What's going on everybody, I'm Johnny Brooke,
welcome back to another Crafted Workshop video. In today's video, I'm going to show you how
to build one of these woodworking mallets. This is a great beginning woodworking project,
easy to make out of scrap wood, and is super, super useful. I actually made six of these, I'm going to
keep one for myself and give away the other five, so stick around to the end of the video
to learn how you can win one of these for yourself. Let's go ahead and get started with the project! I’ve been hanging onto a few shorter scrap
hardwood cutoffs for a little while now and decided it was time to use them up. The pieces
I had included some Hard Maple, Walnut, Quartersawn White Oak, Purpleheart and Padauk. Most of these pieces were really too short
to do much of anything with, so I figured making some nice looking mallets out of them
would be perfect. After a lot of research, I landed on this design which is evidently
based on a ShopNotes article from about 25 years ago, but the design has been built by a few
other YouTube woodworkers, most notably Steve Ramsey.
The design is simple enough, with the head
of the mallet made up of a few pieces of ¾” stock glued together with a pocket of BBs
or lead weights on each end of the head. Most of the scraps I used for this build were
8/4 or 2” thick, so I first needed to resaw them on the bandsaw and then plane them down
to an even thickness on the planer. Once the pieces were milled to a consistent
thickness, I ripped them to 3 ½” wide at the bandsaw.
After ripping, I moved over to the miter saw
and squared up one end of each of the pieces before cutting them to their final length
of six inches. Next, I marked the hole location for the 1
½” hole I’ll drill to house the BBs. The hole is centered along the pieces longer
edge, at 1 ¾” from each side, and is set in 1 ¼” from the ends. After center punching the holes, I moved over
to the drill press and drilled the holes using a 1 ½” Forstner bit. Next, it was time to cut the pieces to their
final length of 2 ½”. The blade was set at 2 degrees to form a taper on one end of
the piece, and this will form a tapered mortise when glued up into the mallet head, which
will allow the handle tenon to be wedged into place. You can see here how the piece will look after
cutting, with the taper on one end. When the two pieces are cut with the tapers on the
inside edge, they form a perfect space for the wedged tenon. I did the glue up in two stages, first gluing
the center pieces to one of the outside faces, just to make things a little less stressful.
It is critical here to make sure the tapered ends are mirrored during the glue up, otherwise
this whole wedging system will not work.
I just used the second face during the
glue up to help make clamping a little easier. After letting the glue setup for about an
hour, I removed the clamps and added the BBs. After adding the BBs, I added a temporary
clamp to hold everything together while I added the main clamps. This just makes sure
you don’t end up with a couple hundred BBs on the floor of your shop.
Once the glue had dried, I scrapped off any
squeeze out and then flattened the edges with my low angle jack plane. One of my goals this
year is to do more with my hand tools, and this project really gave me a chance to get
a little practice in. The low angle jack flattened the edges in a few passes and left a super
I did make sure to check for square and make any necessary adjustments
there. Also, this little bit of curly Walnut is probably
my favorite piece of all the mallet heads. Just absolutely gorgeous. To give the heads a little more shape, I cut
a 15 degree bevel on each corner. To do this, I tilted the table of my bandsaw and made
the four cuts. With the resaw blade installed, this left a great surface that only needed
a little bit of clean up. After cutting the bevels, this is what your
mallet heads will look like. To clean up the bandsaw blade marks, I used
my smoothing plane and just needed to make a few passes. It doesn’t take much to get
rid of the blade marks if you’re using the right blade and your bandsaw is setup correctly.
Also, I knocked off the sharp corner that's in the middle of the mallet head that was
created when cutting the bevels. Back at the miter saw, I trimmed the mallet
heads to final length, cleaning up each face.
I also used a cutoff from the beveled edges
to help stabilize the pieces a little bit here. With that, the heads were pretty much finished,
so I got to work on the mallet handles. These were made out of some 6/4 Quartersawn White
Oak I had, and the final handle dimensions ended up at 1” by 1 ¼”, which was just
about perfect for my hands. To figure out the length of the handles, I
used a dead blow mallet that I like the feel of and made sure to leave enough room for
the tenon to go all the way through the mallet head with about an inch of extra space for
adding the wedges.
I went with a length of 13 inches and this worked out just about perfect. I then cut the pieces to length at the miter
saw before moving over to the table saw to cut the tenons. Since I don’t have a tenoning jig, I decided
to use a dado stack to cut the tenons. The first step here was to cut the shoulder lines
using my regular table saw blade. One thing to note here, the depth of the cut
on the faces of the handle vs the edges of the handle were different, so I first cut
the shoulders on the faces of the handles before adjusting the blade and cutting the
shoulders on the edges. To get the exact fit I wanted, I first cut
the shoulder on the tip of the handle and made sure I had a good fit in the mortise
on the mallet, and then I could cut the actual shoulder lines. Next, I swapped my regular blade for my dado
stack, readjusted the height for the faces of the handles, and then started removing
A tenoning jig probably would have been a little faster, but this still went
pretty darn quick. Once again, I readjusted the blade height and then cut the tenons to
size on the edges of the handles. While I’m cutting the tenon, let’s take
a second to talk about the sponsor of this week’s video, Skillshare. Skillshare is
an online learning community with more than 17,000 classes on design, photography, and
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on my Illustrator skills.
If you use my link in the video description below, now through
the end of January, you’ll receive 3 months of Skillshare for $0.99, and will also really
help out my channel. Thanks to the folks at Skillshare for sponsoring this week’s video! After finishing the tenons, I moved over to
the bandsaw and cut two relief cuts in each tenon. This will give a place to drive in
the wedges. To give the relief cuts a little bit more
flex, I drilled a hole at the base of each relief cut on the drill press. Before attaching the handle to the head, I
rounded over the edges of the handles using an ⅛” radius roundover bit on my trim
To install the mallet head onto the handle,
I first applied plenty of glue to the tenon, and then slid the head onto the tenon. Make
sure the wider end of the mortise is oriented as the top of the mallet head, so that the
wedges have room to be added. I cut the wedges off camera using the bandsaw
from some of the cutoffs, they don’t really need to be super precise, just make sure they’re
not too long and that they’re wide enough to close up the gaps.
I applied glue to the wedges and then drove
them home. By adding the wedges and having the angled mortise, it ensures that the mallet
head will never come loose, even if the glue bond fails in the mortise. One bonus is that
the wedged tenon looks pretty awesome on the top of the mallet head. After letting the glue dry, I removed the
extra tenon and wedge stock using my flush trim saw. By the way, if you put down a little
bit of painter’s tape, it will keep the flush trim saw from digging into your workpiece. Next, I cleaned up the top of the mallet using
my block plane and then chamfered the bottom edges of the handle. Finally, I broke all of the sharp edges and
smoothed everything out using 180 grit sandpaper on my random orbit sander. For the finish, I went with a wipe on poly,
although almost anything will work here. I applied one light coat, mostly just to bring
out the color of the wood and give the mallet a little bit of protection.
You could also
add some leather to the face of the mallet, but it’ll work just fine as is. With the finish applied, the mallet was done! Alright, hopefully you guys enjoyed this one.
I love the way these came out. This little wedged tenon just looks gorgeous in the top
of these mallets. Can't believe these were just scrap wood, I think these are going to
be a great addition to a lot of y'all's shops.
If you want to enter the giveaway, I will
have a link to my website in the video description below. Just click that, there will be an entry
widget, I'm sure you guys have done this kind of thing before. You can enter with your email address, social
media stuff, there's tons of entry options so just check the link in the video description.
That'll take you right to it. Also, just a couple of little tips. If you'll
notice on this mallet, this is the one I'm actually keeping for myself, it split. That
was because I left the wedge too long. As I was pounding it in, it was almost like a froe when you're riving out a piece of wood, and it just split right down the
Now, I stabilized it with some CA glue, I really
don't think it's going to be a big issue, but it's just something to keep in mind. You're
going to want to make sure your wedges are a good bit shorter than the relief slots you
cut. Again, I would definitely use hardwoods for
this. Something like Pine, Redwood, Cedar, any of the softer woods are not going to be
a great choice for this. Things like Oak, Maple, Walnut, those kind
of things are perfect for this and a great way to use up those little teeny scrap pieces
of exotics like Purpleheart and Padauk that you just can't seem to force yourself to throw
away. Hopefully you guys enjoyed this one! If you
aren't already, go ahead and get subscribed to the channel and click that little notification
bell so you get notified every time I put out a new video, which is pretty much every
week at this point.
Also, I have links to all the tools and materials
I used in the video description below. And last, I got this new Crafted Workshop
t-shirt, it's a new color, it's got the little #johnnysquat, great way to support me, I'll
have a link that in the video description below as well. Alright, thanks again for watching everybody
and, until next time, happy building!.