I have been noticing a branch of wood inside the car port where I live. I believe it has been sitting there for quite sometime, probably removed from a tree on the complex by one of the landscape guys that occasionally work here. Anyway, one day after returning from a grocery trip I decided to take it in and maybe make something with it. I took my whittling knife and began to remove bark and see what the characteristics of the wood was like. It was hard, close grained and moderately heavy. As I started to round a piece of it, I decided to make a small “tapping mallet” from it. I’m not sure if tapping mallet is the right term but I planned on using it to tap to adjust plane irons and small adjustments on other tools/projects. It was carved by eye, no measurements used. I figured I would even include crooked lines and the knife marks. Actually it feels nice in my hand with the texture left behind with the knife marks. It weighs 3 oz. in total and 9-1/2″ long and the head is 3″ x 1-1/2″. It’s these little things that keep me happy.
What looks like a check or split on the head face and side is actually a color stripe in the wood. Luckily none of the wood split at all. It must have been sitting under the car port roof for a long time and has stabilized. Seems nice and dry when I was cutting the wood.
Here are two pieces of the branch that I worked with. I am not sure what kind of wood it is, at first I thought maple but I am not sure. I have carved maple in the past and this wood performed similarly. If any of you out there know what it is please let me know, that way I can call it a ‘_______________’ tapping mallet.
BTW, here is the knife I used to whittle the mallet. It is fashioned from a No. 17 Dexter Clam Knife (USA) which is used to open clam shells. The blade is stainless, handle is a hardwood. My father-in-law, who used to own a store selling fish produce, gave me this knife (actually two of them) about 15 years ago but I never used it as a clam knife. I ground down the blade to a sharp point and double beveled and sharpened the cutting edge. It is my go to knife for rough (and even final) whittling of wood. It holds a razor sharp edge and has just a tiny bit of flex which is perfect for me. Believe it or not you can still get the same exact knife as I have here. With the cost of whittling/carving knives, this knife is a real bargain.