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Thread: laminated mallet question

  1. #16
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    Warren, that's the same one I was referring to that broke. Source is DeLegno, I think. Looks like they put cross pins of brass rod in them now. Thinking about how the mortise is tapered to fit the matching handle wedge, every time you driving the handle tighter into the mortise you are exerting force on the middle lamination in the head, which is similarly being driven out from between the two cheeks of the mallet head with only the glue line holding it together. How tough is it to bore a handle mortise with an auger and than form the mortise taper with a chisel?
    Last edited by Mike Brady; 03-08-2019 at 6:26 PM.

  2. #17
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    people make laminated mallets for two reasons: they don't want to chop a through mortise for the handle; or they want a pretty walnut lamination in the mallet head.
    Do not forget the third reason: not being able to obtain a solid piece suitable for making a mallet head.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  3. #18
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    That's a good reason Jim. Thick blanks can be hard to find.

    By the way, is there any evidence other than provided by Franklin glue company that a glued joint is stronger than the surrounding wood?
    Last edited by Mike Brady; 03-09-2019 at 1:48 PM.

  4. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by William Fretwell View Post
    Softer wood anywhere is bad, especially the middle. Laminating is bad, one peice of very hard wood is best.
    Watch Paul Sellers video on making a mallet.
    Well, I have a mallet I made (laminated) from a 2x4 about 4 years ago. I use it to strike chisels and set holdfasts. I've had no problem. Likewise, have another laminated mallet that is 2 kinds of hardwood (maple outside and walnut center). I dont see a big performance difference between this one and the other. YMMV.
    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
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  5. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Brady View Post
    That's a good reason Jim. Thick blanks can be hard to find.

    By the way, is there any evidence other than provided Franklin glue company that a glued joint is stronger than the surrounding wood?
    This claim may be dependent on the glue used and the accuracy of the joint. Epoxy can fill a gap, other glues may not.

    Here is a good page on glue:

    https://www.acmetools.com/blog/choose-best-wood-glue/

    If one doesn't want to take the time to chop a mortise for a handle or can not find a suitable hunk of wood for making a mallet a laminated mallet may be the way to go.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  6. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Brady View Post
    Warren, that's the same one I was referring to that broke. Source is DeLegno, I think. Looks like they put cross pins of brass rod in them now. Thinking about how the mortise is tapered to fit the matching handle wedge, every time you driving the handle tighter into the mortise you are exerting force on the middle lamination in the head, which is similarly being driven out from between the two cheeks of the mallet head with only the glue line holding it together. How tough is it to bore a handle mortise with an auger and than form the mortise taper with a chisel?
    This is why a two piece lamination is better (if laminating) with one being thicker than the other by the thickness of the handle. The mortise is cut in the thicker side only and the other piece glued on. This way the stresses are fundamentally in the natural wood when striking.

  7. #22
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    I made a largish mallet from three laminated pieces of hard maple - and white oak for the handle. It held together for a year, but split pretty badly along the glue line during its second year. It was used for several different jobs around the house including splitting wood so it got some tough use.

  8. #23
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    That seems like a good approach to simplifying the mortising of the mallet head. If you use an appropriate wood, such as as ash in 8/4 thickness, and use some care in picking matching-grain pieces from the same board, a sturdy mallet could be more easily made.

  9. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Koepke View Post
    Do not forget the third reason: not being able to obtain a solid piece suitable for making a mallet head.

    jtk
    I'm having this exact issue. I have about 15" of maple that's 1" thick. Can I cut it into 3 pieces and glue them together to make a mallet?
    Also, I have some ash that fell during a storm - would using a thick branch be okay, or does the pith ruin the integrity if used for a mallet head or handle?

    Sorry if these are bad questions. I'm new to the craft.

    Thanks!

  10. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Serna View Post
    I'm having this exact issue. I have about 15" of maple that's 1" thick. Can I cut it into 3 pieces and glue them together to make a mallet?
    Also, I have some ash that fell during a storm - would using a thick branch be okay, or does the pith ruin the integrity if used for a mallet head or handle?

    Sorry if these are bad questions. I'm new to the craft.

    Thanks!
    Many people use laminated mallets. The will do like a solid mallet and split apart. They are made for whacking and it takes its toll.

    Being new to the craft is a good time to accept everything as a learning experience. If the ash didn't fall due to rot, it may be fine for a mallet head.

    Is it big enough to cut the sides flat?

    It would be a bit harder to mortise a round head but it could be done. Small flats planed top and bottom might help.

    This is my first two piece 'carpenter's' mallet with a turned handle:

    Screen Shot 2021-06-16 at 11.03.41 PM.jpg

    It is my favorite one so far. Kind of makes me feel like making another.

    Right now there are three shop made mallets. In my area either my luck is good or larger sizes are easy to find. Mallets are made for tough work and will tend to need replacing. It is a good idea to make them any way possible, solid or laminated to get quick at it.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  11. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Koepke View Post
    Is it big enough to cut the sides flat?
    Yes it is. The thing is, it's a log, so it will have the pith - does that ruin the integrity of it if used for a mallet? I honestly don't know a lot about the pith, and I've been trying to find info online, but it's surprisingly difficult.

    I have three pieces of 1" scrap maple I can glue together, too. So maybe I'd be better off using that for the head and the ash for the handle.

  12. #27
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    I made a mallet in about 2003 from some scrap maple I had. It's laminated. I beat on it. It's still around.
    ~mike

    scope creep

  13. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Serna View Post
    Yes it is. The thing is, it's a log, so it will have the pith - does that ruin the integrity of it if used for a mallet? I honestly don't know a lot about the pith, and I've been trying to find info online, but it's surprisingly difficult.

    I have three pieces of 1" scrap maple I can glue together, too. So maybe I'd be better off using that for the head and the ash for the handle.
    Is the pith soft?

    The best way to find out if it will work may be to give it a try.

    You could also bore out an area around the pith and make a plug from another part of the log and glue it in.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  14. #29
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    I've made a few in different shapes and sizes. The bigger ones saw heavy use on a timber framing project. The upright one in the center gets the most use but I find the small square one (Gumbie) very handy for delicate work. It was band sawn from a scrap of Maple.
    Heap o hammers.jpg

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