How to Make a Joiners Mallet, Building A First Woodworking Hand Tool

  • Published on Dec 24, 2016
  • A joiners Mallet is a great first tool to make. not only is it an extremely useful tool, but it is a great exercise in skills. this simple project can be made in a day with basic tools, and in this case, is made from firewood.
    This Mallet design is very old and has been around for a long time. Building one is a great way to start into the world of Hand tool woodworking, and will change the feel of any woodshop. As woodworking Projects go, this is one I suggest often. but if you want a more in-depth video Paul Sellers has almost 2 hours on making one here
    Make Crazy Day's channel:
    Tools needed.
    #4 Hand plane setup for smoothing:
    Scrub or foreplane:
    Frame saw:
    Panel saw:
    Bevel up Low angle plane:
    Round bottom spokeshave:
    Marking knife:
    Bit set:
    Chisel Set:
    Block Plane:
    Supplies used
    Oak Firewood: free craigslist
    Epoxy: Resin Hardener
    Boiled Linseed Oil:
    Past Wax:
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Comments • 156

  • Da Barboza
    Da Barboza 9 days ago +1

    Thank you for the videos!! Helpful and motivating!! Woodworking is a passion of mine from a young age. Just never have the free time. When I do...I use a lot of hand tools. That is how my first shop teachers in Jr High and High school taught us. Restoring old tools and antique too, I have that purest personality. Nothing wrong with keeping it original... I do have to learn to sharpen my tools better....Practice and more practice!!

  • WhiteNewDeal
    WhiteNewDeal 17 days ago +1

    How could anyone not think this is badass?

  • Jeff Clark of Clarkle Sparkle

    Im making my very first thing ever with wood and it is a mallet. A few questions, i didnt notice you putting a wedge in the top, is it unnecessary because the handle was flared at the top to stop it? If so what holds the butt of the mallet on the handle? Just pressure because of the wedging action? I was thinking doing it the same way and putting wire beneath the butt but is it even necessary? (Sorry so long, i have the flu and things dont make as much sense as they should right now haha)

  • Stefan Hansen
    Stefan Hansen 9 months ago +1

    Beautiful. Being new to woodworking I wonder if handtool woodworkers rarely use sandpaper. How often do you use sandpaper?

    • Wood By Wright
      Wood By Wright  9 months ago

      I use it from time to time. Postly of I ant a deeper finish penitration or if I am working on a compound curve such as a handle. Traditionally, the last thing to touch the wood would be a cardscraper or file.

  • jgiajnorio2
    jgiajnorio2 10 months ago +1

    Is the handle glued in or just a pressure fit?

    • Wood By Wright
      Wood By Wright  10 months ago +1

      Just wedged. The angle is enough to keep it from flying off.

  • Jesse R
    Jesse R 10 months ago

    How did you make a mallet before you made this mallet 🤔

  • Joe Gravelle
    Joe Gravelle 11 months ago +1

    Now to find dry firewood

  • joseph turco
    joseph turco Year ago +1

    nice video! im getting into hand tool woodworking, and have already picked up some new/used tools. i am confused though. in your video of what tools you need to start, you mention this mallet, but you end up using a frame saw in this video and dont mention it in the previous video. how would one cut firewood square without this type of saw (i would like to build a frame saw someday but then i noticed in the frame saw build you need to build ANOTHER saw). thanks for sharing your tips and tricks to a fellow woodworker up here in canada :)

    • joseph turco
      joseph turco Year ago +1

      @Wood By Wright oh wow. Thanks for the response! Im currently on the hunt for dry firewood so i can get a block to work with. Hope all is well and hope you had a good Thanksgiving!

    • Wood By Wright
      Wood By Wright  Year ago

      You can just use a hand saw. the frame saw is just waser. the first several mallets I made I just used a hand saw I got from the big box store. the frame saw is nothing special just a back saver.

  • Jonas Sjöblom
    Jonas Sjöblom Year ago +1

    This channel is amazing, it covers everything on how to use hand tools to make hand tools which you can use to make more hand tools!

  • Giacomo Galioto
    Giacomo Galioto Year ago +1

    Hi Matt, awesome video as always. Wondering where your bought your frame saw?

    • Wood By Wright
      Wood By Wright  Year ago

      Thanks. I got the kit form Black Burn tool works. here is the video where I made it.

  • Carbonite Gamorrean
    Carbonite Gamorrean Year ago +1

    Love watching these older vids on occasion such a difference, not bad not good but wow look at you now

    • Wood By Wright
      Wood By Wright  Year ago

      LOL thanks man. it is fun to see where I came from!

  • Turkelton
    Turkelton Year ago +1

    I like your personality. Mallet is really nice!


    YOU are one goofy guy! "I love my tools"
    I gotta love that kinda attitude dude!
    (Lifetime subscriber).

    • Wood By Wright
      Wood By Wright  Year ago

      thanks Jeffrey! I do enjoy having fun in the shop!

  • mamel .juice
    mamel .juice Year ago +1

    also i was wondering if you could make the inward curve that you put on the handle with a drawknife?

    • Wood By Wright
      Wood By Wright  Year ago

      Always worth a try. I don't think I would as I like to use both faces. But you may like it.

  • mamel .juice
    mamel .juice Year ago +1

    i got some chunks of live oak fresh off the tree, would it be too green for making a mallet?

    • Wood By Wright
      Wood By Wright  Year ago

      Sure that would work well. Just know the shape will change as it dries and the handle may loosen a bit.

  • pick's projects
    pick's projects Year ago +1

    Love the way it looks like it was made by a cave man with an axe,it looks great.

    • Wood By Wright
      Wood By Wright  Year ago

      LOL dont diss the ax. most northwestern woodworking traditions only used axes to build everything.

  • Le'Jackal Creations
    Le'Jackal Creations Year ago +1

    I am working on one like this, But the wood is maple, from a tree that fell, and the land lord had cut up had some black lines marbled into it, I’m guessing a wood rot fungus, but makes it pretty, just finished blocking the head today, gotta make the handle and starting putting them together.

  • Jeremy Hunter
    Jeremy Hunter Year ago

    @2:00 everyone who has ever taught me would give me a collective clip around the ear for this haha. I was always told "if you're only going to use half the I'll find you a smaller one and give the proper one to someone else." learnt my lesson quick.

  • Guy Jones
    Guy Jones 2 years ago +1

    I just took down a maple tree that was growing too close to one of my outbuildings. The trunk at the bottom is about 6 inches around and I was wondering if it would make a decent green wood mallet? Would it work better if I dry the wood first or would the green wood be just as good. Any ideas would be appreciated.

    • Wood By Wright
      Wood By Wright  2 years ago

      for something that small it would work great green. but if you do want to dry it cut it slightly over sized and stick it in the oven for a few hours then let it sit for a cople days and it should be dry and ready to go.

  • Bartosz Pielak
    Bartosz Pielak 2 years ago +1

    Do you think i can make a mallet from freshly cut wood? I have nice piece of Hornbeam, fragment for a mallet would have pretty straight grain. But if I will make one now, will it crack even if the grain is straight?

    • Wood By Wright
      Wood By Wright  2 years ago

      the paper bag will just let it dry slower. with that size it would probably be fine in the open air but you never know what it will do.

    • Bartosz Pielak
      Bartosz Pielak 2 years ago +1

      Wood By Wright thanks! ...why in paper bag? Only thing with drying wood I know is painting end grain so it will dry slower and more 'equal'

    • Wood By Wright
      Wood By Wright  2 years ago +1

      oh that is some hard stuff. I would cut it to size then leave it for a couple weeks in a paper bag. if you don't see any cracks then go ahead and use it. the cracks will happen in straight grain more then burl or twisted wood.

  • Rami Nieminen
    Rami Nieminen 2 years ago +1

    Nice to see somebody having enough patience to use handtools only. I always use powertools if possible, just for making the job quicker

    • Wood By Wright
      Wood By Wright  2 years ago

      yup I use to be all power tools, but I love how it forces me to slow down and enjoy a good wood curl.

  • Larché Jacques Clarel
    Larché Jacques Clarel 2 years ago +1

    nice. there is a little supervisor coming and checking the progress of your work each time hihi :)

  • Billy Nolfe
    Billy Nolfe 2 years ago +1

    Great video. You do good work

  • theduck
    theduck 2 years ago +1

    Thank you for showing us how you made you mallet, looks something like the one I made. Not sure about yours, my handle goes in one way better then the other. So I marked the handle and head, something you can think about for your next one with your makers make on the head, you could put it on the handle to mark that as the sides that go together

  • Carbonite Gamorrean
    Carbonite Gamorrean 2 years ago +1

    Awesome !!!!

    MISANTHROPE1964 2 years ago +1

    Damnit, Jim. Just discovered your channel and was loving it, 'till I saw the Packer's shirt. As a woodworking flatlander, love your work. But as a Bear's fan, your wardrobe needs work....

    • Wood By Wright
      Wood By Wright  2 years ago

      +MISANTHROPE1964 not that far. I am thinking of doing a local meet up some time soon. There are far more packet fans in Rockford then bears bit you go any further east and that changes.

      MISANTHROPE1964 2 years ago +1

      Wood By Wright Naperville, though Chicago born and bred. Used to hunt rust with the MWTCA Chicago Artisans & Trades... Ain't you a little far south for a Packer Backer?

    • Wood By Wright
      Wood By Wright  2 years ago

      LOL I am a Packers owner through and through. where are you at> I live in Rockford IL

  • Tony Rodriguez
    Tony Rodriguez 2 years ago +5

    Could you please make an instructional video for making a mallet but only using the most basic tools, for those of us that are just starting and don't have all of the different planes listed in the tools needed section.

    • Cris Sznoluch
      Cris Sznoluch 6 months ago

      My thing right now is I'm literally starting from ground up on tools..I got some planes and chisels but no table or vice so I gotta get creative with holding the wood to plane it lol

    • Wood By Wright
      Wood By Wright  2 years ago +1

      I have two older videos on that. My first mallet was just made with a #4 a hand saw from the big box store and Harbor Freight chisels.

  • JimMyra Wright
    JimMyra Wright 2 years ago +1

    Thor should be calling you soon for a new Hammer! :)

  • Wissam Mahfouz
    Wissam Mahfouz 2 years ago +1

    The saw, the saw, the saw... can you please give more information about the big saw that you used? did u make it? or did u buy it? if you bought, where from?

    • Wissam Mahfouz
      Wissam Mahfouz 2 years ago

      Thanks a lot.

    • Wood By Wright
      Wood By Wright  2 years ago

      I have made two videos on making those. here is the first one. and here is the most recent one.

    • Wissam Mahfouz
      Wissam Mahfouz 2 years ago +1

      Yes, it is the one you use at minute 1.03 of this video. You said it was your favorite saw to use. Thx.

    • Wood By Wright
      Wood By Wright  2 years ago +1

      which big saw were you referring to? the one hanging up behind me?

  • Laurent Nahra
    Laurent Nahra 2 years ago


  • Hossam Hussien
    Hossam Hussien 2 years ago

    Happy to find your channel, maybe some day I will be half as good as you and then, I can die in peace, good job. Greetings from Egypt

    • Wood By Wright
      Wood By Wright  2 years ago +1

      thanks. but do not sell yourself can make someone look a lot better then they are.

  • Lucas Edney
    Lucas Edney 2 years ago +1

    hey James, I hope you're well. I have a question, along with this, what other tools would be a good beginner set? Or if you could give a list of start up tools for creating your first projects what would they be? For creating anything from a box to a bed frame, beginner wise. Anyways, thanks again for all of your helpful videos. I know this is an older video and I wanted my comment to relate. Thanks!

    • Wood By Wright
      Wood By Wright  2 years ago

      +Oh Lucas you can make anything with a #4 hand plane, a hand saw and a set of chisels. After that let the project lead you to tools to buy.

  • Russell Spees
    Russell Spees 2 years ago +1

    Hi James, could you tell me more about that epoxy you used? I'm working on a walnut mallet that split a little bit after I cut it down from a log.

    • Russell Spees
      Russell Spees 2 years ago

      Wood By Wright thanks!

    • Wood By Wright
      Wood By Wright  2 years ago

      this is the epoxy I used. it is good stuff, but most people prefer the west system but it is far more expensive.

  • Adam Quincey
    Adam Quincey 2 years ago +1


  • Brian Prusa
    Brian Prusa 2 years ago +13

    I half expected a tiny wood mallet that would fit on a ring. 😁

  • dutchwoodworking
    dutchwoodworking 2 years ago +1


  • My Garage Woodshop
    My Garage Woodshop 2 years ago +3

    GREAT LOOKING MALLET!!! The color, the length, the look of it! Nice firewood selection! Someone is gonna be very happy to receive that beauty! Great job, James!

    • Wood By Wright
      Wood By Wright  2 years ago

      thanks man! I do love a fun mallet. not as nice as your recent ones mind you.

  • Robert Evans
    Robert Evans 2 years ago +1

    Loved that you kept the knot in it...add lots to the mallet...Happy New Year...

    • Wood By Wright
      Wood By Wright  2 years ago

      thanks Robert. I was sad to have to give it away.

  • Blog das Madeiras
    Blog das Madeiras 2 years ago +3

    Hi there from Portugal,
    Nice intro, great video / mallet :D

    • Jisbin San Jose
      Jisbin San Jose 2 years ago

      There are several ideas to consider before you begin your own woodworking company
      Will you get support from your family?
      Are you self-motivated?
      Will you carry out your plan?
      Do you have the money to start?
      (I read these and the reasons they work from Enata wood system site )

    • Wood By Wright
      Wood By Wright  2 years ago +1

      thanks man!

  • Robert Brunston
    Robert Brunston 2 years ago +1

    Thank you.

  • Joe Basement Woodworking & DIY

    very nice mallet james! looks heavy! merry Christmas and happy New year to you and yours

  • Jason Roets
    Jason Roets 2 years ago +1

    I see that you used your hand plane extensively. I finally got my number 4 working well after 8 hours over two days of adjustment, tinkering and re sharpening of the edge. It's now working like a dream, I am even cutting endgrain wonderfully. I even resurfaced a butchers block I had several years ago. I don't think I'll ever buy sand paper again. The plane is faster to surface a project than to sand through the grits. I think it will even be cheaper since you buy the plane and sharpening tools once.

    • Wood By Wright
      Wood By Wright  2 years ago

      Very true it is a joy all around! thanks Jason! and marry Christmas!

  • Stuff I Made
    Stuff I Made 2 years ago +1

    Sweet mallet! Not so secret Santa ;)

  • Opa's Workshop
    Opa's Workshop 2 years ago +1

    nice Mallet James especially from a piece of firewood.

  • Paolo
    Paolo 2 years ago +1

    Nice mallet James. Merry Christmas.

  • JoshL
    JoshL 2 years ago +1


  • Frank Ingram
    Frank Ingram 2 years ago +1

    Great looking mallet James. If I was a wood peg I'd be plum tickled to be pounded on by that thing. Good video.
    God Bless my friend.

  • Tamás Baricsán
    Tamás Baricsán 2 years ago +1

    tumbs up and almost 12k

  • Chris Pine
    Chris Pine 2 years ago +1

    beautiful mallet! I love the live edge area! Makes it very original and obviously craftsman made! Well done! Merry Christmas! Subscribed!

  • John Fisher
    John Fisher 2 years ago +13

    James thanks for the mallet, I love it. I've been needing a new mallet, and love the natural edge knot as well. I have none of the hand tools used to make this, so sub'd and will be adding a block plane to my after Christmas list. Great channel and craftsmanship. God Bless you and your family, Merry Christmas James.

    • Phyoomz
      Phyoomz 10 months ago

      This exchange put a smile on my normally grumpy face.

    • Wood By Wright
      Wood By Wright  2 years ago +2

      Sweet! I hope it treats you well.

    • John Fisher
      John Fisher 2 years ago +5

      It came today, it's lovely and sitting next to me. Thanks again James I appreciate it.

    • Wood By Wright
      Wood By Wright  2 years ago +4

      +John Fisher thanks John have you gotten it yet?

  • Woodnerd
    Woodnerd 2 years ago +1

    HI James, just thought I'd let you know you have the name Erich Keane beside my blog and youtube channel link in the Patreon Supporters section of the video description.

    • Wood By Wright
      Wood By Wright  2 years ago +1

      LOL thanks. that is what I get for not watching what I copy and paste. thanks for letting me know.

  • Make Crazydays
    Make Crazydays 2 years ago +1

    Beautiful work James. I'm sure John will love it. Thanks for joining the Secret Santa event this year.

    • Wood By Wright
      Wood By Wright  2 years ago

      thanks! LOVE the ax. looking forward to putting it to work.

    • Make Crazydays
      Make Crazydays 2 years ago +1

      No worries, I found it and got it added. Very cool gift.

    • Wood By Wright
      Wood By Wright  2 years ago

      +Make Crazydays I just realised I saw the wrong day sorry I completely missed that when I reread the email.

  • John Mcclue
    John Mcclue 2 years ago +2

    Hi James, Merry Christmas man. Wondered if you could give me dimensions for the mallet head. Big thanks, Johnny

    • Wood By Wright
      Wood By Wright  2 years ago

      I actually make them all by eye but it is about 5" across at the bottom and 6" at the top. about 2 3/4" thick 4 1/4" tall. Hope that helps. I usually make them fit whatever piece of wood I am working with rather than a specific size.

  • Jason Wier
    Jason Wier 2 years ago +1

    I've been waiting for this since you hinted to might be coming. One early morning I was thinking about who I was going to build these for, dad and father-in-law, for their birthdays. Thank you for sharing and I'll get right to work. Great video and seeing how you recovered the head with epoxy was helpful.

    • Wood By Wright
      Wood By Wright  2 years ago

      thanks! glad I could help. if you ever have questions feel free to ask or request videos.

  • Peter Compton
    Peter Compton 2 years ago +1

    I've decided not to challenge you to arm wrestling, you must have arms and muscles like Popeye with all the recent heavy wood dimensioning. :D

    • Wood By Wright
      Wood By Wright  2 years ago

      LOL. it is not as much a work out as it looks. but it does not hurt!

  • Daniel Solowiej
    Daniel Solowiej 2 years ago +1

    Nice mallet and video. The best wishes, merry Christmas and nice new year!

  • Crafted Workshop
    Crafted Workshop 2 years ago +1

    Great project, James. This would be a good one for me to get more comfortable with some more hand tool work.

    • Wood By Wright
      Wood By Wright  2 years ago

      ya. a lot of different skills in one project. I would love to see what twists you could bring to it.

  • David Dorothy
    David Dorothy 2 years ago +1

    Interesting opinion about the first tool you should make. I think winding sticks was my first hand made tool. I still have not made a mallet but I might try soon. I decided to go the Paul Sellers way and get a plastic and rubber capped mallet.

    • Wood By Wright
      Wood By Wright  2 years ago +1

      I used one of those for a while but then found that I much rather use something I made. it is just a pleasure. maybe that is why I am so twisted. but they both work great!

  • Shogun-Jimi
    Shogun-Jimi 2 years ago +1

    fire wood - to mallet - nice job

  • lujanjd
    lujanjd 2 years ago +7

    This time of the year is usually pretty rough for me and yesterday was just a terrible day. This video and going back through your other videos is getting me hyped up to get back into the shop and get back to work. I feel so much better after watching your stuff, its really brought things back up for me. Thank you, hope you have a great Christmas

    • Wood By Wright
      Wood By Wright  2 years ago +2

      well thank you. that means a lot. I am glad I could help. if there is ever anything I can do for you please let me know. and Merry Christmas.