My hands flipped over a chunk of wood that fell as an offcut from the chopsaw a few weeks ago. It’s a 3” x 6” and just long enough for the mallet head. As per my usual, I thought it would be good to make one for a future blog and a video so here is the result in case you wan to make one. I think in my previous blog I said that oak wasn’t an ideal mallet wood, but having said that, I think that alongside beech it was fairly commonly used by vernacular craftsmen to make their mallets from because people like me used what they had and not what they went to the lumber store for. Fruitwoods were also used for mallets. I have seen them many times in old tool chests I’ve come across. Cherry, apple, and I have also of course seen many nut woods such as hickory. Ash makes a reasonable mallet and many a craftsman made one from crotch-grain areas of a tree. It was a common thing for craftsmen to use this area of the tree because of the super tight interlocking grain around this convoluted area. So too knotty areas of the tree where a live knot gave a hardness that resisted splitting and surface fracture. My cedar elm mallet has some knotted surround in it and I picked it for that.
My oak chunk is straight grained, but it will make a useable mallet no doubt. This mallet has taken me about an our so far and that includes all splitting and planing preparation for laying out the hole. As I teach my class today I will finish the mallet and tonight I will post the steps it took to make it. Got to leave for the Penrhyn Castle workshops now. The sun’s shining and I want a walk in the woods down to the river before we get started.