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Forum topic by dv8eod posted 10-24-2020 03:09 PM 284 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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42 posts in 99 days

10-24-2020 03:09 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question mallet dryness assembly design

I can’t remember where I saw it, but the topic was making mallets. They described the whole process from milling to completion.
My question comes in where they use two different woods; one dry for the handle and the other green for the head. For instance, a dry hickory handle and a green dogwood head.

I understand that the head will shrink to tighten around the end of the handle, but does the handle swell at the connection? Is there a transfer of moisture from the head to the handle? Does the moisture content balance out at that point or does the handle resist it? How much should be allowed in the tolerances for the shrinkage to prevent the head from splitting as it dries?

I remember that the woods they were using for the heads were past the weeping stage so there was some drying in the green wood, just not sure how much.

Thanks in advance for your replies.

3 replies so far

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10788 posts in 4563 days

#1 posted 10-24-2020 05:06 PM

Same principle as stool and chair legs in many schools of traditional woodworking.

I wouldn’t worry too much about a dry handle splitting a head. The grain goes the other way so the head is not in as much jeopardy as you might imagine.

If you want to make one, give it a try and if it doesn’t hold up you’ll have learned something.

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1815 posts in 1504 days

#2 posted 10-24-2020 05:20 PM

The exact answer involves the moisture content of both pieces and the differential rate of expansion/contraction for each specie. Even with a moisture meter and a copy of the USDA “Wood Handbook: Wood as an Engineering Material” there is so much variance and tolerance in the wood that your best answer is usually a SWAG.

Build it and see.

-- The hump with the stump and the pump!

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42 posts in 99 days

#3 posted 10-24-2020 11:58 PM

Thanks for the replies, gentlemen. I kind of figured it would go something like that. My real issue is I have too much time on my hands to think of such things. Some day I hope to be able to spend some time in my shop and actually make something instead of sitting around thinking of projects I want to build.

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