Sunday 2 May 2021

52 Weeks Of Carving - Week 17 - Carving Mallet & Celtic Weave

This week I did try to start to carve an Aztec style face in some poplar and struggled with my carpenters mallet a bit. I decided it was time to make a smaller, turned, carvers mallet.

I have some branches of pear and know this is a good wood for mallets so set about with the froe making it a close enough size to mount on the lathe. As the wood is green it turned easy. 

As I haven't done much on the lathe lately I snatched the wood when using the skew chisel and fetched it off the centres before I'd had chance to finish it. 

In all honesty what I'm going to do is use it for a bit as it is, turn another one tomorrow (I have plenty of this wood) and then season that one properly. This one can be used for a while then discarded when the other is ready. I'm annoyed at myself for such a simple mistake! 

I decided to try out the mallet with a simple and quick Celtic Weave. 

 I printed off an outline and stuck it to the off cut of tulip I've been using to practice on. This piece isn't my tidiest work, but took me 12 minutes to do, so ideal as a practice piece and something I might try to do a few times to get faster at and to try to carve cleaner. It would be ideal to decorate some of my seed boxes I make to sell, or on the side of a tool box. 

So a good craft week - good to get back on the lathe, something I need to do more, and good to practice smaller bits in between projects. 


  1. Saw the last pic and thought, "wow, that tulip wood looks like poplar." Did an internet search and discovered that they're two different names for the same lumber. Thanks for the confirmation that the fall offs I collected from my last job are good for carving. If it's super dry, will it peel/chip? I'm super new to carving, most of what I've done is on bloodwood, which while pretty mangles real easily.

    1. It's funny I've been told off for calling it either - I call it tulip to the customers and I suppose technically that's the right term as there are many varieties of popular out there.
      It's carves okay and it's what I often use for practice as I normally have offcuts kicking around (I used it on work that is normally to be painted like the little unit I made in my last post).
      If you go back and see the post where I carved the legs for my workbench that is also poplar. And the sides for the toolbox I carved. Just make sure your tools are super sharp otherwise its hard to keep the carving "clean" without wispy bits.

  2. Tulipifera - it has a lot of common names. I've a palm mallet that was turned out of an old bowl (as in ball for playing bowls). It is possibly lignum vitae which must have been the ultimate challenge to turn, but its a marvellous little mallet.

    1. Yeah I've always been told to look out for old bowls to turn things from. Think this pear should be fine. Especially if I can turn a better one the second time, leaving the centre marks in to touch it up once its seasoned a bit.
      Worst ove turned so far was purple heart, toon the edge straight off my tools!


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