LumberJocks

Wooden Mallets for Joinery

  • Advertise with us

« back to Joinery forum

Forum topic by Papa_Bear posted 10-25-2020 05:13 PM 564 views 0 times favorited 29 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Papa_Bear's profile

Papa_Bear

16 posts in 36 days


10-25-2020 05:13 PM

Topic tags/keywords: wooden mallets joinery mallets wooden mallet designs wooden mallet ergonomics wooden mallet materials wooden mallet questions

Hi all—I’m new to woodworking and I’ve started making cabinets and furniture. Being new to the craft I know next to nothing. I’ve seen so many different wooden mallets on YouTube and in forums like these that I feel totally lost.

Now for the question…

As an aspiring furnature and cabinetry maker what should I look for in a wooden mallet?

Thank you in advance!

-- Papa Bear


29 replies so far

View CaptainKlutz's profile

CaptainKlutz

3827 posts in 2408 days


#1 posted 10-25-2020 05:59 PM

What do YOU want to whack?

There are many ergonomic factors when using a mallet. Different folks have different size hands, different physical strength, and work wood differently. That is why there are many choices.

Some folks don’t like using a large wooden mallet at all, and use smaller whacking tool called a hammer. The Japanese use metal hammers for whacking their wood chisels for centuries.

IMHO – Best to make a couple different types and learn what style you like best.

BTW – Wooden whackers wear out when weally used. lol
Making several to determine your favorite style will not be wasting time. The lessor choices will become back up when you ‘fly off the handle’ and wreck your favorite in middle of project.

Best Luck!

-- If it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all, - Albert King - Born Under a Bad Sign released 1967

View Rich1955's profile

Rich1955

169 posts in 304 days


#2 posted 10-25-2020 06:10 PM

It depends on what you are going to do with it. For working with chisels I use a round carvers mallet that I made. for joinery I prefer a small 7oz, dead blow mallet as it won’t mar the work piece. If you like a wooden mallet, I would make my own, there easy to make and you can customize the handle to fit your hands, as for weight be careful not to make it to heavy, your arms will thank you. I would also put a thick piece of leather on the face so you don’t mar your work. Search on you tube to see how to make one. Hope this helps!

-- Rich

View MPython's profile

MPython

316 posts in 726 days


#3 posted 10-25-2020 06:13 PM

I use mallets for two different tasks: striking chisels and knocking joints together (or apart). I don’t use the same mallet for both tasks. I use a round mallet for chisels (the two mallets on the left in the photo below) and a heavy, leather faced mallet for knocking joinery together (the mallet on the right in the photo below).

Both kinds are fairly simple to make, but you probably need a lathe to turn the round ones. You can substitute a dead-blow mallet for the other one (I have one and I use it interchangeably with the wooden mallet for assembly and disassembly of joinery). I like some “presence” or weight in both kinds of mallets. I bought my two round mallets and my dead-blow mallet. All three have enough mass to suit me. I made the wooden, leather faced mallet and weighted the head with lead shot to give it some more “presence.” A soft face is essential in my view for assembly and disassembly of joinery, hence the leather face on my big wooden mallet. My dead-blow mallet has a urethane covering that serves the same purpose of cushioning the blow. A hard face on these mallets bruises the workpiece and can easily leave permanent dents that mar your finished project.

.

View SMP's profile

SMP

2859 posts in 819 days


#4 posted 10-25-2020 06:40 PM

I made one from the Wood By Wright youtube video out of oak firewood. It worked great for bashing stuff but was way too heavy and tired out my shoulder pretty quickly. After doing some research and seeing that both Paul Sellers and Richard Maguire both use and were recommending the Thor 712 mallet, i bought one on Amazon and thats pretty much all I use now. The hard face is good for most things, and when pounding joinery together I just use the soft face, so works for 99% of everything i do:
https://www.amazon.com/Thor-712R-Faced-Hammer-Handle/dp/B0001P0YF0

View Papa_Bear's profile

Papa_Bear

16 posts in 36 days


#5 posted 10-25-2020 07:47 PM

CaptainKlutz—Thank you! I want to wack chizles and joinery. Your suggestion to make multiples to figure out what works best is an awesome idea. Knowing that i want to wack chizles and joinery but know nothing about woodworking because I’m super noob what designs do you think I should focus on at starting?

Rich1955—Thank you. Extremely helpful! Few questions for ya…
1. Do you have a particular design you like for the round carvers mallet?
2. Same question for a dead blow mallet.

MPython—thank you for your input, you deffintily braight the points made by Rich1955 into sharper clarity for me. That being said… I do not have a lathe and so for rounded mallets I’ll most likely have to buy as well. With this in mind do you have any suggestions for a manufacturer or a craftsman that makes a quality tool?

SMP—thanks man! I’ll take a look at the Thor 712 mallet. Any grips with the tool you’d like to air out? Or are you happy as a clam with the Thor 712?

Again thank you to all of you for sharing your wisdom. As a new woodworker it’s hard to know where to start and this is what I needed.

-- Papa Bear

View SMP's profile

SMP

2859 posts in 819 days


#6 posted 10-25-2020 08:41 PM



SMP—thanks man! I ll take a look at the Thor 712 mallet. Any grips with the tool you d like to air out? Or are you happy as a clam with the Thor 712?
- Papa_Bear

Well, I know Paul Sellers didn’t like the grip on the plastic handled version. I saw him cut off the rubber part and rasp and sand the plastic and stained it brown. When I saw the wood handled version on amazon, i just ordered that one instead. On most wooden handled tools they are usually to shiny/slippery for my taste so I normally scrape/sand the handles and refinish with shellac or BLO but in this case its been “good enough”, not my first choice on finish but works good enough to where i am too lazy to personalize it lol! I also have a marples wooden mallet that is a better size than the one i made but i never use that one now either. If money was no object I would probably buy a Blue Spruce carvers mallet with the poly impregnated maple for carving. But alas I am too cheap.

View Papa_Bear's profile

Papa_Bear

16 posts in 36 days


#7 posted 10-25-2020 09:10 PM

SMP—so Blue Spruce mallets are beautiful, and they seems to be designed and engineered to a high standard.

Thanks for sharing. Still to early in the learning process to pull the trigger but deffintily the front runner now. Great suggestion SMP!

-- Papa Bear

View SMP's profile

SMP

2859 posts in 819 days


#8 posted 10-25-2020 10:39 PM



SMP—so Blue Spruce mallets are beautiful, and they seems to be designed and engineered to a high standard.

Thanks for sharing. Still to early in the learning process to pull the trigger but deffintily the front runner now. Great suggestion SMP!

- Papa_Bear

I also hear good things about the Wood Is Good mallets, but i personally don’t like the looks of them, they look like a big roller skate wheel to me. But the price is good.

View John Smith's profile

John Smith

2776 posts in 1076 days


#9 posted 10-25-2020 11:42 PM

I saw this “fitting formula” on the net of how to angle the face:

.

-- there is no educational alternative to having a front row seat in the School of Hard Knocks. --

View Papa_Bear's profile

Papa_Bear

16 posts in 36 days


#10 posted 10-25-2020 11:47 PM

John Smith—Thank you! Very cool. Does the site give any guidance on the actual angel of the light/heavy duty faces?

-- Papa Bear

View John Smith's profile

John Smith

2776 posts in 1076 days


#11 posted 10-26-2020 01:54 AM

sorry, I don’t remember what site it was – it was a few years ago.
you can find the angle of the face with a simple angle finder after you draw the diagram
of your arm and hammer on paper – and use that as a template.

.

-- there is no educational alternative to having a front row seat in the School of Hard Knocks. --

View John Smith's profile

John Smith

2776 posts in 1076 days


#12 posted 10-26-2020 01:56 AM

sorry, I don’t remember what site it was – it was a few years ago.
you can find the angle with a simple angle finder after you draw the diagram
of your arm and hammer on paper – and use that as a template.

.

-- there is no educational alternative to having a front row seat in the School of Hard Knocks. --

View therealSteveN's profile (online now)

therealSteveN

6637 posts in 1488 days


#13 posted 10-26-2020 03:38 AM

Everyone is going to be somewhat different, from all aspects. Material, weight, length, head type, and design, etc etc etc.

My favorites to just wack, to help convince parts is a shot filled 1 pound dead blow, it has a 1” diameter head. I find bigger makes splinters. I really just tap with it, if light tapping doesn’t work with 1 pound behind it, you need to take off more wood.

For tapping chisels I like a piece of Brass bar stock that is 7” long. Fits my hand like a glove, delivers the strike just like I thumped it with my hand itself, so dead on every time, and somehow it makes the angle perfect for flush hits. I never scar the top of a chisel using it. Mine is 1” diameter same as the dead blow. Most who use them opt for larger diameter, bigger ones make my arm/wrist tired feeling quickly. Mine does not. I use a pretty light tap here as well. I find those other designs dull chisels faster, and I loose control of my strikes.

I tried one of those confounded angled head mallets once, same with one of those bells shapes on a stick, and with both had close to 50% missed strikes (IE: not dead on strikes). That said I made most of my living swinging a carpenters hammer, either framing 24 oz, or curved head 16” trimmer for well over 35 years part time, and for 15 years full time. So I know how to swing a hammer.

Like I said earlier, different for every person. Make no doubt you should use some of the many choices before spending money.

-- Think safe, be safe

View Papa_Bear's profile

Papa_Bear

16 posts in 36 days


#14 posted 10-26-2020 12:53 PM

therealSteveN—thanks, Steve! As usual your wisdom is solid! I was wondering about getting dead on accurate strikes to my chizles with some of the designs I’ve seen and heard about…

Is the brass bar your using to strike the chizles just a naked piece of stock or do you modify it beyond cutting it down to your desired size?

-- Papa Bear

View MPython's profile

MPython

316 posts in 726 days


#15 posted 10-26-2020 01:50 PM

MPython—thank you for your input, you deffintily braight the points made by Rich1955 into sharper clarity for me. That being said… I do not have a lathe and so for rounded mallets I ll most likely have to buy as well. With this in mind do you have any suggestions for a manufacturer or a craftsman that makes a quality tool?

....

- Papa_Bear

Papa Bear,

I have several round mallets. My favorite is the ridiculously expensive Blue Spruce one. The striking head is infused with hard plastic, acrylic I think, and it is virtually indestructible. I’ve been using mine for several years and I can’t find a mark on it. I have a “Wood is Good” mallet. It’s much more affordable than the Blue Spruce one and works well. They offer the mallet in several sizes sizes. It has a urethane head which works like a dead blow mallet. It absorbs the shock of the blow but still delivers most of the striking force to the chisel. They are kind to your chisel handles and they too are virtually indestructible. I also have a carving mallet with a brass head. It is good for precise detail carving, but I don’t think it would be a good choice for general, all round woodworking. You might want to look at Highland Woodworking in Atlanta. They have a wide selection of all kinds of woodworking mallets. Here’s their link: https://www.highlandwoodworking.com/mallets.aspx

Python

showing 1 through 15 of 29 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com