I haven’t been in my shop since last week, but I have a good excuse — I was working on a particularly nasty “Honey Do.” It’s one of those jobs that I’ve been putting off because I knew it was going to take a lot of work and I wasn’t exactly looking forward to it. As you can see, I’ve been removing old moldy grout and caulk (lots of caulk!) in our downstairs shower.
I spent the better part of the weekend in a cramped 36″x36″ space, with very little light, working on my hands and knees. And for anyone that knows me, I filled up most of that space…and I can’t see very well as it is…and I’ve got bad knees! So I’m not a happy camper. But my wife is, and that’s what counts.
I did get back in the shop last evening though and I started working on a simple project that I’ve had laying around in a box for three or four years. (Are you seeing a pattern here?) When our company moved its warehouse into the new space at the Woodsmith Store, they held a sale of older or slow-moving merchandise. I’m a sucker for sales and so I took home a couple of boxes full of mis-matched hardware, parts for jigs, and even several parts for a joiner’s mallet that used to be sold at the store as a ready-to-assemble hand tool kit. (Note: the mallet was originally published as a project in ShopNotes No. 2: Joiner’s Mallet.) I think I ended up with enough parts to make a half dozen mallets and my intent was to assemble them all, then sell them at a garage sale.
Anyway, they’re easy to build since the parts are already pre-cut. The mallet is made up of two core pieces, two sides, a handle and some wedges to hold the handle in place. The first step was to glue the core pieces to one of the sides. The core pieces have pockets drilled into them for some lead weights. According to the instructions, you should add epoxy to keep the lead shot from rattling. I don’t see much need for it, and besides it’s messy!
After filling the pockets with lead, I glued on the other side piece. At first I used a couple of quick clamps. They’re easy to use, but they only apply pressure in one spot. I noticed that there were some gaps in the laminated pieces, so I switched to a couple of screw clamps. This puts even pressure all along the glue joint.
Finally, I used a micro-rasp to shape the handle. As you can see in the picture, I used another screw clamp to hold the handle while I shaped it. If you don’t own a few of these old-fashioned clamps, I highly recommend getting some. They come in handy in a lot of ways around the shop.
Well, this was a nice hour in the shop and much better than working on the shower stall. I’ll finish the mallet tomorrow or Friday. I guess I’ll have to finish my Honey-do list over the weekend!