Wooden mallets were ubiquitous amongst the tools of medieval cabinetmakers.  These tools are easily made from scrap wood, customizable, and (unlike iron or steel hammers) do not damage the objects which they are used to strike. As a tool, mallets are force-multipliers: increasing the human arm’s ability to drive trenails and dowels, coerce joints to close (or open), and force a chisel through knotty wood.

Mallets are wielded one-handed, unlike mauls, and can be constructed from a single piece of wood “turned” on a lathe (see Lathe) or with a head separate from the haft. If the latter, the haft passes through a hole bored through the head and held in place either with a wedge or by the haft being wider than the hole at its upper end.

Johann Krauß (d. 1669) wielding a lathe-turned mallet to strike a chisel. Nurnberg hausbuch, Mendel II, folio 156 recto.
10th c. mallet, Coppergate deposit, York. Image from “Wood and Woodworking in Anglo-Scandinavian and Medieval York”, by C. A. Morris.

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