Types Of Mallets -You Only Need One To Start Woodworking!

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When starting to learn woodworking, a woodworking mallet is one of the first tools you’ll need as they are an essential item in any woodworking toolbox. Although you can get by with a standard woodworking mallet, there are many different types of woodworking mallets. Although mallets are used in many industries, our list is exclusively for working on wood.


Standard Woodworking Mallet. Image Credit: Smabs Sputzer

Different Types Of Woodworking Mallets

A woodworking mallet may be bought or handmade. Whatever the source of a woodworking mallet is, the main idea is to understand the purpose of each one:

Wood Joiner’s Mallet

Crown 4-1/2-inch Beechwood Mallet
Crown Wood Joiner’s Mallet

We can use a wood joiner’s mallet to strike chisels. It is to avoid damaging the wooden chisel handles. However, you can also use a wood joiner’s mallet to knock together parts of a project. For example, striking the two pieces of wood of a dovetail joint. There is a variety of such mallets available on the market. However, a common complaint by those who look for them is that they are not up to the mark.

Hence, if you cannot find a suitable one from the market, you can make your own wood joiner’s mallet. As a woodworker, this job should pose as a satisfying challenge. After all, this mallet only consists of two components, the handle, and the head. While the handle can be made of sturdy wood like hickory, the head can be of hardwood like maple or oak.

Wood Carving Mallet

ROBERT LARSON 170-1012 Wood Is Good 12 oz. Mallet
Robert Larson Wood Carving Mallet

The wood carving mallet is an excellent mallet to use for striking chisels as well. It can be made of a single piece of wood or a block of wood attached to a handle. You can also make a wood carving mallet, but you might need to shape the head on a wood lathe. Wood carving involves using a variety of chisels of different shapes and sizes. Accordingly, you can get different sizes of wood carving mallets to suit the type of chisel that you are going to strike.

A wood carving mallet may be all wood. However, you also get mallet heads of different materials like brass and urethane. Some sculptors prefer urethane mallets for two reasons. The first reason is that they are silent. Secondly, the urethane absorbs the shock of the blow, reducing the stress on the wrist as the sculptor works.

Dead Blow Mallet

Neiko 02847A 2 LB Dead Blow Hammer, Neon Orange I Unibody Molded | Checkered Grip | Spark and Rebound Resistant
Neiko Dead Blow Mallet

Sometimes, you need a mallet that doesn’t rebound on the impact the way wooden mallets do. Rubber mallets, especially tend to bounce back – this is the flip side of trying not to damage your workpiece. A dead blow mallet has a massive head and delivers a sharp, forceful blow, packed with energy.

The objective of using a dead blow mallet is to make a hard impact when you need to put all your energy into the swing. Some dead blow hammers have a filling of sand or ball bearings to provide additional momentum.

However, it would help if you took a few precautions while using a dead blow hammer. One precaution to take is to make sure that no one is standing in the trajectory of your swing. Another thing to take care of is to ensure that you use a piece of wood at the point of impact to avoid marking the workpiece.

Log Riving Mallet

UJ Ramelson Rock Maple Mallet
Log Riving Mallet

We call this type of mallet a froe mallet as well. A log-riving mallet helps us to rive (split) lumber from green logs. This type of mallet is made of a solid log of wood, and you can either buy it or make it. Riving mallets come at quite a high price. The concept of using a riving mallet is to process wood from the lumber itself.

You start with a big log and split it into halves and quarters using splitting tools and the log-riving mallet. By working on wood this way, you can be sure of the quality of the wood upon which you work. You will also be aware of the exact species of wood that you have chosen for your project. That way, you end up using the exact type and grade of wood required for a particular application.

Nylon Mallet

10 oz 2-in-1 Rubber & Nylon Mallet - Steel Handle Non-Slip Grip - Jewelry, Leather-Craft, Woodworking - Interchangeable Heads
Nylon Mallet

When you need a small but effective mallet for striking accurately on small parts, a nylon mallet will serve you well. A nylon mallet typically has three parts. The mallet head is usually metallic and has two threaded ends. Nylon knobs are screwed into the threaded ends of the heads. A wooden handle goes through the metallic mallet head. You will find this type of mallet useful for tapping small objects into place, for example, while adjusting the blades of a hand plane. Some mallets have a head where one end is nylon, and the other is brass. It makes the mallet more versatile.


Now you know how many different types of woodworking mallets you can use on the job. We have also touched upon how we can use each type. These tools will form the backbone of your woodworking setup. Some people feel that woodworking mallets are clumsy and unwieldy. But the same people also admit that these tools have their purpose and are indispensable for certain woodworking operations.

Woodworking operations are so diverse that they don’t restrict themselves only to the shop floor. Hence, an equally diverse collection of mallets exists. Knowing about the different varieties of woodworking mallets that you can get and how to use them is the key to good woodworking.

We hope that you have benefitted from reading this article and that you now have a better understanding of woodworking mallets and their uses. Now, armed with this information, you should be able to get the best out of your wood projects and prove your worth as a competent woodworker, using woodworking mallets.

Featured Image by Damien Pollet