Carving Mallet Prototypes (Part 3) Stainless Steel?

Stainless steel mallet head on the lathe.
Stainless steel mallet head on the lathe.

David no more than gets back to his shop before doing more mallet head experiments. Before he left my place, we spoke about a steel option instead of brass and here it is. He grabbed some stock out of his stash and chucked it up and started machining. He thinks this is stainless steel as it machined very hard. The head weighs in at 19 oz and has a 5/8″ diameter hole that is 1″ deep. I think having a steel head as an option is worth investigating.

I doubt there will be production runs of stainless steel. It took considerably longer to machine and he ended up breaking some tooling in the process. If you are interested in a stainless steel version similar to this there will be an additional charge, but it is possible.

Finished stainless steel mallet head prototype.
Finished stainless steel mallet head prototype.

I have requested a bit larger mallet from him, which won’t likely be used for carving, but for mortising and the like. I am looking for a head that is 25-35% larger/heavier that will let me beat the tar out of my mortise chisels. I think we will just need to find some suitable stock. David thinks that one that is 2.5-3″ in diameter and 3″ long will give us a 32-36 oz head. It’s great to have a friend that enjoys machining things like this!

Left: Oak handle with 26oz head. Right: Black walnut handle with 15oz head.
Original Prototypes – Left: Oak handle with 26 oz head. Right: Ebonized black walnut handle with 19.5 oz head.

We have also need to continue experimenting with different holes for the handles. The larger one from the first batch of prototypes only had a 1/2″ diameter hole, and the oak handle just didn’t live through the workload I had for it. We will get another handle made and see if it was just a weak spot in the wood, but I think a slightly larger handle hole is warranted. We may also experiment with a tapped hole and a threaded insert to go into the handle.

The black walnut handled 19.5 oz one is amazing for delicate work, it just feels right in my hand and the control is wonderful.