A pair of mallets

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Project by Texasgaloot posted 07-28-2008 05:38 AM 2668 views 3 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

(Film noir narrative mode active:)
So I’m working on a large project that is going to need a lot of tenons. With tenons, of course, come mortises. I figured I’m going to be chopping mortises with my crispy new Sorby chisel, and my old faithful Estwing leather-gripped hammer, while a noble tool indeed, is not what I need to be banging on the blunt end of a chisel with. Furthermore, I had a block of 8/4 purpleheart laying around, as well as a couple of pieces of mesquite rejectd from the local sawmill, so I decided I would laminate a couple of mallets, one large and one small. The large one is purpleheart with a red oak core and handle. The handle is a work in progress, although it does have a sweet spot developing nicely. It was supposed to be a bit larger than it is, but as I was cutting corners (literally) and not using Galoot-methods in order to save some time, my 1/2” round over bit launched a purpleheart bullet from one upper corner. I have integrated the experience into my central processor which yields that while purple heart is so hard it will burn before the belt sander sands it, it is extremely brittle, a fact I will need to be aware of before I actually hit something with it. On the other hand, the smaller of the two mallets is made with all native Texas woods; mesquite, with a cedar handle. Cedar is probably a stupid choice for a handle, but I was interested in a little sensory gratification—it smelled SO good, and it pared SO sweetly. Tried out Japanese chisels for the first time, and was very surprised. Very nice. Also tried wedged tenons for the first time—my hands hurt so much from fitting them that it’s hard to type, but they look slick. Tell me what you think!

-- There's no tool like an old tool...

10 comments so far

View cajunpen's profile


14578 posts in 4580 days

#1 posted 07-28-2008 05:48 AM

Your mallets are great looking – be gentle with that cedar handled one though. I’d hate to have either of them applied to back of my head :-))

-- Bill - "Suit yourself and let the rest be pleased."

View ShannonRogers's profile


540 posts in 4302 days

#2 posted 07-28-2008 06:36 AM

Very nice board whackers. Great job on the wedged tenons.

-- The Hand Tool School is Open for Business! Check out my blog and podcast "The Renaissance Woodworker" at

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6866 posts in 4494 days

#3 posted 07-28-2008 07:08 AM

Hi Tex;

Very pretty mallets. I’d use the cedar handled one for “Gentle” tasks, and the other one for the mortises.

Very nice workmanship.


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View SPHinTampa's profile


567 posts in 4200 days

#4 posted 07-28-2008 02:32 PM

Looks good.

-- Shawn, I ask in order to learn

View Garyb6's profile


306 posts in 4144 days

#5 posted 07-28-2008 02:53 PM

Nice. On my list of things to do.

-- Garyb6, “True simplicity does not reveal the tremendous effort it requires.” - Somerset Maugham

View Texasgaloot's profile


465 posts in 4214 days

#6 posted 07-28-2008 05:18 PM

A couple of points I forgot to mention:

Yes, the cedar-handled mallet is for gentle purposes, but then on the other hand neither of these mallets are intended for timber framing or driving shipbuilders’ slicks. I also figure that a cedar handle is easily replaced (as in, almost expendable) with some cocabolo or something like that, when the time finally comes and I actually have some cocabolo.

The other thing I forgot to mention was the finish, which is pure Galoot: 3 coats of amber shellac. I actually documented a project as I went, for a change, so I would be happy blog this if there is anyone interested.

-- There's no tool like an old tool...

View sIKE's profile


1271 posts in 4268 days

#7 posted 07-28-2008 05:33 PM

Very Nice! I love the use of mesquite!

-- //FC - Round Rock, TX - "Experience is what you get just after you need it"

View Quixote's profile


206 posts in 4152 days

#8 posted 08-21-2008 05:52 AM

I keep looking at all these absolutely beautiful mallets and realize that I wouldn’t have the heart to use it.

If you’re up to blogging, I’d love to read it.


-- I don't make sawdust...I produce vast quantities of "Micro Mulch."

View Texasgaloot's profile


465 posts in 4214 days

#9 posted 08-21-2008 05:10 PM

sIKE: it was a good use for a piece that was too short for my other projects!

Q: I’ll dig up the photos. I finished a dead-blow mallet as well, just to have one, and I’ll throw that in for the same price!

-- There's no tool like an old tool...

View jeanmarc's profile


1899 posts in 4230 days

#10 posted 08-30-2008 07:36 PM

very nice

-- jeanmarc manosque france

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