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Woodworking with Diego de Assis


Striking Tool : a Mallet

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Diego de Assis


I own a mallet made in the traditional European style, with a wedged handle to offer greater safety. The handle is attached to the head through a perforation that spans the entire head, and widens out once more after passing through the hole.

For this reason, a mallet's head will never break free and fly off, unless the tool itself is fractured.

Traditional European mallets can be made of several different types of wood, such as pine, maple, oak, beech, and others, depending on desired weight and function.


When I built this model, I crafted the head out of purpleheart (Peltogine spp.), a hard and heavy type of wood. After a long usage the head became fractured, and so when making a replacement I decided to use a more durable wood Ė the Yellow IpÍ (Tabebuia Alba) of Brazil, known for its rangy grain among other qualities. As a result, today my mallet is heavier, but also much more durable. This experience also suggested a correlation between different wood grains and impact resistance.

I crafted the handle out of ParanŠ Pine (Araucaria angustifolia), a type of wood sufficiently strong to absorb the impact vibrations. It is important to remember that the wood's annual rings should be parallel to the direction of the hammer strikes, ensuring maximum handle durability. This is also true for all hammer and axe handles.

The head's annual rings should be perpendicular to the handle in order to increase impact resistance.

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