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The Handsome & Co educational Taster – Making Mallets.

The educational taster is upon us again at Handsome & Co. This means an opportunity for students to step outside their comfort zone and try their hand at a new skill they may not necessarily encounter working on their own projects. As usual, term 2 is my time to jump in the drivers seat and guide the taster. For the past year, the running theme has been ‘Making Tools’ and I definitely wanted to continue this theme as I’m a keen Hand Tool Woodworker myself. I appreciate a user made tool. In the recent months, a number of my students had asked me about making Mallets. I thought it was fitting to revisit one of our very first tasters here at Handsome & Co, run by former tutor Pete Bollington.

The first step for our Mallet Making educational taster is the through mortise and tenon and connecting the handle and the head. Taking into consideration that not only is this join visible but will also be constantly under pressure from day to day use, so a precise fit was crucial!

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The mortises are cut on our beautiful Wadkin chisel Mortiser and the tenons cut to fit on the bandsaw, with a little hand fitting just for good measure.

Once happy with the fit of the tenon we can move onto shaping our handles. I set the small challenge to each of my students to shape their handles using only hand tools, with the exception of the bandsaw to remove a bulk of the waste, keeping in mind that less is more and to always keep function over form in the fore front of their minds.

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I also challenged them to not use any sandpaper and finish everything off with tools (maybe this was a utopian dream).

Once everything had been shaped, including the mallet head which we just faceted the edges off, it was time to glue. The tenon received two wedges to hold it in place the students then hand sliced to shape with a chisel, gluing these mallets is exceptionally fast as is any wedged tenon joinery.

Once glued, and hopefully not attacked with sandpaper, the Mallets were given a coat of Danish oil, ready for a life of brutality.

Images and words by Douglas Maloney.

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