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Turned Mallets (2005, 2006)

January 2005:
A friend from our local woodworker's group recently made a really nice turned mallet with contrasting woods and inlays. It inspired me to create this simple maple mallet suitable for whacking chisels:

It's turned from glued-up maple scraps and the finish is orange shellac. I consider this a practice project, and I intend to follow it up with a nicer mallet with multiple woods and a more refined shape.

May 2005 Update:
I finally got around to gluing up another mallet blank and turing one out of white oak and hard maple. The finish is Watco natural Danish oil. I turned this mostly with a skew chisel since I've been practicing with that tool on the lathe lately. I only had a few catches, but I'm definately getting more confident with practice. I'm not quite ready to give up my 80 grit gouge just yet though. ;-)

Sept 2006 Update:
Well this was fun! A friend of mine from SEMIWW has access to used bowling pins for free. I grabbed a couple and figured I'd try to turn a mallet and maybe something else.

Zowie - what a freekin mess! Turning the cover off the pin created looooong continuous delrin shavings that wrapped around everything in sight. I had to cut out the drive and tail centers. Also created the occasional fat thin shaving that stayed attached to the pin and spun around to slap you in the fingers. That said, it was kinda fun to peel off shavings 50 yards long. Tried all sorts of gouges and scrapers and found the bowl gouge easiest to use.

The mallet turned out pretty good. The center must be hollow cause when I shake it I can hear something rattling around inside. I don't need any more mallets so I think I'm gonna use the other pin for something else. Maybe a weed pot or a lamp base or who knows...

And here are all three mallets together. This pic really shows how large the bowling pin mallet is (I'll reserve it for heavy duty whacking), and it also shows a bit of the wear and tear on the first two.

Sept 2006 Update #2:
At the yearly picnic of our local woodworking club I turned another bowling pin into another mallet.  This one is a bit less refined due to time constraints, but I'm sure the new owner will get plenty of use for it regardless.  Here's a pic before any finish was applied.


© Copyright 2006 Chris Billman