Making Mallets as Shop Buddy Gifts

Maker News Woodworking Workshop
Making Mallets as Shop Buddy Gifts

I was first introduced to the idea of making mallets as gifts for your maker buddies from the amazing April Wilkerson. April was given one by fellow YouTuber Ty Moser and thought it was such a cool and thoughtful gift that she decided to make her own batch of mallets to give out to some of her favorite YT makers. I have a huge soft spot for gifted and handed-down tools and for homemade shop tools, so getting a handmade tool gifted to you, one that you will use every day, is the perfect storm of DIY delights as far as I’m concerned (don’t even get me started on how much I cherish my Jimmy DiResta-made ice pick).

There are dozens of DIY mallet and hammer projects on YouTube. You can make turned ring mallets, turned wood pounders, flat laminated mallets made without the need of a lathe, hammers made from scraps of wood and plumbing pipe, you name it. This gives you all sorts of options, given what tools you have available and what types of work your recipient does. Even if your recipient is not a woodworker, all sorts of making activity can benefit from having a mallet around. It wouldn’t even be a bad idea for a general housewarming gift. We all need a pounder now and again for putting together flat-pack furniture, straightening things up around the hacienda, or when a little “percussive maintenance” is called for.

Here is April’s original video showing her version of Ty Moser’s mallet. I like this version of mallet builds because it uses common tools (no lathe) and the multiple species of wood looks really nice. April also drilled two large holes in the inside pieces and filled them with shot to give the mallet a proper swinging weight. I also like that the heads are finished with leather. Here is Ty Moser’s mallet build, which April basically duplicated in her video. One additional touch you can see on Ty’s is his brand/maker’s mark. If you make these as gifts, it might be fun to burn in or otherwise sign your mallet to remind the recipient of the tool’s creator.

In this DiResta video, Jimmy makes a brass ring mallet from some white oak recycled from step treads. I love this type of round antique mallet design, but it obviously requires a lathe.

Here, Linn from Darbin Orvar, shows you three different types of mallets you can make, a turned mallet, a laminated head mallet, and finally, a solid head mallet.

In this video, Daniel Avendano builds a simple laminated head mallet out of scraps of 2×4. Hot off the presses this morning, Make: contributor Bill Livolsi shows how he turned a very handsome mallet out of claro walnut.

If you decide to make your own mallet, for yourself or as a shop buddy gift, we’d love to see it. Please post a picture in the comments below.


Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and “lazy man’s memoir,” called Borg Like Me.

View more articles by Gareth Branwyn
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