Written by 2:30 pm Wood, Workshop

How to Make a Wooden Mallet

Looking for an afternoon project while you’re trapped at home avoiding the Stephen King foreshadowed apocalypse? Well, I have a project for you. A wooden mallet! Apparently no woodshop is complete without one and being a tool junky I figured, let’s do it!

A wooden mallet is great for tasks where you need to tap wood into place (like joints). The wood of the mallet won’t damage your material the way a regular steel or alloy hammer will and no one likes bruised wood amiright?

A wooden mallet is also really useful in chiseling, which is something I’ve slowly been getting into as I continue the struggle of mastering dovetail joints.

This particular mallet is a mashup, a mashlet if you will of two designs, Steve Ramsey’s over at Woodworking for Mere Mortals and Makendo over at Instructables.

I struggled with making Steve’s as-is, primarily with the angles required to get the mortis and tenon to work properly in the hammerhead. I’m sure if I did it a few more times I’d be off to the races but I needed the hammer NOW and found Makendo’s to be a good alternative.

There are elements from both designs, so between the three of us you have options!

I made mine with hardwood as I want it to last a while and to be able to take a beating… as a hammer does. You could use pine or another soft wood, just know it won’t last as long.

Let’s get started!

What you’ll need

Materials

  • Wood Glue
  • 3 – 1 x 4 x 7 Maple (for the hammer head)
  • 1- ½ x ¾ x 13 Oak (for the handle)
  • Split Shot Fishing Sinkers (to act as additional weight in the head)
  • Leather or faux leather (optional)

Tools

To be honest, you can do this with a hand saw if you wanted. You don’t need any of the tools above!

Put it all together

Step 1

Take one of the 7” sections, find the center, and then mark ¾” on either side of center. This represents where the handle will go.

Step 2

On the piece from step 2, you should now have two clear “sides” of the board. Find the center of each of those sides and then head on over to your drill or drill press.

Step 3

Using a 1.5” forstner bit or hole saw, bore out a hole on center on the left and right side of the boards.

Step 4

Cut the pieces out with your miter saw so you now have two squares with holes in them. NOTE: If you want, you can just cut the 7” piece in half and then put the overhang on the outside of the hammerhead, then just trim it down later on which is what I did.

Step 5

Grab another 7” piece, find the center, and then mark off ¾” on each side again. Glue down the squares with holes in them on either side of where the handle will be. You can even pop the 1.5×1.5 oak blank (or whatever you’re using” into the void to get better spacing.

Clamp down and let cure for ½ hour or so.

Step 6

While the glue is drying, take your handle over to the router and pass each edge over a roundover bit. This will make holding the hammer way more comfortable.

If you don’t have a router or a round-over bit, you can sand down each of the edges. Just be careful not to sand too much, otherwise, the handle will be too loose in the hammerhead.

Step 7

Once the glue is dry on the two pieces in the hammerhead, fill up the holes with a balanced amount of fishing sinkers. I picked up a hodgepodge of sizes at my local store. Just make sure you use equal amounts on both sides so you have a well-balanced hammer. Otherwise, if you put more weight on one side it’ll feel weird in your hands.

Step 8

Check to see if the handle still fits between the two blocks. It should be nice and tight in the space.

Step 9

Glue the last piece of maple in place so you should have, in essence, a three-piece sandwich. With the weights in the middle.

Let it cure overnight.

Step 10

Flush up the ends and sides of the hammerhead with your saw.

Step 11

Run each edge through the router with a round-over bit.

Step 12

Add the handle. Again, this should be really tight and you may have to pound the hell out of the handle to get it in (make sure you use a rubber mallet or something to do that).

Mine was so tight I didn’t need any glue. If you find that there’s a little wiggle or give with yours, add some glue to the hole before pushing the handle through to help hold it in place.

Step 13

I added some strips of leather to the end of the hammer to add some additional protection. I think you can make this step optional though.

Step 14

I haven’t done this yet, but I plan on adding a coat of linseed or tung oil to the hammer, just to give it some additional flare and dimension.

And now you have a wooden mallet!

If you decide to make this, please let me know in the comments below with a link to some pictures!

And if you have any suggestions on how I can improve this in the future I’d love to hear that too!

Thanks everyone,

/AP

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Credits

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Tags: , , , Last modified: March 31, 2020
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