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Im almost at the goal (sp)line…

I walked into the shop today with a lot on my plate, but I got right to work. The first thing I did besides push the car out of the shop and fire up my portable heater was to get cracking on the spline jig that I discussed in a previous post.

This jig was super easy and only took me about 30 min to put together from scrap 3/4″ plywood laying around the shop.

I addes the extra brace to make sure that the jig stayed pefrectly at 45 degreess.

With the jig finished, it was time to lay out the locations for the splines. But before I did this, I wanted to cut the first of the 2 angles off of the faces. A piece of scrap to prevent tear out, some double sided tape and my mitre gauge was all that I needed to get this done.

Piece of cake!

With the top cut, I was able to mark out the locations for the splines and quickly make the cuts. 

With time running out in the day I was only able to finish half of the glue up on the splines. 

All in all it was a very productive day in the shop, but I needed to do one more thing before I shut the lights off for the day. I had to flush-cut those splines to give myself a little teaser as to what this thing will look like!

Next up:

1) Finish splines

2) Cut the steep angle off of each face (this will probably have to be cut with a hand saw due to the severity of the angle)

3) Shape the handle


Positive outlook

I went into the shop today having some mistakes to fix. This didnt bother me because I had a solid plan to fix them and a positive outlook of the end result.

I used 2 blades and 1 chipper from my stack dado to take out 3/8′ from each mitre. I tilted my table saw to 45 degrees and moved my fence to the left side of the blade.

I cut out each mitre, making sure that the blades just made contact with the center walnut post. There is tons of tear tear out here but im not concerned about that because that will all be cut away soon.

I then ran some walnut through my thickness planer. I was able to get the splines super tight by checking the fit after each pass through the planer. I completed the glue up and then flush cut the splines with the faces of the mallet.

So I am very happy with the result and excited to move forward with this project.

Next up:

1) Spline cutting jig

2) Splines

3) Cut the angles on the faces

4) Shape the handle

5) Smack the crap out of chisels

Anything BUT perfect!

So I completed the glue up of the mallet using west systems brand epoxy to make sure that any gaps would be stabilized by the epoxy.  The only problem was that somewhere along the line during the marking and cutting stages I messed up….


The mitres are anything but perfect. This is a picture I took last night of the top of my mallet after I cleaned it up a little with my hand plane. The mitres are not tight like I planned. There are gaps. And gaps to woodworkers are just not acceptable, AT ALL!! So I needed to put on my thinking cap and my hour and a half commute down I-95 this morning was the perfect time to work out a solution.
I decided that to fill the gaps I would cut them out! My plan is to tilt my table saw to 45 degrees and cut a kerf (blade width) the length of each of the 4 mitres and then insert walnut splines. This should hide my mistake and add an extra visual aspect.
So the next time I’m in the shop I will clean up the remaining 2 sides of the mallet with my hand plane and then see what I can do about hiding those little imperfections.

Warning: this is not a blog showing perfection , this is a blog showing my pursuit of perfection. You will see all of my mistakes and victories along the way.

Skill building mallet

So I recently decided that I wanted to design and create a mallet to use with my new set of Bacho chisels. Trying to push my abilities as much as humanly possible,  I came up with this design that would incorporate a number of basic and highly skilled techniques that I feel necessary to master as a wood worker.



Proper marking and measuring is the foundation for preparing for the stopped, sliding dovetails, and tight fitting mitres.


I used a blade to mark all the lines instead of using a pencil. This is my first time not using a pencil and let me just say, doing this removed so much of the guessing that is involved with making cuts (should I cut up to the pencil line or should I cut it off?)


I used my router table and a standard dovetail bit to first cut the 4 pins on the walnut handle.


I then routed the pin sockets into the 4 maple blocks making sure that each socket paired with a specific pin on the walnut to insure a snug fit.


So I have everything cut and awaiting assembly!

Next thing to do is build a spline cutting jig for my table saw so that I can reinforce the mitres.


Coming together


Almost finished!