Advice on wood to build a carpenter's hammer

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Forum topic by Jimmy0x52 posted 02-15-2012 02:31 AM 4059 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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31 posts in 3310 days

02-15-2012 02:31 AM

Topic tags/keywords: cedar mesquite

I have a good source of both cedar and mesquite. Would either of those make a good mallet? I’m thinking of making one laminating three pieces together.

Would either of those make a decent hammer from a hardness and weight perspective?

-- Jimmy, Austin, TX - Software developer by day, woodworker by night

7 replies so far

View cabmaker's profile


1745 posts in 3818 days

#1 posted 02-15-2012 02:34 AM

Mesquite would be the wood of choice from those two for sure. I know that in your area both are plentiful.JB

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31 posts in 3310 days

#2 posted 02-15-2012 02:38 AM

I can probably get enough scraps for free to build a great one. Do you think I could do two pieces of mesquite on the outside with a piece of cedar in the middle and a mesquite handle – just to add a little visual interest?

-- Jimmy, Austin, TX - Software developer by day, woodworker by night

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 3700 days

#3 posted 02-15-2012 02:53 AM

The cedar will be too soft unless you are going to ‘face’ it with something else.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View Loren's profile


11021 posts in 4657 days

#4 posted 02-15-2012 03:00 AM

Go for mass and toughness. Cedar has neither.

View Danpaddles's profile


588 posts in 3321 days

#5 posted 02-15-2012 04:18 AM

use the mesquite on the grill. Get some hickory for a handle, hard maple or lignum vitae for the head. Build bird feeders from the cedar.

Wait- carpenters hammer? You have a steel head and want to put a handle on it? Hickory for sure.

I am a wood worker, not a carpenter. I use several mallets, hickory and maple.

-- Dan V. in Indy

View Will Mego's profile

Will Mego

307 posts in 4722 days

#6 posted 02-15-2012 04:35 AM

actually, the mesquite is a fine wood, better than just for the grill. One of the lowest shrinking woods, and very hard. It measures 2345 on the Janka Scale. For comparison Hard Maple is 1450. However, Cedar is WAY too soft, measuring around 900. Hickory is prized as a tool handle as is white ash and such partly because of the easy availability of the woods in good quality. Mesquite is harder, and has better flexibility for tools, however finding quality wood is rare, because it’s difficult to cut and dry successfully without significant downgrades to these qualities.

So if you’ve got good mesquite, go for it, but if it’s THAT nice, save it for something better, clear mesquite is somewhat rare because of the drying (although once dry, the most dimensionally stable). It would make a great mallet head, or handle though. I use a mulberry mallet which between that and Osage Orange is easily my favorite tool/handle woods for strength/good flexibility. The cedar will betray you while you sleep and post inappropriate videos of you on facebook. Use it to line boxes or scare bugs or make pretty ceilings.

-- "That which has in itself the greatest use, possesses the greatest beauty." -

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31 posts in 3310 days

#7 posted 02-15-2012 05:02 AM

@danpaddles i can’t tell if you’re being sarcastic or not. If you are, my eyes are rolling.

@Will thanks for the advice. Sounds like the mesquite is the way to go if i can find it.

-- Jimmy, Austin, TX - Software developer by day, woodworker by night

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