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Thread: laminated mallet question

  1. #1
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    laminated mallet question

    I see them laminated with different woods where most of the time the middle wood has a lower janka. Not sure if its because its walnut and they use it there because the darker layer looks better inside the sandwich or the middle is better if it is a little softer than the outside.

    I want to make a mallet out of ash. I have enough to laminate it with 3 pieces of ash, just want to make sure I'm not missing something about using a softer wood in the middle.

    The chisels I intend to whack are supposed to be made of hornbeam or a narex.

    thnx

  2. #2
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    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.
    ​You can do a lot with very little! You can do a little more with a lot!

  3. #3
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    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.
    Although this is preferable, there is no good reason that a laminated mallet won't be fine. Afterall, the glue joints are likely stronger than the wood itself, and laminating provides a certain flexibility and forgiveness of construction.

  4. #4
    Laminating is fine, I like to add a face of rawhide.

  5. #5
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    You are unlikely to split a laminated head along the glue line by regular mallet use (I think it's almost impossible if the glue up is decent). Walnut should be plenty fine for the center too - it might just dent a little so if that's not a concern it's no issue.

  6. #6
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    It's a shop made mallet - if it breaks, repair or replace it. The laminations are just for looks anyway.
    From the workshop under the staircase, Clinton Township, MI
    Semper Audere!

  7. #7
    Laminated Ash will make a fine mallet. I've had a couple made from poplar come apart due to glue failure, but it took about 25 years to fail. If you need more that 4 mallets per century, make it from a solid piece of wood. Otherwise, laminated is OK.

    Allen

  8. #8
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    Don't forget, sometimes a solid mallet head can develop a crack and split.

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

  9. #9
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    I made a carvers mallet of laminated maple maple because I couldn’t find any 4” thick stock. That was 35 years ago. Still no signs of splitting anywhere.

  10. #10
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    I wouldn't go to the trouble of making a mallet and use laminated construction. That is planned failure even if it never happens to you.

    You might want to read this for another view of mallets: https://www.theenglishwoodworker.com...orking-mallet/


    edit: I should add that the hammer that McGuire uses is available in the U.S. but you will probably have to order it, as I did, direct from Vaughan hammers in Rockford, IL. It will have the Vaughan name on it but will be exactly as shown in the article (Made in UK). You will be able to choose which faces you want.
    Last edited by Mike Brady; 03-08-2019 at 2:12 PM.

  11. #11
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    Making a mallet will be a good learning experience whether it is made with a one piece head or a laminated head.

    What has been my favorite mallet for eight years now was made of firewood:

    https://sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?161952

    The Big Bonkers.jpg

    The top one is made of ash, the bottom one is the one made eight years ago of what my neighbors informed me is a kind of cherry.

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

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Brady View Post
    I wouldn't go to the trouble of making a mallet and use laminated construction. That is planned failure even if it never happens to you.

    You might want to read this for another view of mallets: https://www.theenglishwoodworker.com...orking-mallet/


    edit: I should add that the hammer that McGuire uses is available in the U.S. but you will probably have to order it, as I did, direct from Vaughan hammers in Rockford, IL. It will have the Vaughan name on it but will be exactly as shown in the article (Made in UK). You will be able to choose which faces you want.
    Question: Wood never checks or cracks in its own grain structure, right?

  13. #13
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    Pat: "wood never checks...."


    Of course it can. Just discussing this in terms of best practices. The wood handle of a hammer or mallet, even the one I referenced, can develop a crack; but you wouldn't build in a crack by laminating a handle would you, so why do that with the head of the mallet? Look at it this way, 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. Both reasons result in built-in cracks that are depending on the glue for survival. Do what ever you want, but when they start laminating baseball bats make sure to get the name of that glue. Pinning through the laminations might help durability.

    I had a commercially-made (purchased at Woodworking in America) laminated mallet fail while driving a chisel. Interesting experience.
    Last edited by Mike Brady; 03-08-2019 at 4:07 PM.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Brady View Post
    "
    I had a commercially-made (purchased at Woodworking in America) laminated mallet fail while driving a chisel. Interesting experience.
    I won a commercial laminated mallet in the Hand Tool Olympics in 2009. It was beech. Since it was poorly balanced I did not use it at all. I just hung it on the wall.

    After about two years later, one of my friends was looking at it and noticed that that one of the glue joints had failed. Another year and the head came into two pieces and just fell on the floor, with the handle still hanging on the wall. Never hit a chisel. My solid dogwood mallet (2150 janka) still works fine after 40 years of heavy work. It hangs about 8 feet from the laminated mallet.

    Here is what is left of the mallet, and a blogger review.
    https://www.popularwoodworking.com/c...ter-beaters-2/
    beech mallet.jpg

  15. #15
    I made a laminated mallet out of a few 4/4 maple scraps. It was fun and has held up well to my hobby level use. If it falls apart on me one of these days I am not going to get all bent out of shape about it. It cost basically nothing.

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