I'd call that "teeny"
Little Lead Mallet
© Frank Ford, 2006; Photos by FF
One of the guys in our shop asked me "If you're so worried about hitting and scarring a fret with even a small brass hammer, why not use a tiny lead mallet?" I said something like, "They don't make 'em small enough." Then I got to thinking. Maybe THEY don't, but how hard could it be?
I grabbed a small piece of 1/2" thick aluminum from my scrap drawer, flattened one face, cut it in half, clamped it together, and trued up the edges with a fly cutter:
Then I drilled a hole right in the middle between the two halves. I figured 9/16" would give me just about the right size mallet head:
Then I cross drilled about halfway down my hole:
The idea was to cast a 1/4-20 socket head cap screw to attach the mallet head to the handle:
In order to make sure the head stays firmly on the head, I grind off the black oxide and tin the perimeter of the screw head with acid core solder.
Then, with my simple mold clamped shut, I fill the cavity with hot lead:
Oops, not hot enough:
The combination of the cool aluminum and tight clearance around the screw
head caused the lead to solidify a bit early so I preheated the aluminum for
the next trial:
Got it this time:
I made up a bunch of heads, and settled on a slightly shorter screw, so when
I pour the lead, it runs out the threads a bit:
I just unwind the thread of lead, clean up the ends and I'm good to go.
My mallet handle is a piece of aluminum I turned down in steps to lighten it near the head end:
One thing I've learned about making little hammers is to keep the handle as light as possible for the best balance and "feel."
Here's the completed mallet. When the head gets wiped out I can just screw on another one:
And after I bang up all of the heads, I'll just remelt and pour 'em again.
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