Wooden Mallet

I used an oak dowel and a maple rectangle of wood to make a mallet on the lathe.
After finding the center of both pieces, I loaded the block to shape into a cylinder first.
Greatly underestimating the time it would take to bring a rectangle to something manageable.
My first half an hour I was shocked to have only made a little progress.
This was the first time I had ever tried turning something that wasn’t already rounded, and it definitely made me reconsider my time management.
Slowly but surely, things began to take shape.
After two hours it looked like this:
Which then turned into a slightly rough version of what I wanted the head to look like.
After sanding down with a number of different grits, I remembered wanting to make two grooves in the ends of the head.
I took an even finer sandpaper to the grain to get into the grooves I just made.
After taking it off the lathe, it was time to make a 1″ hole for the handle. For the first time I learned how to use the drill press, and realized that it’s a bit lopsided unfortunately.
Making the two 90 degree holes on either side of the 1″ hole I had just made didn’t turn out the way I wanted it to.
The hole for the handle wasn’t deep enough, and I had made one of the 90 degree angle holes a little less than 90 degrees on one side so I had to go back and make the handle hole larger to supplement the mistake.
Although the holes were not positioned precisely, I managed to get deepen the handle hole which helped make up for the misaligned hole on the right.
I measured the width of the hole for the handle and carefully started to turn the oak into a handle with the proper 1″ diameter at the end.
After gluing the two parts together it looked pretty good — although the mallet head was a little off center due to the misalignment of the drill press and having to re-drill the hole and a second time.
Once the glue had dried for about half an hour I applied a shiny coat of tung oil.
In the morning, I realized the tung oil didn’t take very well and decided to wax the whole thing instead on the lathe.

The Wood Lathe

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What an amazing tool. The lathe was pure fun. My hands were shaking once I finished for some time after turning two dowels. There was certainly a difference between the pine and oak wood. Every time I thought I had something smooth to work with on the pine it ended up looking really jagged along the grain. And it didn’t turn into butter like the oak did once you smoothed and rounded off everything.

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I started under the assumption that I wanted to technically follow the turning chisel layout and found the center of the wood using the center finder.

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Then, I hammered the drive center into the wood, and attached the live center, aligning everything by tightening the bolt on the left end of the lathe.

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Once everything seemed sturdy I attached the tool rest approximately to the middle of the material and in pretty close proximity.

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Because I assumed following the diagram would be the best way to start, I marked the parts I needed to lathe accordingly…

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only to quickly notice I wanted to experiment with shapes and see what happened. I liked the outcome. It sort of reminds me of a huge honey dipper.

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After using two grades of sandpaper, 400 and 220, I had a pretty smooth piece of lathed wood — and I was ready to see what oak felt like.

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Muscle memory helped me quickly place a new piece of dowel.

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And after about 25 minutes, I had something interesting I liked to use for a handle.

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The two pieces, unfinished, but taken off the lathe and ready to be varnished.