Looking for tips on carpenters's mallet


Hello I'm trying to make a wooden carpenter's mallet, and I'm looking for a few tips on how to cut a tapered dado in each half of the mallet head pieces, and have the matching tapered handle fit properly in the tapered through mortise which I will have after gluing the two head pieces together. I'm using osage orange for the mallet head, so any errors could be expensive. I have tried making a prototype from some maple offcuts using a crosscut sled and wedge's, but the results were not so good. Now I'm leaning towards using a top bearing straight cut routerbit, and a template. My brain is a bit sluggish on this one so any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Ken
PS A google search didn't yield much in the way of technique
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Ken wrote:

laminate them together first, or start with a bigger chunk, then chop the mortise with chisels. it'll be good fer ya....
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I agree with Bridger on this. I think you are trying to apply too much technology to a problem which is relatively easy to solve with simple techniques and is actually a better solution anyway.
I built mine out of a chunk of patternmakers stock (laminated oak). I may have had to glue a couple of pieces together to get the size I needed (can't remember now), but I cut the mortise in the whole block. It's not that hard. Even the layout isn't particularly tricky. You can waste away much of the material with drills (either auger bits with a brace, or spade or Forstner bits in the driver of your choice), then fine tune with sharp chisels. I tapered mine slightly and machined a handle to fit. With such a taper, you actually have a fairly large margin for error, as you can make the handle too long, and then cut off the part not needed.
I made mine so that the handle fits the head like a pick rather than a hammer or ax. In other words, the handle slips down through the top of the head, rather than in from the bottom. By doing that, I eliminate the need to wedge the handle, making replacement or interchanging quite easy--just tap the handle of the mallet on the floor and the head will slide right down. Also, you will be confident that it will never fly off due to wedge failure or whatever.
The one thing I did wrong (fifteen years ago) was to make the handle too short to stand proud of the head. If I had, it would have been VERY easy to tighten it by just tapping the protruding shaft on the floor or bench to tighten it to the head. I'll get around to fixing that one of these days. In the meantime, I get FAR too much use out of it as a mallet for chisel work, destruction (I banged a LOT on my wonder bar doing the demolition in my house remodel), or any of many tasks in between.
I also faced the ends of the mallet with " (roughly) thick pieces of maple. I glued them initially with yellow glue. One of the faces came off during demo (I really beat up on that thing) and I reglued it with polyurethane. I also need to resurface the faces one of these days because of the hurting I put on them in the aforementioned demolition.
Good luck with yours.
--
LRod

Master Woodbutcher and seasoned termite
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LRod wrote:

I made mine similar with the handle from the top of the head. The head is laminated from 3 peices of oak, with the center lamination being the same stock as the handle. The lamination was glued up with the handle in place (I did remember to remove the handle after the head was clamped), so the angled sides are identical to the angle on the handle, and the mortise is perfectly sized to the handle.
Look at the jointers mallet on this page- http://www.shavings.net /
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Thanks to all for the tips , information and the link to the galoot page. Reading your replies helped lift the brain fog . What I think I'll try, is to cut a straight dado in each of the mallet head pieces, laminate them and then as Bridger suggested, I'll do some chopping to get the neceassary taper. Thanks again
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Don't make the head from 2 pieces, make it from 3 (actually 4 before you are done) Make 3 identical pieces for the head to be glued together; before gluing cut the center piece as required to match the shape of your handle.
--

Larry Wasserman Baltimore, Maryland
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I didn't bother making a mortise for mine. I just carved out an entire mallet shape from a single piece of 3/4" jatoba, then laminated matching head-sections to the head part to make it the proper thickness . Used handsaw, chisels and rasps mainly to make the handle part and I love it.
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