Monday, 4 May 2009

Mallet from a Bowl

For the past couple of years I have been slowly but surely replacing my shop bought tools with a collection of tools that I have made myself.
There is a sense of satisfaction that comes from making things using tools you have made yourself that is difficult to put into words,it's just awesome!!
My latest tool creation is this lignum vitae mallet.
For years I have been using a 2.5 lb club hammer to drive my chisels but after seeing various beautiful examples of lignum mallets on the web I convinced myself that such a thing was essential.
Now,my first port of call whenever I'm looking to buy wood or supplies these days is,of course,eBay.
The first suitably sized piece of lignum listed (5"long cylinder by 5.5" diameter)seemed,at £27.50,a little too salty to me but 3 listings below it there was a set of 4 vintage lignum vitae lawn bowls,buy it now £10.
"Drat,pick up only,knew it was too good to be true!"
Click on it anyway -item location,City of Edinburgh
Send message to arrange pickup.
I have only ever worked small pieces of lignum in the past,small turned inlay & the sole of a tiny smoothing plane so to say I was unprepared for the edge destroying abilities of this ferocious timber is an understatement.I swear it felt like I was sharpening more than turning.
That said lignum vitae is a beautiful material to work taking a crisp,glossy finish.
I decided to use maple for the handle as it is a lovely creamy white which will contrast even better once the lignum oxidises to its eventual deep,leafy green.
The finished mallet is 275mm long & the head is 100mm at its widest.