Mallet, Part II–Hop Hornbeam Carver’s Mallet

Bring on the Bowl Blanks

I am headed toward the bowl carving stage of my giant kitchen tool making project, and decided I needed a really good carving mallet. There, in my log pile, were four logs of hop hornbeam, from a tree that died on our property. It’s one of the hardest, strongest, and heaviest domestic hardwoods, and the price was right. I rounded off a blank with a broad hatchet, and commenced to turning one.

I got the following info from I’ll quote: “Overall, a difficult wood to work. Hophornbeam has high cutting resistance, (which also means that the finished wood product has good wear resistance).” The strength is off the charts as well: “Modulus of Rupture: 14,100 lbf/in2 (97.2 MPa).” That’s a tough cookie, perfect for whacking away at carving tools.

It took awhile to make on my foot-powered lathe, but I used a simple carnauba wax finish to shine it up some; compare these two finishes.

What a Difference a Finish makes

The bottom two pieces of wood are from the same log. The gouge handle is coated with linseed oil, and turned that light brown. The mallet just has a wax finish. Now it’s time to get back to work.

Author: southernfusionfood

Writer, Woodworker, and Happy Eater

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