Monday, March 28, 2011
Carving Mallet on the Cheap
I have been doing a lot of carving this winter, and not a lot of writing, sorry about that to five people that read my blog. I did however discover that sometimes while I am caving I need something to use to get a little more forceful with my chisels than just my palms. I tried using a hammer, I tried the face and the side, while this worked it wasn't idea for what I was doing.
I have a large wooden mallet and it is great when I am working with my flat chisels, but there again it is to big for fine carving and didn't give me the control I needed, plus I found that I had to spend more time watching the mallet rather than my chisel so I didn't whack myself in the hand. My hands have taken enough abuse in thirty years of working as a carpenter and cabinetmaker so I didn't really think they needed any more at this point.
The answer to my problem was one of those nice little brass mallets you see in all the catalogs, except they cost way more than I really had to spend. the cheapest one I seen being like $69 dollars and if I was going to drop that kind of money it was going to be on something with a edge, really I could buy two nice gouges for that.
Well one day last week I was out at the Goodwill with my wife shopping and I saw a little wooden handle that went to and mortal and pedestal and it was 50 cents and it looked just like the handle on the brass mallet I was saw in the catalog, so I put in the cart figuring I would go and try to find some brass and make my own.
Well the next stop was to the Tractor Supple Warehouse were we need some things for our animals and some bolts. While we were walking around the store looking I spotted a bushing in the tractor section that looked like it would work perfect for the metal part of the mallet, it was about the right size and weight and only $2.49, so I put in the cart. That night after about five minutes worth of whittling to get the handle to fit inside the bushing I then cut a slot for a wedge and I epoxied it all together. The next day I cleaned off any squeeze out I had and cut the end flush with the top. Now I have a great little mallet that I have been using and the best part is it only cost me $3.00 and I made it myself, now I know I got lucky finding that handle, but a dowel rod would work just as well, or if your a turner or know a turner then you could make on in no time. They had some other sizes bushing at the store if you wanted a heavier mallet. Even though they are not brass and they are harden steel they will work fine as long as your not hitting steel against steel, and since all my chisels are wood handled or plastic I think I am ok. If anyone has any question feel free to E-mail me and I'll do my best to answer them