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!