Turning #6 – My Second Mallet

Published on by Mike  (Leave a comment)

I decided that after attempting to use the first mallet, I needed one that had a little bit of heft to it.  When looking at the prices on some of the mallets on the market that were comparable to what I was wanting to make, I decided it was worth it to use an exotic blank that was heavy.  In this case the mallet is made from a South African species known as Mopane.  This stuff was DENSE and HARD.  The blank was 3″x3″x12″, and easily weighed 3 pounds.  I bought two other blanks of the same size at the same time that were maple and cherry.  The mopane blank was heavier then those two combine!

For a newbie turner, the wood choice made this a challenging turn.  It forced me to get real good real quick at sharpening chisels as this wood was not at all forgiving with a dull chisel, and would rip out if the chisel needed sharpening.  My one regret is that I wish I had taken more time to try to smooth the head of the mallet and do a better job sanding.  There are some scratches on the head portion that didn’t become visible until I applied the finish.  Since this is a shop project, and the head is going to get abused anyway, I didn’t worry about it, and moved on.  The finish on it is, again, boiled linseed oil, with many coats of shellac sanded to 800 grit.  Overall, I am really happy with the piece, and have had two family members try to talk me out of using it for its intended purpose.  The final weigh-in for this mallet was just shy of 20 oz!

My First “Practical Turning” – A mallet

Published on by Mike  (Leave a comment)

About this time last year my Dad gave me vintage Delta lathe, that I have figured out to be the Delta Double Duty 955.  It came with a lot of worn out turning tool, all of which were too small to be practical.  I still have them, but they do not get used much.  So that I could start the process of learning how to turn, and learning how to sharpen turning tools properly, I went against my rule of not buying cheap tools and bought a very cheap set from Harbor Freight.  I still take much flak for this today.  🙂  The sad thing is, they work better than even I thought they would, and I am still using them today!

After turning several pieces of wood into saw dust, I decided I would try something small, but potentially practical.  I had just completed the purchase of my chisels and decided I could use a good chisel/carving mallet.  I wasn’t really ready yet to try spinning a big piece of wood, so I made a small one.  A very small one.  🙂  So in reality it is too small to be practical, but someday I may have a use for it.  It was turned from a 1.5″ x 1.5″ x 12″ piece of maple turning stock.  It was my first attempt at finishing on the lathe, and I had not yet found the joy of using boiled linseed oil with shellac.  I ended up staining and putting a poly finish on it.  The finish ended up burning on the piece.  If any thing, it made a neat effect.  🙂