What is a dead-blow mallet?
My dovetail jig manual suggests using a dead-blow mallet on tight joints. What is it, and why should I buy one?
—Lonnie Marks, Springfield, Ore.
Lonnie, a deadblow mallet is a specialized hammer that delivers a solid, controlled blow. Steel shot within its hollow head moves forward immediately behind the hammer blow to eliminate any rebound and transmit additional force. This makes it perfect for delivering controlled strikes. The large head spreads the force across a wide area making it the tool of choice for joints with delicate parts. And because you can deliver more force in a shorter swing, they're great in tight spaces. Many deadblow mallets feature plastic faces or a urethane coating to prevent marring wood.
If you'd rather build than buy one, you can find plans for a wooden deadblow mallet in the October 2005 issue of WOOD® magazine or for purchase at woodstore.net.