How to make mauls or mallets

Making a one piece wooden mallet
Great for bashing in tent pegs, or using with chisels.
Also handy when making other mallets.

You will need

1. An unseasoned log : about 12 inches long and five inches in diameter. We use sycamore because we are trying to get rid of it.
2. Some tools : A saw, billhook or hand axe and perhaps a sharp knife.
3. A hard surface to work on is essential.

What you do

1. About half way along the log, cut around the circumference to a depth of just under 2 inches.
2. Now working at the narrowest end of the log, use an axe or billhook to remove the wood down to the cut. Leave the center of the log, this is your handle.
3. Tidy it up a bit making the handle as round and smooth as you can. You can use a billhook or a sharp knife for this.

Some people split off one side of the head to provide a flat surface to hit things with.

A two piece mallet (see below). It takes longer to make but you can use a longer and stronger handle making it more suitable for bigger jobs like bashing in fence posts or driving wedges for splitting logs.

Making a two piece wooden mallet
Once you have used one of these beauties you'll wonder
how you ever managed without one. Erh.. well maybe you wont.
We did, but then we do live in the woods.

You will need

1. For the head, a log about 8 to 10 inches long and 6 inches thick.
2. For the handle, a 2 to 3 ft length of pole
wood about 2 inches thick.
3. Tools : A drill (hand powered is fine) with a 1 to 1 inch boring bit. As well as a billhook or sharp knife and a saw.
4. A hard surface to work on and another mallet would help (see above).

What you do

1. Drill a hole through the width of the head, about half way along.
2. Use the billhook or knife to whittle one end of the handle down to just fit inside the hole.
3. Cut a 2 inch slot down the handle at the end you worked at.
4. Bash the handle in and then drive a small wedge of
wood into the cut you made before trimming the surplus off a little above the head.

A better way to keep the head on is to taper the handle along its entire length and bash the handle in all the way so that the narrowest end is the handle and the thickest bit is stopping the head flying off in use.

Cleft wood handles are much stronger than pole wood.

What wood? The choice is pretty easy for us. We have loads of unwanted Sycamore which we are trying to get rid of and so we use it for all kinds of construction and for firewood. It is fine for the one piece mallets and even the two piece mallet we made using just Sycamore has held together pretty well. In theory the heads of two piece mallets will be stronger and less prone to split if you uses knotty wood. Heavy wood such as fruit trees should make good heads. Ash makes good handles. Hardwood such as oak makes the best wedges.

Don't fancy making your own but in need of a good quality mallet? Don't despair, we have more than enough and are willing to share. We can trade in old money (pounds sterling) but would prefer something useful in exchange or LETS credits.

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