Friday, February 12, 2016

Spare 2x4 Project: Wood Mallets

So in my previous entries I utilized my leftover 2x4 wood to make a bench...


...and stand/work table for my table saw.

I still have about half a bin of leftover 2x4s, so it's time to make something else.

So I think I want to try to make some sort of wood mallet, similar to the picture below.

To start I want to square-off the ends of my 2x4s.  When bought at the store they have rounded corners.

So I set up my table saw to cut off the curved ends.

This left me with squared pieces.

I did this to all the 2x4 wood I had left.

For the handle I'm going to use a scrap piece of 1x2 wood.

This piece has one side rounded, which will make for a comfortable handle once I round off the other side.

Next I got rid of any piece of wood that had previous drill holes or pocket holes.

I found 1 long piece that looks nice and solid.

So I cut that piece in half.

Then I centered the handle between the 2 pieces and drew some guides that were the thickness of the handle.

Next I brought out my cross-cut sled.

I raised the blade to be at the half point of the handle.

Next I used clamps as stop blocks for the pieces of 2x4.  

The stop blocks helped me cut the exact amount of material away from the 2x4... fit the handle in snugly.

When both pieces of 2x4 were cut they fit the handle well, but the one rounded edge leaves some gaps.

So I went through my scrap wood and found another 1x2 that didn't have any rounded edges.

But I would like the handle to be rounded, so I drew lines that were the thickness of the 2x4s.

Then I routed the handle except for the area that will be covered.

Unfortunately my routed parts went past the area they were supposed to.  I will have to deal with some gaps since I have no more scrap 1x2 wood.

Next I glued the insides of the 2x4.

Then I sandwiched it all together...

...and clamped it tightly.

While it was drying I thought to myself that it will be difficult to cut some nice edges with the handle in place.  I should have glued the 2x4 pieces first, then add the handle after trimming and shaping the 2x4s.  So I let it dry and thought I'd try a second mallet.  I found 2 more pieces of 2x4.  I'll be using the 1x2 I was using earlier with the half-rounded side.

I went through the same process of cutting the inside of the 2x4s.

I then glued and clamped them together without the handle.

Next I rounded off the other side of the handle on the router table.

While mallet #2 was drying, mallet #1's glue had dried.  So I removed the clamps.

Then I took it to the belt sander and began sanding all the sides to be even and removing glue drips.

I inserted a 45-degree champering bit onto the router table and began cutting the edges to look nicer. 

Then back to the belt sander to make the routed areas softer.

And finally I sanded everything to be smoother with my orbital sander.

For good measure I decided to drill some holes with countersinks from the outside through the handle, and drill some screws.

Of course this left an unattractive view of the screws.  I would normally use wood filler to fill this...

...and the slight gaps around the handle, but wood filler would most likely fall out after that mallet hits something a few times.

So I decided to try out some Apoxy Clay.  This stuff gets rock hard when dry and hopefully will stay in place.

This is a 2-part clay.

Once you mix the 2 parts uniformly it's ready to use.

I covered the screw holes, the gaps around the handle and a few imperfections.

After a few hours when it dries I can sand the clay.  So back to mallet #2.  Once the glue dried I removed the clamps.

Instead of using the router I'm going to use the table saw with the blade angled at 45-degrees.

These cuts were nice, bigger angled cuts than the router's champering bit could make.

I then took it to the belt sander and softened all the edges.

It was time to put in the handle, but instead of using glue and drilling holes for screws, I found a dowel I had that would work better.  This is a 5/8" inch dowel, and thankfully I have a 5/8" spade drill bit.

Because of the size of the mallet, I needed to be creative while drilling.  It would not have fully fit on my drill press' table.

So I stacked some boards on the drill press' stand and drilled a hole through half of the mallet.

Then I pushed the mallet as far up as I could, this time with the handle inserted, and swung the drill press table under.  Then I drilled through the handle and about halfway through the other side of the mallet.

When done the handle had the 5/8" hole, as well as a hole running about 75% through the mallet.

Then I glued the handle, mallet and dowel in place.

While the glue dried, I brought it inside and used some more of the Apoxy clay.

Then I let both mallets dry.

About an hour later the Apoxy Clay had not fully hardened, but the glue around the dowel had.  So I used a hand saw to cut off the rest of the dowel.

Then cleaned up the sawed area on the belt sander.

Making these 2 mallets so far has been fun, and only took a couple of hours.  I'm still waiting for the Apoxy clay to harden, so I decided to rummage through my bins of wood to see if I could make one more.  Below are 4 pieces of wood that were leftover from my old wood futon.  The 2 middle pieces in the picture below have nice, rounded edges (they were the futon's arm rests).

There are a few holes on the other side of the pieces, but I do not think they will do much to keep this mallet from working.

So I trimmed the pieces to size using the miter gauge on my saw table.

These pieces, unlike the 2x4s, are .75" thick.  So I'll be using 3 pieces to make up the body of the mallet.

But I plan on doing this one a little differently.  For the middle piece - which is square on all 4 sides - I cut it into 2 pieces.

One of the pieces - on the left - is cut square.  The piece on the right is cut at a 5-degree angle.

I sanded the top portion of my handle at the same angle.  Using a saw on such a small piece seemed a bit risky, so I just took the extra time on the belt sander.

Now when the handle is inserted into the body of the mallet for gluing, it fits perfectly.

Next I glued the pieces of the mallet (not the handle) and clamped it. 

 I made sure to move the middle pieces flush against the handle before I removed the handle.

While that dried I used the champer bit that was still in the router table to angle the edges of the handle.

I smoothed those cuts with the belt sander.

When the head of the mallet was dry I sanded it on the belt sander.
(Boy, the belt sander is getting a workout today!)

When I inserted the handle there was a small gap.

The only wood I have that is thin enough to help here is 3/16" plywood.  But in order to get it to fit in with the handle I needed to trim the top of the handle a very small bit.

So I used the method with the cross cut sled on the table saw once again.

Then I cut my thin plywood.

I dry-fitted everything first to make sure it fit...

...and when it did I glued and clamped everything.

While that dried the Apoxy Clay finally was hard, so I began sanding with my mouse sander.

The sander worked, but couldn't get into those little areas by the handle, so I began using my files.

And as I was filing a piece fell out that went in one of the gaps I was trying to fill in.  So, lesson learned: Apoxy Clay does not stick to wood.

Annoyed, I grabbed my chisel and began scraping away the clay.

When mallet #3 was dry I removed the clamps and tested it out by banging it against the floor (a test I performed on the first 2).

One side popped right off.

So, further annoyed I simply reglued and then screwed the pieces together.

Then I let all 3 mallets hang out in the garage overnight to think about what they've done.

The next morning I tried the pounding-on-the-floor test for mallet #3 and it passed.  But it was looking a little too square for me, so I brought it over to the table saw and made 2 45-degree cuts to the top.

Then I added wood filler to all 3 mallets.  Like the Apoxy Clay, I doubt the filler will last too long, especially if these mallets wound up being used a lot.  But if one of them breaks up on me, I have 2 more in reserve.

After the filler dried I sanded.

Then I cleaned them all up in preparation for...


When the stain dried I applied a few layers of clear coat.

And when the clear coat dried I gave them a light sanding with a fine sanding sponge.

And I'm done!

These were fun to make, and I think they all came out fairly well.  Above is the 3rd mallets, and the first is below.

I think my favorite one is pictured below.  This was the second one made.

The day after I finished these I decided to test them out on a simple project.  I have a 100-foot extension cord which I keep in a bucket since it's so long.  But every time I need to use it, I spend a great deal of time untangling the cord.

So I began making an extension cord wrap using scrap plywood and dowels.  I drilled holes for the dowels in the plywood and used my mallet to punch them in.

The mallet worked well on it's first day at the job.

Now my long extension cord is neatly wrapped up!

So there you have it!  3 wood mallets!  I only really need one of them.  I'll probably give the other 2 away as gifts.  And I'm happy to say that my 2x4 dump has almost been depleted.  Time to buy more 2x4s!

Thanks for reading!

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