What kind of mallet for cutting dovetails do you use?

Status
Not open for further replies.

Sam Knight

Sam Knight
Sam
Corporate Member
I'm looking to make a mallet to use when cutting dovetails or mortises but am unsure which type works better. Maybe it is more of a personal preference but I thought I'd ask. I do have a lathe so turning a maple one was my initial thought. The square head dead-blow type was another one I was thinking about. What kind do you prefer and if you can post a pic that would be great as well. Thanks for the help.
 

KenOfCary

Board of Directors, Secretary
Ken
Staff member
Corporate Member
My goto mallet for Dovetails and most everything else is a Round Mallet that I turned out of Lignum Vitae. It is very hard and very heavy for its size. I like to turn my own mallets so I can fit them better to my hand.

I have another Hard Maple mallet that is dented from use but the lignum is just a little burnished, not dented even after hard use.

Not the easiest wood to find in the right size for a mallet. I found a piece at Klingspor in their turning bin and picked it up. There is enough left for a second mallet that I will get around to turning one of these days.



This is the LV mallet when newly turned.
 

Phil S

Board of Directors, President
Phil Soper
Staff member
Corporate Member
I use an 18 oz brass mallet. I hold it with the brass in the palm of my hand

L5154550-base-2.jpg
 

tarheelz

Dave
Corporate Member
I use a Wood is Good "quiet" mallet. 12 oz.

mal_ma12.jpg

I can't imagine I could control a heavier mallet with fine work but I've never tried.
 

danmart77

Dan
Corporate Member
I'm looking to make a mallet to use when cutting dovetails or mortises but am unsure which type works better. Maybe it is more of a personal preference but I thought I'd ask. I do have a lathe so turning a maple one was my initial thought. The square head dead-blow type was another one I was thinking about. What kind do you prefer and if you can post a pic that would be great as well. Thanks for the help.


Sam
I use a mallet turned on the lathe. I found the maple works best for me. You can see a walnut mallet and I use this less than the maple. Most of the mallet work I'm doing is for dovetail joinery and carving. I don't use heavy mallets for either one of these tasks.

I guess the only advice I would suggest is try some mallets when visiting others shops. Everybody is a little different .. kind of like shoes really. I have several smaller mallets and I would give you one if it fit your hands. It only takes me 10-15 minutes to turn one out.

Design: Make the top of the mallet flat so you can stand it up and it won't roll around on the bench when working.


If you need a mallet for knocking a case together the carver's mallet is not what you need. You need a big square type mallet/hammer


 

Gofor

Mark
Corporate Member
Guess I am different. I use the same one as I use for mortises:
. This is just my favorite mallet as far as balance weight, etc. This picture is chopping some blind dovetails for my work bench. The mallet now has a leather face glued on.

Go
 

Sam Knight

Sam Knight
Sam
Corporate Member
Well I turned a mallet today. I didn't have any maple large enough so I used what I had on hand, a piece of sweet gum. It may not hold up but at least I made one I can try out. It is about 8 1/2" long and 2" in diameter. Thanks for all the input.20161118_160459.jpg
 

Danagawa

New User
D
I use a rosewood mallet that looks like Ken's mallet. I went to west penn two weeks ago and there was a discount bin of lignum vitae near the checkout by the live edge slabs. There was several piece that were big enough to make a mallet out of
 

Phil S

Board of Directors, President
Phil Soper
Staff member
Corporate Member
Well I turned a mallet today. I didn't have any maple large enough so I used what I had on hand, a piece of sweet gum. It may not hold up but at least I made one I can try out. It is about 8 1/2" long and 2" in diameter. Thanks for all the input.View attachment 21376
Please be sure to bring that good looking mallet to the workshop on Jan 21
 

Gofor

Mark
Corporate Member
What's wrong with a dead blow hammer?
I have tried a dead blow, but personally, I like the feedback of the mallet rebound or lack of. It gives me a sense of how hard/soft the wood is, or if it is riving with or across grain as I go deeper into the wood. Also lets me know when the chisel is in need of honing. I seem to lose that with the dead blow.

Just a personal choice.

Go
 

KenOfCary

Board of Directors, Secretary
Ken
Staff member
Corporate Member
I use dead blows for assembly / disassembly and a solid mallet for chisels and carving tools. Just my preference and what I'm comfortable with. Tools have specific strengths and weaknesses for different jobs.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

Our Sponsors

LATEST FOR SALE LISTINGS

Top