Wood for carpenters mallet head?

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Forum topic by Brett posted 11-04-2011 09:36 PM 31152 views 0 times favorited 33 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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668 posts in 3071 days

11-04-2011 09:36 PM

What types of wood are suitable for making the head a carpenter’s mallet (the kind with the boxy head, not round)? I know that beech is traditionall, but are there other, more plentiful, woods that have enough impact resistance?

-- More tools, fewer machines.

33 replies so far

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3463 days

#1 posted 11-04-2011 09:45 PM

Any hardwood will do. The harder and heavier the better. I have a mallet made of maple many years ago. If I ever make another one, I may try an exotic that is even harder and heavier. Lignum vitae would be the ultimate. It has a specific gravity of 1.3 and a Janka index of 4000.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View Brandon's profile


4152 posts in 3340 days

#2 posted 11-04-2011 09:50 PM

I made one out of jatoba and one out of bocote. They both are holding up nicely. Click for details

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

View Don W's profile

Don W

19206 posts in 2956 days

#3 posted 11-04-2011 10:36 PM

both cherry.

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

View RGtools's profile


3372 posts in 3043 days

#4 posted 11-06-2011 05:29 AM

Mines walnut. Hard heavy woods are good but don’t go crazy on the hardness scale since the harder your mallet is the more likely you are to blow up a chisel handle. I would rather make a mallet than re-handle a chisel.

-- Make furniture that lasts as long as the tree - Ryan

View pariswoodworking's profile


389 posts in 2873 days

#5 posted 11-06-2011 06:42 AM

I made a mallet (round head) out of bodark (osage orange) once. It was really hard and heavy. I don’t know how well it would work for woodworking. I traded it to a friend who is a leatherworker before I ever used it for woodworking (I did use it a little when I was trying to learn leatherworking). He said it was great for punches and stamps. It might also be good for woodworking. You might try that. You could probably find some on ebay or somewhere else online for a decent price.

-- Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former. -- Albert Einstein

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389 posts in 2873 days

#6 posted 11-06-2011 10:07 AM

Cherry Walnut and maple are also good choices without going overboard on hardness.

-- Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former. -- Albert Einstein

View StumpyNubs's profile


7709 posts in 3189 days

#7 posted 11-06-2011 04:00 PM

Different woods for different weights for different uses. There’s even a place for pine in mallet heads!

By the way, EVERYONE please do me and Charles a favor: click over to the Charles Niel vs Stumpy Nubs contest thread and help judge the boxes! Then come back here and continue your discussion with the warm inner feeling of having done another good deed…

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View paratrooper34's profile


915 posts in 3340 days

#8 posted 11-06-2011 11:54 PM

Beech. I have a massive beech hammer for all around bench use and it holds up very well to the abuse.

-- Mike

View PurpLev's profile


8551 posts in 4037 days

#9 posted 11-07-2011 12:04 AM

As stated – any hardwood. I used hardwood from old pallets:
Click for details

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Chris 's profile


1879 posts in 4380 days

#10 posted 11-07-2011 12:10 AM

I made several of these a few years ago and they are still going strong. The laminated head seems to work extremely well.

Click for details

-- "Everything that is great and inspiring is created by the individual who labors in freedom" -- Albert Einstein

View CodyJames's profile


78 posts in 2795 days

#11 posted 11-07-2011 12:22 AM

StumpyNubs said it best, different mallets different jobs, soft woods for softer, harder woods for harder. Different shapes and sizes as well. One of my favorite mallets a round handle, with a fatter round head. All one piece of wood, Maple. It’s “officially” a chisel mallet, but, I use it for darn near everything and if I want a softer dead blow on it, I have a leather bag I found at a garage sale that I put over it.

View RS Woodworks's profile

RS Woodworks

533 posts in 3640 days

#12 posted 11-08-2011 09:59 AM

I made mine out of maple and jatoba. Jatoba is extremely hard, dense and heavy. I use it regularly to bang on chisels and pound in dowels and it has held up very well.


-- I restore the finest vintage tools! If you need a nice plane, saw, marking tool or brace, please let me know!

View jace_robert's profile


20 posts in 2864 days

#13 posted 11-12-2011 03:49 AM

I am currently researching about hand tools and in Woodworking Magazine from Autumn 2008 there is a list of tools reprinted from Charles H. Heyward and modified by the author Christopher Schwarz that recommends a mallet as haveing a 5” head and made from Beech.

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 4282 days

#14 posted 11-12-2011 04:21 AM

just 2 observations

a “carpenters” mallet tells me how many stripes a person has on their shoulders, and to ask that question and read the answers leeds me to the next observation

nobody asked

whatcha doin with it ?……………here in lies the answer

you probably dont need one but they are fun to make, especially if they work when your done making one so I’m gonna go with, what ever you have on hand and agree with the crowd.

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 4282 days

#15 posted 11-12-2011 04:34 AM

a “mallet’ quickly teaches both “its” limitations, and “yours”

: ))

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

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