One of my favorite English tools is the traditional infill joiner’s mallet. It has a brass head that is “infilled” with a dense wood and equipped with a nice chamfered handle.
These mallets were made in a variety of sizes and use for everything from driving chisels and carving tools to heavy-duty assembly chores. They have all the punch of a deadblow mallet without looking like a plastic clown hammer.
The bad news is that these joiner’s mallets are difficult to find in North America – I bought mine from English tool dealers. And when you do find them, they are pricey – too pricey for a working tool.
But now Glen D. Huey of the WoodworkersEdge.com has resurrected this awesome tool after years of making and testing prototypes. I’ve been testing one of those prototypes for more than a month now, and I can report that it is fantastic.
The head is 16 oz. of brass that is milled out of a solid billet (by a U.S. company, by the way). It’s a complex shape with some important details. The brass shell has a coffin shape, and this curve lets you drive tools with some delicacy. See Glen’s video that shows this in action here.
The ends of the mallet head are properly angled to match the angles on the striking surface. These angles ensure your mallet blows will be properly directed straight down when you hit the head of a tool.
The infilled wood on these mallets is quartersawn white oak, a tough wood and a very American touch. The corners of the infill are chamfered to prevent the infill from splintering when you strike a glancing blow.
The 11-3/4”-long handle on the Woodworkers Edge mallet is actually nicer than the ones on the originals. Huey gave the handle a nice silhouette and added stop-chamfers so the corners don’t bite into your hand. The handle is available in maple, cherry, walnut or a custom wood for a slight upcharge.
In other words, he got all the details right.
Though Glen is known mainly as a custom furniture-maker, author and teacher, he has long been interested in making tools such as this mallet and (I hope someday) a nice folding rule.
In the interests of full disclosure: I’ve known Glen for a long time and worked with him for many years at Popular Woodworking Magazine. I also think the world of his work, and I know you will too once you see this mallet and put it to use. Glen loaned me this prototype to test, but he ain’t getting it back. Instead, I’m sending him a check.
The mallets are available for $185 for one of the stock woods from Glen’s store. Click here to check them out. Highly, highly recommended.
— Christopher Schwarz