A couple weeks ago I won this (above) brass mallet on eBay. I really like the old, mushroomed faces, wear marks, and the patina on the brass. The only thing wrong with it was the steel rod handle. The solution: contact a local machinist to remove the handle and bore a 1/2″ through hole for a new handle tenon and a 3/16″ hole for a pin. Costs: $17.33 for the mallet with shipping and $5 for the machinist (I gave him $10). Total cost of $27.33. Not bad considering brass rod retails for about $15/inch for this size.
With the holes bored i needed to choose a handle style. While in Atlanta for The Woodworking Show, I went to Highland Woodworking (Highland Hardware) and saw David Barron’s Chisel Hammer. I’ll admit to lust and covetousness for this inanimate object but the $74 price tag was a strong enough deterrent. Loaded with that style in my memory, with the help of Google Images as a refresher, I sought a worthy wood species to compliment the aged mallet. Enter a scrap piece of air dried walnut left over from me stool build 2 years ago.
Turning the handle was a straight forward process. The blank was mounted between centers and turned with a spindle gouge and parting tool. 2 simple but necessary tools to have with the lathe.
After the shape was finalized and sanded to 320, I used my Stanley Yankee push drill to bore a small through to prevent the wedge from splitting the wood.
I then removed the blank and cut the handle from the waste. Using my Dozuki Z-Saw I cut the slot for the Ebony wedge.
This should be a substantial slot for the wedge to easily fit into with some coercion. If you choose to glue in a wedge, remember to only glue one side to allow for wood movement. If you glue both sides, one glue joint will surely split as the wood expands and contracts throughout the seasons and changes in humidity.
Next a 3/16″ hole is drilled through the side of the tenon and a brass rod is hammered through.
Cut the excess rod off leaving 1/16″ proud on each side to be rounded with a ball peen hammer.
The final step was to apply the finish. I chose Dark Walnut Danish Oil to blend the light and dark grain yet accentuate the natural curl and figure in this piece of walnut. When that was dry I rubbed and buffed in some of the Beeswax polish that I made in a previous post. The handle has a nice satin finish and the color of the walnut compliments the patina on the brass wonderfully, in my opinion (which is all that matters here).