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How to Use a Wood Carving Mallet | Wood Carving Basics Tutorial with Schaaf Tools and Randall Stoner

In this beginner tutorial video, Randall Stoner, aka Madcarver, teaches the basics of using a carver's mallet with your wood carving chisels. 

Every woodcarver needs a mallet! It can be used for power, to remove large swaths of wood. And it can be used for detail, to make more precise cuts.

If you're a beginner looking for a good carver's mallet, we recommend looking for something with a urethane head that transfers the power into the chisel or gouge, not your hand. We like a urethane head because it reduces noise, and reduces any mushrooming on the end of your wooden tool handles.

Keep in mind the weight  of your mallet. 12oz allows beginners to carve without tiring. 

Even when carving softer woods that you can usually carve using just hand and arm strength, it makes sense to use a mallet. Aside from reducing fatigue, wood can vary in density, and when you’re using hand and arm strength to power through a dense part, you can lose control if you encounter a less dense or softer spot. With a mallet, you can gauge how far the tool will move based on how hard you hit it, regardless of the density of the wood.

Hope you enjoy this Beginner Tutorial on How to Use Your Woodcarving Mallet!


Video Notes

What is a Wood Carver's mallet?
Timestamp [00:14]
  • A hammering tool used with your carving chisels and gouges that has a striking head that is softer than steel (the Schaaf Tools mallet in this video has a urethane-coated head)
  • The softer striking surface is so that:
    • You don't want your mallet to rebound off of your chisel when you hit it
    • You don't want to damage your chisel handle when you hit it

Why is a Carver's Mallet shaped like it is, and not like a hammer?

  • It's shape makes the mallet more versatile
  • The shape of the head allows the wood carver to turn it while carving and use all 360 degrees of it's striking surface
How to hold a mallet for woodcarving beginner tutorial schaaf tools
Holding your mallet
Timestamp [1:40]
  • Where should you hold your mallet on the handle?
  • It depends on what you're using it for
    • The higher you hold the mallet up on the handle (with your hand closer to the head) the more control you'll have
    • The closer to the bottom of the handle you hold your mallet, the more force you'll have
  • Usually, Randy hold's his mallet somewhere in the middle

 how to use a wood carving mallet beginner tutorial

The Wood Carving Mallet In Use
Timestamp [2:24]
  • Randy uses 5-20mm gouge and Schaaf Tools Mallet to remove large areas of wood
  • Use something to hold the piece of wood in place on your work bench


How to Hold Your Chisel When Working with a Mallet
Timestamp [4:10]

  • Hold the chisel in your non-dominant hand with a firm grip
  • Hold the mallet in your dominant hand and aim for the back of your chisel with your mallet 
Cutting against the grain
Timestamp [4:32]
  • Removing a lot of wood that is against the grain can be difficult by hand
  • Using a mallet to remove that wood can take a lot of strain off your hands

you can even hold a carver's mallet with just your wrist or your fingers

A Few Ways to Hold and Use your Mallet
Timestamp [6:50]

  • Use your forearm to generate force moving from the elbow
  • Just using your wrist 
  • Just using your fingers
Using Mallets for Detail Work and Precision Blows
Timestamp [8:09]
  • learn how to move your gouge slowly and precisely along a given area with your mallet
  • Eventually you'll be able to just concentrate on the blade of the tool, and won't have to look at the chisel handle or the mallet striking head


 precision woodcarver's mallet from schaaf wood carving tools

Looking for a wood carving mallet to add to you collection? Schaaf Tools has an excellent, 12oz carvers mallet. Head over to our site for all the specs:

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