :-)

Lighting at the lathe end of the shop isn’t a good as my bench area, but at least it’s consistent enough for pics. Oh, and enough that I can see what I’m doing.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View bhog's profile


2238 posts in 3172 days

#3 posted 12-24-2012 01:42 PM

Nice mallet Smitt.The more I get into turning the more I see how personal a turning can be.When a guy wings it some cool stuff can come out.Well done Sir.

-- I don't drive a Prius.

View Brit's profile


7789 posts in 3324 days

#4 posted 12-24-2012 01:43 PM

Smashing Whacker Smitty. Unique and beautiful.

-- Andy - Old Chinese proverb says: "If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it."

View chrisstef's profile


17955 posts in 3488 days

#5 posted 12-24-2012 01:46 PM

Only Smitty could pull off a mallet of this proportion. You bring out best in latex paint ;)

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View Bagtown's profile


1739 posts in 4212 days

#6 posted 12-24-2012 01:48 PM

What a sexy beauty she is.
Love the handle.
Wish I’d seen this before I made mine.
Great job.

-- Mike - In Fort McMurray Alberta

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


16186 posts in 3100 days

#7 posted 12-24-2012 01:55 PM

I didn’t use it before sending it off (of course), but it seems that my hand kept sliding up the handle to the larger ‘bulb’ as a natural hold location. I’m thinking it’s a good design feature that’ll be in any others I turn.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View Mosquito's profile


9817 posts in 2774 days

#8 posted 12-24-2012 03:30 PM

Very nice work Smitty. Congrats on a successful swap :-)

-- Mos - Twin Cities, MN - -

View ShaneA's profile


7084 posts in 3080 days

#9 posted 12-24-2012 03:40 PM

Good work Smitty. You pulled the paint job off, one of these days I will stop doubting your ability to make it work. Well done!

View OnlyJustME's profile


1562 posts in 2858 days

#10 posted 12-24-2012 04:00 PM

It’s a great looking mallet and has a good weight and feel to it too. I can’t wait to use it but i have to find something to use it on. Don’t know why but hickory is one of my favorite woods too. I have to find a good respectable spot in the shop for it. I guess i have to find the shop first to do that. lol

-- In the end, when your life flashes before your eyes, will you like what you see?

View AnthonyReed's profile


10105 posts in 2922 days

#11 posted 12-24-2012 04:12 PM

Fantastic work Smitty.

I am also with Don in being fascinated with the quality of your photography; second to none.

-- ~Tony

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


16186 posts in 3100 days

#12 posted 12-24-2012 05:24 PM

Thanks, Gents, for your views and comments. Not a bad whacker after all, thanks Andy. lol

@Shane – Know that paint can be your friend. Not all wood needs to be naked all the time. :-)

@OJM – Looking forward to seeing it throughout many future projects!

Ready to see the rest of the Mallet Swap tools!

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View carguy460's profile


807 posts in 2817 days

#13 posted 12-24-2012 06:00 PM

Great stuff, smitty…I seriously thought you were joking about painting the mallet! I’m glad you did, it turned out sweet!

You’re starting to develop your own recognizable style, Smitty…

-- Jason K

View SASmith               's profile


1850 posts in 3469 days

#14 posted 12-24-2012 06:06 PM

Great pics and a wonderful story.

-- Scott Smith, Southern Illinois

View a1Jim's profile


117713 posts in 4059 days

#15 posted 12-24-2012 06:16 PM

very fancy carvers mallet.

showing 1 through 15 of 31 comments

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