I decided that I needed a large mallet for splitting wood with a steel wedge. Something about hitting a steel wedge with a steel hammer scares the shit out of me. It could be the story my stepdad told me when I was young.
He said he was splitting firewood with a steel wedge and a sledgehammer. One unlucky blow caused a small piece of metal to fly off either the sledge or the wedge, I don’t remember which. Regardless, it had enough power behind it that when it hit the inside of his knee it took him down. He said it literally took his leg out from under him. He had to take a ride to the hospital and have a chunk ‘o metal surgically removed.
Ok, that is not the main reason I built my own wooden mallet but it sure does keep replaying in my head when I am splitting wood.
I built it mainly because I enjoy building my own tools. I have built a couple hand planes, a jointer and a smoothing plane. I am in the process of building my own bow saw. Hardware decisions are the only thing holding that project up. I have built a smaller mallet for chisel work as well. I have plans to make a wooden square as well as a few other tools that I don’t want to buy.
I find the amount of gadgets in the woodworking catalogs to be a little overwhelming, there is so much stuff in there that seems useless. For instance, I don’t think a micrometer belongs in my workshop. The day I find myself measuring plane shavings is the day I need to reevaluate what I am trying to do.
But beyond the micrometer, there are other things in those catalogs that are easy to build at home. Why buy it if you can build it? Granted, my sledgehammer looks like ass, but it’s not a precision tool either. It’s for hitting shit. That is it’s only task.
Anyway, these pictures sort of show how I did it.