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How to Choose the Best Wood Carving Mallet


How to Choose the Best Wood Carving Mallet

When using chisels and gouges, the mallet you choose is a critical part of getting the cuts you want. The right mallet will apply enough force to help you keep your arm from getting overly tired while also allowing you to maintain control with your cuts. Learning how to choose the best wood carving mallet for the job is pretty simple once you become familiar with the different types of mallets and how each is made.

Types of Wood Carving Mallets

There are several different types of wood carving mallets, each with its own design and use. Some are made to pack a punch, while others are for getting into tight spaces. The most important thing to note is that you must have a mallet for woodworking. Once you find one you love, you’ll wonder how you ever made do without it.

Carver’s Mallet

A carver’s mallet has a cylindrical head and is sometimes made from a single piece of wood. It is great for hitting chisels and gouges to create details in your wood carving. Carver’s mallets come in a variety of sizes, depending on the amount of force you are looking for. The best wood carving mallet has a comfortable handle for easy use and a urethane head that directs the force into the chisel or gouge and not into your hand. This material will also help you to avoid damaging the wooden handles of your chisels and gouges.

Joiner’s Mallet

wooden mallet

A joiner’s mallet is made from hard wood and has two pieces, the head and the handle, that join together so one or the other can be replaced as needed. Its head is typically large, with angled, flat sides. A joiner’s mallet is used when you really need some power to hit your chisel.

Journeyman’s Mallet

A journeyman’s mallet is quite small and typically has a brass head. It is great for getting into smaller spaces where you need extra power, but also need to be precise. 

Rubber Mallet

Rubber Mallet for Wood Carving

A rubber mallet is a tool many people already have in their garage, and it will work in a pinch. Its rubber head won’t damage the handles of chisels and gouges, but it doesn’t have the same power as other types of mallets that are designed for woodworking.

Dead Blow Mallet

This type of mallet is not used to hit other tools like chisels and gouges. It is typically used to tap pieces together during an assembly project. Its T-shaped head has two soft, plastic ends, perfect for adding a little extra oomph without damaging the materials. The ends are filled with metal pellets to give it more weight and help absorb energy so it doesn’t bounce.

How to Choose the Best Wood Carving Mallet

Having an understanding of what the different styles of mallets are used for is just the beginning. The next step is knowing what to look for when choosing the best wood carving mallet for the task at hand.


What size or weight do you need for the project? Typically, dense and heavy is best, as it reduces arm fatigue. However, you may desire a variety of sizes for a range of projects. 


You’ll also want to look at the materials the mallet is made from. Choose something that is designed to deliver a blow without denting, chipping, or losing a handle. 


A comfortable handle is another important characteristic. Your hands are your most important tool, and there is no reason to put unnecessary strain or friction on them. Find a wood carving mallet with a good, comfortable grip, especially if you’ll be using it often.

Schaaf Tools

Schaaf Tools 12oz Wood Carving Mallet

Check out Schaaf Tools for the best wood carving mallets, beginner tool sets, and everything else you need to become a master woodcarver. Our Beginner Wood Carving ebook will help you learn about your tools and give you tips and tricks for creating a variety of beautiful carvings. With the right mallet and a little help from Schaaf Tools, you’ll be an expert in no time.

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