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View Full Version : a day of getting a handle on things.



tea lady
21st Oct 2009, 06:02 PM
Viewers may recall that I turned some mallets a while ago. After getting tennis elbow from using one for just a few hours last week I thought I would make a more "lady" friendly one. Also made one for one of the other ladies in our Dark Sider's Furniture Group too. :cool: Then I got carried away and made another one. These ones might be bit on the light side. Although strangely, the smallest one is the heaviest. I thought they were all red gum, but maybe the little one is Jarrah or something more dense. :shrug: Will test bang on Friday. :D (Got carried away and sanded to 400# and oil finish. Smooooooooooooooth.:cool: )

The "old" mallet is on the right. Smallest but heaviest on the left.
119865

In the hand.
119866119867

Ed Reiss
22nd Oct 2009, 11:56 AM
dangerous weapons in the right hands :o:D:D

Texian
22nd Oct 2009, 12:15 PM
+1 what Ed said. Nice looking bonkers (as they are called here). What, pray tell, do you bang upon with them T.L.? BTW hope your elbow is feeling better.

jefferson
22nd Oct 2009, 02:56 PM
+1 what Ed said. Nice looking bonkers (as they are called here). What, pray tell, do you bang upon with them T.L.?

I think Tea Lady takes them down to Tooradin to keep in line.... :D:D:D

Gil Jones
22nd Oct 2009, 03:03 PM
Very nice mallets :2tsup:

Ozkaban
22nd Oct 2009, 03:27 PM
Nice Mallets, TL!

What sort of weight are they?

Cheers,
Dave

Frank&Earnest
22nd Oct 2009, 04:32 PM
Although strangely, the smallest one is the heaviest. I thought they were all red gum, but maybe the little one is Jarrah or something more dense. :shrug:

I'we been wrong many times before :D but that one looks very much like red ironbark. If it is, it will sink as a stone even when dry (Jarrah should not). I have read that you were at the WWW last Sunday: in a "all for $5" box there was a red ironbark piece about 400x400x120, (that is, almost 20 kg:oo:) did you buy it? That one and a few other pieces made me swear profusely for not having taken the car there because I did not know the road...:C

tea lady
22nd Oct 2009, 05:29 PM
I think Tea Lady takes them down to Tooradin to keep in line.... :D:rolleyes: No! I am doing that Darksiders Furnityre group. Am Banging chisels for making dove tails with them. :cool:


Nice Mallets, TL!

What sort of weight are they?

Cheers,
DaveThe big one is 550gms and the small ones all weigh 250gms. (ie; the small small one weight the same as the big small ones.:D )


I'we been wrong many times before but that one looks very much like red ironbark. If it is, it will sink as a stone even when dry (Jarrah should not). I have read that you were at the WWW last Sunday: in a "all for $5" box there was a red ironbark piece about 400x400x120, (that is, almost 20 kg:oo:) did you buy it? That one and a few other pieces made me swear profusely for not having taken the car there because I did not know the road...:C:C No didn't get it. I guess it looked too boring. :rolleyes: I always look for Silky oak.:cool: But I did get a bit of camphor laural for 50c.:cool: The small mallet will have to be just "dunno wood" The handle is actually a bit small for my hands. The other "lady" has smaller hands so maybe it will be right for her.:2tsup:

artme
22nd Oct 2009, 09:45 PM
Great Knockometers TL.:2tsup::2tsup::2tsup:

Armed to the teeth and ready to go.


Now- are we about to have a debate on the merits of mallet handle shapes and sizes?:D:D:rolleyes:

tea lady
22nd Oct 2009, 10:25 PM
Great Knockometers TL.:2tsup::2tsup::2tsup:

Armed to the teeth and ready to go.


Now- are we about to have a debate on the merits of mallet handle shapes and sizes?:D:D:rolleyes:

:rofl: :D

Debate? If you want!:cool: The size of the handle of my first mallet was to big too as well as too heavy. The corner that everyone said would stick in to you doesn't really stick in that I noticed, but I made this round of mallets smoother and rounder and narrower. I think they will feel much better to use for me at least. Might give the big mallet too some poor bloke that can't turn his own.:U Anyway, will test tomorrow.:cool:

Daddy3x
23rd Oct 2009, 05:38 AM
Very well done :2tsup: May very well try to make myself a few with the scrap maple I have sitting on the corner. I especially like the one in the foreground, just about the right size for the cabinet work I do.
Scott

Pat
23rd Oct 2009, 08:17 AM
Good looking mallets. One question, why use them on the chisels. For dovetails, a coping saw to cut out 95% of the waste, then par down to your scribed line.

:saythat:

tea lady
23rd Oct 2009, 08:58 AM
Good looking mallets. One question, why use them on the chisels. For dovetails, a coping saw to cut out 95% of the waste, then par down to your scribed line.

:saythat:

:hmm: :shrug: Am chopping mortices today, so maybe more necessary for that.:cool:

IanW
23rd Oct 2009, 09:37 AM
.....
Now- are we about to have a debate on the merits of mallet handle shapes and sizes?:D:D:rolleyes:


Nope - TL's design is good, ('cos it's pretty much the same as mine! :U)

I like a 'grip' that fits my hand, backed up with a bit of a knob so it doesn't want to fly off somewhere on the downstroke, and thinnned down where it meets the bonking end, to reduce jarring. The latter is not so important on smaller mallets used for tapping chisels, but you'll appreciate it on larger, heavier mallets used for bashing things. It means they often break there, if there's a bit of a flaw or cross-grain in the wrong spot, but as TL has discovered, they are the work of a few minutes on the lathe, and can be cobbled from a bit of firewood or other seemingly useless scrap.

Pat - don't know what you cut dovetails in, but I tap my chisels to cut out waste, even after removing 90% of it with a coping saw (or small bowsaw for the biggies). Been doing it for a little while, now, & so far the chisels haven't complained. :;

Now we could have a discussion about the best wood for mallets.....
The one below is a piece of Olive wood - dense & fine-grained and has done yeoman service for many years - might even see me out. Many of our Eucalypts have a tendency to flake & split after a bit of heavy use, I've found.

Funny - I haven't ever weighed a mallet - just made them in various sizes, lengths & head diameters & picked the ones that feel right. I must weigh a few & measure the proportions of the ones I like, to see if there's a consistent pattern...

Cheers,

Ozkaban
23rd Oct 2009, 10:33 AM
Hi Ian,

Thanks for your description. I noticed your chisels taper in slightly near the top [EDIT: looking at the photo again, it might just be camera angle/lense distortion], Tea LAdy's are basically parallel and other designs taper out near the top. Is there much difference in operation?

I'm not a carver but when I have a spare moment I'm going to make a few of these for carving friends.

Cheers,
Dave

Frank&Earnest
23rd Oct 2009, 11:30 AM
Debate? Did somebody mention debate? :D


Nope - TL's design is good, ('cos it's pretty much the same as mine! :U)

Actually her new one is better (unless your pinky is longer than your middle finger :D the fattest part should be under the middle finger), exactly for the reasons you give:

I like a 'grip' that fits my hand, backed up with a bit of a knob (not much, otherwise it becomes a pressure point, basically for looks) ..., and thinnned down where it meets the bonking end (i.e where the index finger is) so it doesn't want to fly off somewhere on the downstroke.

....

Now we could have a discussion about the best wood for mallets.....
The one below is a piece of Olive wood - dense & fine-grained and has done yeoman service for many years - might even see me out. Many of our Eucalypts have a tendency to flake & split after a bit of heavy use, I've found.

Could not have put it better myself :2tsup:

Cheers,

IanW
23rd Oct 2009, 12:27 PM
Hi Ian,

Thanks for your description. I noticed your chisels taper in slightly near the top [EDIT: looking at the photo again, it might just be camera angle/lense distortion], Tea LAdy's are basically parallel and other designs taper out near the top. Is there much difference in operation?

I'm not a carver but when I have a spare moment I'm going to make a few of these for carving friends.

Cheers,
Dave

Hi Dave - actually that one is almost parallel, so it's camera distortion that makes it appear a bit tapered. I have seen quite a few mallets that are flared out (i.e. wider at the far end than the end closer to the handle) & have made them this way, as well as parallel. Can't say I notice any difference in use. What makes most difference is the length of the handle. A short handle is best for accurate tapping, where you never look at the mallet, but watch the sharp end of the chisel, or whatever you're thumping. For a heavy-duty mallet used to bludgeon a froe or similar, a long handle gives more acceleration of the tip, & therefore more whomp when it lands...

F&I - no debate, mate! I agree with what you said - you just specified it more precisely. :;

Cheers,

Ozkaban
23rd Oct 2009, 01:38 PM
Hi Dave - actually that one is almost parallel, so it's camera distortion that makes it appear a bit tapered. I have seen quite a few mallets that are flared out (i.e. wider at the far end than the end closer to the handle) & have made them this way, as well as parallel. Can't say I notice any difference in use. What makes most difference is the length of the handle. A short handle is best for accurate tapping, where you never look at the mallet, but watch the sharp end of the chisel, or whatever you're thumping. For a heavy-duty mallet used to bludgeon a froe or similar, a long handle gives more acceleration of the tip, & therefore more whomp when it lands...

Cool, thanks for that. 1 of each required then!

Cheers,
Dave

tea lady
23rd Oct 2009, 01:54 PM
Well, test thumping has revealed that these mallets are a little light. The little one felt better I think cos the weight was more concentrated. But cos the diameter is narrow the aim had to be a little too accurate. :doh: I think I'll make another one about 400gms with the same diameter as my first big one, so just a bit shorter.:cool: (BTW the sides flare out to the end. )

IanW
23rd Oct 2009, 02:27 PM
Well, test thumping has revealed that these mallets are a little light. The little one felt better I think cos the weight was more concentrated. But cos the diameter is narrow the aim had to be a little too accurate. :doh: I think I'll make another one about 400gms with the same diameter as my first big one, so just a bit shorter.:cool: (BTW the sides flare out to the end. )

'S funny, TL, I've been making these things for at least 25 years, & have never thought about the actual weight of a single one other than 'big mutha' or 'handy size'. I just turn up what I think is 'about right' for the purpose & thump away. I suppose the woods I use are all of a similar density, so any two mallets of a given size & shape would be pretty much the same weight. As I said above, handle length & 'holdability' are the things that make the most difference for me. Certainly more difference than diameter when it comes to hitting the target accurately. After all, you want to hit dead centre with any round mallet or it will tend to roll, which gets tedious rather quickly.

As to flared vs. parallel sides - I have always assumed that's just so's when you put it down it rolls in an arc & is therefore less likely to roll off the bench. I can see no other practical purpose, but would be very happy to be enlightened if anyone has a plausible alternative explanation :? However, even a flared shape rolls a bit if dropped on its side, & for precisely that reason, I make mine with a flat to slightly concave end, so when it's put down on the end (as in the pic), it stays put & ready to be grabbed easily when next needed.

Anyway, we all develop our own preferences with tools - that's one of the chief joys of making our own - we can fiddle about & find what we like best. So keep rolling them out, TL, until you've got a couple that feel like an extension of your arm. The rejects can be easily given away, & what doesn't suit you, someone else finds is the bees' knees.

And I'm going to weigh a couple of mallets tonight & see how heavy they actually are!

Cheers

tea lady
23rd Oct 2009, 02:34 PM
And I'm going to weigh a couple of mallets tonight & see how heavy they actually are!

Cheers

I await the results of your research. :D

On the topic of flared end, I saw an artical somewhere about the angle of your arm and hand with the angle of flat or angled mallets. (If you get my angle.:rolleyes: ) I think the angled ones made for a more natural comfortable use? That's if hitting something with a mallet is a natural activity.:rolleyes::D

Frank&Earnest
23rd Oct 2009, 02:52 PM
I await the results of your research. :D

On the topic of flared end, I saw an artical somewhere about the angle of your arm and hand with the angle of flat or angled mallets. (If you get my angle.:rolleyes: ) I think the angled ones made for a more natural comfortable use? That's if hitting something with a mallet is a natural activity.:rolleyes::D
You hit the nail on the head.:D

IanW
23rd Oct 2009, 02:56 PM
......On the topic of flared end, I saw an artical somewhere about the angle of your arm and hand with the angle of flat or angled mallets. (If you get my angle.:rolleyes: ) I think the angled ones made for a more natural comfortable use? That's if hitting something with a mallet is a natural activity.:rolleyes::D

Hmm, TL - I always take those sorts of explanations with a rather large grain (or two!) of salt. It's undoubtedly true that if you were swinging your arm down in an arc, to hit a surface that is parallel with the bench top, you would need an angle of x to have the body of the mallet meet it dead square. If you are going for maximum thump, it pays to hit like that, and we simply adjust our arm & body to achieve it. However, in practice, we are constanly changing our bodies & swings because we aren't always hoding the object to be struck just-so, & depending on whether we intend to give something a few sharp raps or a bl**dy great wallop. That would mean the flare angle is 'correct' only for a target that is at a single, precise point - for all other swings, you would still need to make those little adjustments.

You have probably noticed that some of the 'hammer' style of wooden mallets have sloped faces, presumably on the same principle. However, I much prefer square faces - my neurons seem to be able to calculate where things are in a variety of situations better for square faces than for sloped faces, & on average, I get a cleaner hit. If I had started with a sloped-face mallet to begin with, I would be singing the entirely opposite song, most likely, but I started out (in grade 7) with square-faced ones. :U

If you find the flared shape suits you better, it does, though whether it's for reasons of geometry or just because that's what you're used to is a moot point. It doesn't really matter, 'cos I always find I just work better with a tool that 'feels' right - 'specially when I made it myself!

Cheers,
(Edit: There you go, F&I - a debatable topic at last.... ??)

jefferson
23rd Oct 2009, 03:23 PM
Well, test thumping has revealed that these mallets are a little light. The little one felt better I think cos the weight was more concentrated. But cos the diameter is narrow the aim had to be a little too accurate. :doh: I think I'll make another one about 400gms with the same diameter as my first big one, so just a bit shorter.:cool: (BTW the sides flare out to the end. )

So 's taken a beating then??? :D

tea lady
23rd Oct 2009, 05:17 PM
So 's taken a beating then??? :D:no: Didn't want to damage mallet. Tested on something a bit softer than 's head! :D :run:

Farnk
24th Oct 2009, 11:38 AM
Hi TL,

You could always drill a large deep hole in the business end, fill it with lead shot and plug it up. That would let you adjust the weight. Seen this used in a few metalworking and engineering tools.

f

tea lady
24th Oct 2009, 02:36 PM
Hi TL,

You could always drill a large deep hole in the business end, fill it with lead shot and plug it up. That would let you adjust the weight. Seen this used in a few metalworking and engineering tools.

fWas thinking of that, but the diameter is too small too. Won't take long to make another one.:cool:

IanW
25th Oct 2009, 10:35 AM
I await the results of your research. :D


Well, TL - here are the results:

My everyday (Olivewood) basher weighs in at a neat 450g. The big thumper beside it (Ironbark, I think, but not certain) is 650g.

Out of curiosity, I weighed a couple of other mallets I had lying around & found a surprising consistency - the ones I think are about right for tapping dovetail chisels & general benchwork are all about the same weight. They are also of a very similar shape & size, except one that is the same weight, but has a longer handle & I don't like it. So it's good to muck about with them until you figure out the weight & shape that suits you best...

Cheers,

tea lady
25th Oct 2009, 06:02 PM
Thanks Ian! :cool: So I will try and make a 400gmish one during the week.

Meanwhile I found the artical about mallets. Its in The Australian Woodsmith Issue #67, page 18. They don't actually mention weights,( but a perusal of the Carbatec catalogue reveals weights of 350 gms Upwards. Tending more to heavier. :shrug: ) But they explain the angled head on mallets as allowing a more natural wrist angle at the striking point. Round mallets are supposed to be for carving.:shrug: Knobs on the end of the handly help it stay in the hand rather than get flung across the workshop. :D

Ozkaban
26th Oct 2009, 08:37 AM
I finally managed to make one of these things on the weekend, but I gave it away without taking a photo :doh:.

It weighed about 420g, which seemed heavy-ish to me. I made it tapered (for the scientific reason of 'I felt like it' :U) and a slight concave top so it can be stood up without wobbling (advice from this thread - thanks Ian!). It's made out of Woodus Kerbsidus, otherwise known as damifino. It's probably some eucalypt - dark brown and bloody heavy. Was an offcut from a old house restoration.

Took it to my friends house to try it out and it worked quite well. We compared it to the brass topped mallet purchased from McJing. Felt much lighter and far more blalanced - the McJing one had a light handle and a very heavy head, so it was tiring to use after a while for tap-tap stuff. Mind you, if something wanted to be hit properly, the McJing one would do the job nicely :o

I've asked my friend for feedback once he's had a chance to have a good go with it and will then have fun making another as it's all good practice :2tsup:

Cheers,
Dave