Fair Woodworking

November 20, 2016

The Right Hand Of Truth

For some people it’s Mongo, others Lumpy. Many would say Maul, or Sledge or even Mini Sledge, but really, I’ve always know it as “The Right Hand Of Truth”.

img_33491

Not in public per say, but on a one on one level, I have to admit, this little guy doles out truth with every blow.

It was one of the very first tools I decided I needed, and chose all on my own when I first started in construction. Being the new guy, I was the first to be volunteered to do whatever needed to be done in an awkward, small or confined space, and those of you who know me will know that there are not many small spaces that I would fit easily into. So especially when it comes to demolition in a small space, this little sledge made the best out of a bad situation.

Come to think of it, there could be an argument for this being my most used hand tool that I still own, and there are very few that date that far back that have not fallen out of favor

The thing is, only until recently, I have looked at it as a second class hand tool. One that should only live in the garage, or if ever in my shop, safely stowed away in a metal tool box so as to not offend any of my good, real, WOODWORKING hand tools.

But then the usual kerfuffle from the usual people start throwing around big claims that Mongo is perfectly at home on a decent woodworkers bench!

OH THE HUMANITY! OH THE DAMAGE IT WILL DO TO THE BENCH THE CHISEL HANDLES THE HOLDFASTS (that hold the historically inaccurate notched batons).

WHAT WILL PEOPLE SAY?!!?

And as usual, the nay-sayers were challenged to try it on their un-toothed benches, and on their chisels, but obviously not on their hand planes so carefully placed on their sides so the blades would not be damaged by the work bench…

But for the most part, the nay-sayers could not hear them over their own saying of nay.

I however, fool that I am, yet again chose the road less traveled. You know the one, where you look at an idea, and figure you may as well give it a try, even if it’s just to prove one side or the other wrong?

I love telling people they are wrong. I don’t need to be right, but I love it when others are wrong!

Anyways, I tested the water with my hold fasts.

img_20151021_144057-copy

I’d been using my deadblow mallet to set and release my holdfasts since I got them, but I was an instant convert to old Lumpy over there. It just has so much mass behind it that you really don’t have to hit it hardly at all, and the hold fast is set. To release it took no wind up to knock it loose, and that was a big win when the hold fast is at the back of the bench and very near the wall. My dead blow was useless in that case, but not for lill’ old Maul’er.

The problem I did run into was that this little guy had seen a pretty hard life. If I was smart I would have taken a picture of how pitted and scarred its faces were.

img_33481

Surgery took the better part of a day starting with a drum sander attachment on the rotary tool. Then to careful work with my 1000, 4000, 8000 norton stones, and then finally green honing compound on a felt wheel to bring it to a nice shine.

At that point and only at that point was I ready to try whacking a chisel with it.

And that’s where it really, really clicked for me.

Chisel whacking is what you do when there is not enough mass behind the strike, and that is why you should never use a regular hammer on your chisels. For a hammer to really make the chisel move, it has to compensate for its lack of mass with speed, where as a sledge only just has to be moving to provide the same force. A light tap tap, is almost overpowering and took a little time to get used to, but man! It’s pretty impressive. I’m going to keep using it for a while just to see if I keep liking it, and also I’ve noticed that there are not a lot of entry level chisel mallets to recommend to new woodworkers on a tight budget. Perhaps the Right Hand of Truth could be the perfect affordable option..?

So then today I’m making some dowels for drawboaring, and I remember how the last time a lot of them split and were ruined by my carpentry hammer…

img_33511

Yet again, the slow moving mass made this a painless endeavor.

But don’t take my word for it.

Try it for yourself.

Side note…

Hey, check it out! Fairwoodworking turns freekin’ 5 tomorrow!

Really? Five? Still seems pretty immature to me…

Advertisements

5 Comments

  1. I often imagine myself as Thor (minus the long flowing hair) swinging Mjölnir when I use my much less refined 2lb cross pein lump hammer to strike my much less refined chisels, its amazing the power it gives you.
    I like what you’ve done to bring a lowly lump hammer to the cocobolo big-kids table. I also like that you resisted the urge to polish the whole thing, remember your roots and all.

    Comment by Jeremy — November 22, 2016 @ 9:56 am

    • I chose to avoid the Thor comparisons as I’m far too good looking and really this was all about the hammer. I get enough days in the sun.

      Comment by fairwoodworking — November 22, 2016 @ 4:01 pm

  2. If you haven’t seen it, you might like Richard Maguire ‘s video:
    http://www.theenglishwoodworker.com/mallet-rant-video/
    Sylvain

    Comment by Sylvain — November 28, 2016 @ 3:51 am

    • Hey Sylvain, I just found your comment in my spam file. Ya, you’ve nailed right where this all came up from. Richard is one of the “usual people” I mentioned in the post that tend to blow the minds of us simple folk.
      Thanks for your comment!

      Comment by fairwoodworking — December 9, 2016 @ 8:48 pm

  3. […] You need a mallet. NOT a carvers mallet, and NOT a hammer. I like a larger mallet, or even better, a mini sledge. […]

    Pingback by 5 Dovetail Techniques and Tools You Don’t Really Need.  | Fair Woodworking — January 26, 2017 @ 10:28 pm


RSS feed for comments on this post.

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: