How to use a carver’s mallet?

How to use a carver’s mallet?
If you are a beginner in wood carving some tools are new for you. And in this blog we want to share with you about how to use a carver’s mallet.

How to use a carver’s mallet?

Woodcarvers also like to use a mallet even on more simple projects as it is easier to control the force you exert. If you want a stronger hit you would hold the mallet closer to the handle and produce hits from further away, and when a lighter hit is required, the mallet is held closer to the head and the hits are lighter and perhaps more frequent.

When working on more complex projects especially that involve hardwood, a mallet is crucial as it is the only way a woodcarver can produce enough force to cut through the wood while applying the required technique needed to shape the carving.
Mallet for wood carving
When relief carving, working with a hard wood, or creating other types of projects that require a mallet, you need to know how to use properly for best results:

1. Place the chisel in the area that you want to chip off or cut through. When using a chisel in a conjunction with a mallet be sure to ignore the handle and hold the chisel closer to the edge for a more precise placement.

2. When using a mallet, pay attention to the side that you hit with. It can be either of the two faces, however, you should never use the part in between them as it will both break your mallet overtime and split the wood.

3. As previously mentioned, you can control the force of the mallet by holding it in different ways. The closer your hand is to the top of the mallet the less strong every strike will be. For stronger strikes hold the mallet closer to the end of the handle.

Most of the time you will use the mallet together with a chisel, here are a few things to keep in mind that will bring you better results:

  • Hold the mallet with your dominant hand and the chisel with your non-dominant
  • Have space to place the mallet down when you want to help position the chisel with your second hand. Make sure the surface does not have a slope and that you can pick up the mallet without much effort
  • Keep your chisel sharp at all time, there are a hundred reasons why this is important and not a single one that suggests otherwise
  • You never want to use your mallet to hit anything that is harder than the material it is made of, therefore nails and such items require a hammer and not a mallet.

Overall, this everything there is to using a mallet in a nutshell. Hit it on the chisel to force it through the wood, be careful when using it, and you are going to get the hang of it very quickly.

Alternatives to a carver’s mallet

If you don’t know what is the best tool to use when you don’t have a mallet nearby then be sure to use something like a hammer, canned food, or a very heavy novel. It will get you through the works for one day, however, in the long run, you will need a mallet for wood carving.

Using other types of mallets such as a kitchen mallet or the rubber mallet will only work as well as a canned food can. It is acceptable for one time, but it will not do much good using them continuously for your tools or works.

When should you not use a mallet?

A fair disclaimer that has to be mentioned is that you should not use a mallet on paring chisels.

This tool is never struck with a mallet as the handles are tang and the edge is sharpened to 13-15º. In other words, you will break the wood and the tool if you do hit a mallet over it.

Almost all other chisels are manufactured to be used in conjunction with the mallet. Higher quality tools will also last longer and take longer to deform when you use a mallet on them.