Monday, August 12, 2013

A short adventure with Hickory..

A few months back I was at the hardwood dealer picking up a couple boards and found a few 8/4 Hickory offcuts in the "shorts" bin. I grabbed them thinking they would make nice mallet heads.  I have been bashing away at my joinery with a state of the art mallet from the home center...
..and while I haven't found it to be too terrible, I just know that a "real" mallet will make all of my joinery that much better.  All the internet forums say so. 

I had a couple free hours this weekend and decided it was time to whip of a new mallet.  After fighting with the chunks of Hickory for an hour or so I gave up and moved on to other things...terrible stuff.  At least the specimens I had were most awful stuff I have yet attempted to create anything from. Hard and stringy...ugh.

Later that evening I re-grouped and decided to use some Walnut scraps that my father recently sent me.  I also changed up my design to a three part head.

The handle was cut from some cherry left over after the record case project.  I squared the walnut block and then drilled holes for dowels so that I could align the parts once I cut the block into three pieces.  This is a similar process to what some of the wooden plane kits seem to use.

After resawing the walnut into a middle section that was roughly the same thickness as the handle and two thinner sides I ran all the pieces through the planer.  I made sure to run the middle section and the handle through together so they would match exactly.  I should have run a second piece of cherry through for another handle as I have enough stock for two heads.

After the pieces were all cleaned up I marked the taper of the handle on to the middle section and cut out the portion that would be the mortise for the handle.  The three layers were then glued together with cherry dowels to align all the parts.  I realized that I should have put two dowels in each end as one does not prevent the middle pieces from rotating.

After the glue was dry I slid the handle in for a test fit...pretty good.  I still need to clean up the head and the decided whether I want to glue the handle in place.  Dowels seem like they might be a good alternative that would still allow me to remove the handle for future replacement/shaping.  

I haven't had a chance to use it more than just bashing a chisel into some feels much nicer in my hand at least.

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