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Making and Using Tools - Percussion Tool


Leather Mallet by Gary Caron


I took a liking to the leather washer mallet that Jack Kamishlian shared with us a week or so ago and decided to make one. I started by creating a set of drawings for the handle and top and bottom caps, based, as close as I can tell on his prototype.  I strayed a little from the original to make use of available parts. Some of the dimensions were changed as the piece was made.

The top and bottom caps were made from aluminum, the handle from apple, the screws were " X 3.5" countersunk, and the leather .1" thick.


I turned the caps on my South Bend (1936, old tool) 9" metal lathe to the drawing. The hole in the bottom cap was bored to 7/8" and tapped to 7/8" 9tpi. The hole in the top cap is .76".

I turned the handle from the bottom cap to the end cap on the same lathe. Turned the area where the bottom cap was to be to 7/8" and the area to the cap to .76". I tried to cut threads in the 7/8" area, but the wood crumbled, so I turned the 7/8" area of the handle down to .77". I chucked the handle on a wood lathe and finished the turning, leaving the waste on both ends.

The punch, a knife, and the top cap were used to fabricate the 32 washers that were needed.  A leather punch was made from thick wall black pipe with an o.d. of .75".

I threaded the bottom cap onto the handle. The bottom cap compressed mini threads into the wood where the wood was .77". Very tight but probably not necessary.

The leather washers, have a slightly smaller hole diameter than the handle. They stretch easily to fit the handle, but when there are 30 odd stacked and compressed by the top cap screws, they fit tight and cannot be twisted around the handle. It was probably not necessary to thread the handle as the compression of the leather washers holds the thing together.

After assembling the parts, I put the nearly completed mallet back on the metal lathe and trimmed the leather, then removed the waste with a backsaw. My original drawing had the top cap at a slightly larger diameter from the bottom cap cause I like a tapered mallet. The finish was Boiled linseed oil followed by floor wax.

Galootish tools used - Backsaw, punches in two sizes, skill knife, screw driver, 7/8" tap.

I intend to cast the end caps from brass or bronze when the weather warms up a bit.

Gary Caron
February, 2006

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