Monday, June 3, 2013

Tool Review: Trevor the Mallet

Trevor the Mallet
Finally! I am able to work on this Shaker side table project. It is weird how a month can slip by without having an opportunity to get any time in the shop.

Today the first order of business was to finish bashing out the mortises.  A while back, I did a poll on how I should fix a mistake, because I went and chopped two mortises out of a leg that only needed one. 


Feedback I received on that post was nearly unanimous in the desire for me to stick with the original leg orientation, and patch the extra mortise.  It was a great idea, as the drawer would cover the patch and no  one probably would ever know.

With this information and advice in mind, I promptly ignored it and decided to re-orient the legs.  These legs all look good, and I don't think it will detract too much.  The biggest benefit, is I was able to move forward with this project, rather than go back and fix a mistake.  

Worst comes to worst, I'll just build another one.

What does this silly table dilemma have to do with Trevor the Mallet, you ask?  Well, nothing.

I was able to finish the mortises on the legs without causing a revolt with the neighbors.  It is Monday morning, I waited until most who would be going to work left, and spent an hour bashing away.  I found out that putting the leg in a clamp and chopping them on the floor Japanese style makes remarkably less noise in my shop than doing it on the bench.

Too bad, really, because my Roubo with a 5 1/2" oak top was born for mortising.

Chopping these mortises really gave me an opportunity to give my new heavy mallet, Trevor the Mallet, a good workout.

The mass of this mallet is perfect.  It isn't so heavy that you get really tired chopping a few mortises, but it is big enough to make mincemeat out of the cherry that I am working on.  The mass makes things nice and easy, just the way I like them.

The handle is comfortable, and the traditional shape of it lends itself well to knowing exactly where you should be holding it.

The big advantage, in my opinion, is the angle of the faces of this mallet.  While constructing this mallet, I measured the distance between where the center of the mallet face would be to the tip of my elbow.  I used a string to lay out this angle on the face of the mallet, and cut the face using this mark.

This angle is a lot steeper than any commercial mallet I have ever used.  I am convinced that this is the perfect angle for me.  

I had absolutely no problem hitting the chisel square every single time without even having to think about it.  This lets me focus on the angle my chisel is at when entering the wood.

As long as the lamination holds together for this mallet, I see no reason why this mallet won't last me a good, long time.  There seems to be very little damage to the face of this mallet, which gives me even more confidence.

If you didn't catch it, I built this mallet using only the tools in my basic tool kit.  You can read about this build here.

Next up, a review of Trevor the Mallet's little brother, Travis the Mallet.

No comments:

Post a Comment