You’re new to the world of woodworking, and you’re still trying to sort out which tools you need for the various jobs you want to do. A couple of your woodworking buddies have recommended the round mallet to you. Why do woodworkers use round mallets?
A Round Mallet is easy to use when hitting the back of chisels and gouges or pieces of wood. In some instances, using a mallet made of another material, such as wood, could damage your project. Round mallets are also handy to have around for other DIY projects in your home.
Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about round mallets, such as where they come from, the types, and why woodworkers use them so often. We’ll even tell you how to choose your own round mallet for your future woodworking projects!
What Is a Round Mallet?
A round mallet is a type of mallet, or specialized hammer. Mallets are favored in a variety of industries, woodworking chief among them. Outside of woodworking, fields like carpentry and upholstery work rely on mallets all the time. So do those in food, as meat mallets are used to flatten and tenderize meat until it’s juicy and ready to cook.
Of course, the type of mallet you’d use for woodworking is very different than a meat mallet. In woodworking, you have your pick of mallet material choices, but the two most common ones are wood and rubber.
A round mallet has a handle, often made of wood, and a rounded head, which is again typically wooden. This mallet is also sometimes referred to as a carver’s mallet because rounded mallets have a reliably round head. This ensures that the axis of rotation of the handle and the head of the mallet are aligned. The specific shape of the mallet can vary, and it may include a conical frustrum or a cylinder.
Beetle mallets have rounded edges and circular heads made of plastic or wood, making this another type of round mallet. The average diameter of a beetle mallet is 15 to 18 inches, and the handles have an average length of three feet. The cool thing about beetle mallets is they’re quite versatile.
For instance, you can use a beetle mallet when framing timber, specifically to drive pegs, place joints where they need to go, or to adjust wooden post bases. Paviours also favor beetle mallets for bedding paving stones. The Viking-style appearance of beetle mallets is another point worth talking about. They’re not only handy, but they look very cool too!
Why Do Woodworkers Use Round Mallets?
You understand a bit more about round mallets, but you still have some questions. Namely, what makes these mallets so great in the first place, especially among woodworkers?
Allow us to elaborate on the points in the intro to explain why round mallets are a beloved addition to a woodworker’s arsenal of tools.
They’re Easy for Beginners
You’re not expecting miracles with your first woodworking project, but you would at least like to exercise the creative muscles that you’ll use all the time in the future. Having the wrong tools can make you feel like woodworking isn’t a hobby you’re most adept at. The same is true of having the right tool but using it the wrong way.
Fortunately, there is no wrong way to use a round mallet. Any direction you aim the mallet is the right direction, which you cannot necessarily say of other mallet types.
Having the freedom to familiarize yourself with a round mallet without using it improperly will build up your comfort in woodworking. Before you know it, you’ll expand which tools you use and develop your confidence. That’s all thanks to the humble round mallet.
Sharp surfaces on wood, such as when using other types of mallets during a woodworking project, can sometimes do more damage than you might have expected. This is one application in which a round mallet is your better bet.
Round mallets don’t leave wreckage behind because of their circular head. You can also use them more gently than you would a wooden mallet. If you need a soft blow, for instance, you’d want to reach for a mid-sized round mallet. You can also make striking blows with a bigger, heavier mallet of this type.
Besides being gentle on your woodworking projects, round mallets are gentle on you as well. That’s not to say it wouldn’t hurt if you hit yourself with a round mallet accidentally. You could certainly end up injured from such an incident. You’re not at risk of cutting into yourself like you could with a sharp-edged mallet though, which reduces injury potential.
Hold onto your round mallet for a variety of your woodworking projects, because it will come in handy all the time. If you’re trying to get precise results with a bench chisel, having a round mallet will make the job so much easier than mallets of another shape and type. You can also drive deep gouges into your woodworking projects using a round mallet.
Oh, and we have to discuss the sizes too. Yes, that’s right, unlike most mallets in your collection, round mallets don’t have one uniform size. You can get teeny-tiny round mallets for hammering those small crevices that your bulkier mallets just can’t reach. You can also get a much larger, heavier round mallet to make large, definable impressions on your woodworking project.
Tips for Choosing the Right Round Mallet for Your Woodworking Projects
You’re feeling pretty convinced that you need a round mallet. While you will likely use other mallet types at times during woodworking, there are some situations that will undoubtedly arise in which only a round mallet is the suitable solution.
If you’re shopping for a round mallet for the first time, we’ve got you covered. Here are some tips and pointers to keep in mind as you choose your ideal rubber mallet for woodworking.
Choose Your Mallet Material and Size Carefully
Many round mallets are made of wood and are typically available as one seamless piece. Depending on both the size of your mallet and the material you opt to buy, the weight will be different.
A heavier mallet will hit with more force, as we said, so it’s better to be prepared for that ahead of time rather than accidentally wreck one of your early woodworking projects. You can also take much more wood out with a big round mallet. That’s not always a bad thing, unless you want precision. You might want a few round mallets then so you can seamlessly switch from one to another as your project proceeds.
Don’t Be Afraid to Spend a Bit More Money
Just because you can get a round mallet for cheap doesn’t necessarily mean you want to. By putting forth a bit more money, you can buy a reliable mallet that could be by your side for years as you engage in woodworking project after woodworking project.
Try Before You Buy
The main reason to try a round mallet before buying it is because the mallet will feel different depending on the size and its material. We recommend trying a mallet for several minutes, even if you’re simulating all the different ways you would use it. This gives you a good idea of how fatigued your hands are.
If your hands feel cramped and sore after a few minutes, then you should keep looking for the right round mallet, as this likely isn’t it. You want a mallet that won’t induce hand fatigue after several minutes of use, and ideally even not after several hours if you can help it. The only way you can gauge hand fatigue is at a store. Save the online shopping for when you find a mallet you like and want to buy another one.
Round mallets have long been a woodworker’s friend, and for good reason. These mallets are great an assortment of jobs, and they won’t damage wood. With the information in this article, you’re now ready to buy your first round mallet. Good luck!