Thursday, December 11, 2014

Turning an ipe and maple mallet

Final weight: 17 oz. 
Woods are ipe & maple

The handle is 2 pieces of 4/4 maple about 2×12 inches. The head is 4 pieces of 4/4 reclaimed ipe about 2.5×7 inches.

Getting the ipe flat without a jointer was trial and error. Hand planes dull after a few strokes and I didn't want to risk my planer knives, so it was a matter of using the table saw and skimming a little at a time until the pieces were reasonably flat. “Reasonably” meant a little more clamping pressure than usual but at least with ipe you don’t have to worry about leaving marks, it doesn't dent. Not that leaving marks would have mattered since they would be turned away.

Corners were knocked off on the table saw. The band saw would have been my first choice but mine only has a carbon steel blade and ipe can damage carbon steel.

I forget to take pictures so we jump from mounted on the lathe to pretty much done.

I only have carbon steel (cs) and carbide tools (note to self: really need to get some HSS), so it was carbide on the head and c.s. on the maple. The ipe machined nicely but carbide tends to cause more tear out than steel so I had a good bit of sanding. Ipe is merely amused by sandpaper so I got the head fairly smooth but not perfect.
Tried burning a lines in the end grain but it wasn't happening.

Finished with blonde shellac. Normally I prefer oil only on tool handles, especially hammers/mallets, but wanted to keep the maple a neutral color. 

The lines were burned with a piece of Formica which produces a cleaner line than wire. 

Formica samples like these can be found in most home improvement stores.

I would change one thing, make the head larger. My goal was to hit about 21 oz. but got too aggressive on lathe and ended up at 17 oz. Still, it's a fine mallet.