Distractions come thick and fast, half term has been and gone but not without some progress being made.

Washboards fitted
Unsightly holes left by the door hinges
Fillets of teak glued in.
Planed and sanded flush.
Screw holes filled with teak grain plugs
Screw holes filled with teak grain plugs

Regular readers (oh alright who am I kidding, reader), may remember this picture from a previous post.

Lost its head
the sad demise of the first tool I ever made…. back in 1981

I broke my old mallet a while ago and to split a piece of Oak to make a the head of a replacement it I needed a…. well a mallet…..with what shall I hit it dear Liza dear Liza? Luckily as a man who firmly believes you can’t have too many tools, I have another rather cumbersome mallet that is great for hitting things really hard but a bit weighty and awkward for lighter tasks.

An off cut from the Oak Barn, split with mallet and hatchet

Next step make the lump square, then octagonal. At this stage it reminded me of a croquet mallet and I decided to leave it that shape.

Roughing the lump of oak into an octagon

There is a limit to how much time I want to spend planing a knotty bit of oak so a quick trip to father’s workshop saw it sawn to a more even shape and sanded on the disc sander. Next a handle; an old broken spade handle provided the raw material and after a lot of work with the spokeshave I had a lovely ash handle. It’s actually very therapeutic with a sharp blade and clear idea of the shape you want, repetitive but really satisfying.

Hole drilled and handle roughed out.

A small saw cut in the end of the handle and an oak wedge to fix it in place, more spoke shaving and hefting it to feel how it handled, (pun!) and job done.

Handle and Head united

The spokeshave on the right has a rounded sole, it’s fiddly to get the blade just right with only very crude adjustment but once it is set up it’s a great little tool.

A lick of tung oil, (another one!) and here’s the finished article.

New Mallet

My children will bear testament as to how strangely excited and proud I am of this simple tool, some people might think 4 or 5 hours making something you can buy at your local DIY merchant for £6 is a foolish way to spend your time, but I’m not so sure. I spend my days designing studio sets for television, these transient structures only function is to look good, it really doesn’t matter how it is made, or what it’s made of, as long as it looks ok on camera and lasts a season. Getting from drawing board (Mac) to workshop, to studio, is a long, drawn out, torturous process of budget constraints, high level sign off, massaging senior egos and compromising the concept. By contrast the only design that went into this was subliminal, the materials are reused, there is no budget and its form is almost entirely dictated by its function. So I think this probably is a worthwhile use of my time and hopefully this one will last as long as its predecessor (33 years)


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