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KT Tools bespoke chisel mallet

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markturner

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Well, I was lucky enough last week to have the postman deliver a parcel containing one of the latest offerings from KT Tools, ( AKA Jimi43..) a Lignum Vitae mallet.
Last year I had put in my request to have one as soon as I heard he was going to be making them and now the wait was over...

As you all might expect from the immaculate craftsmanship that Jimi displays in his restorations of planes and other old tools, etc, the mallet was just a fantastic piece of work. It came in a lovely hand made leather bag, with a personalized tag with my initials, and was made of 2 woods, the head of Lignum Vitae and the handle of Scottish Elm.
The handle has been beautifully turned and fitted my hand superbly. Jimi has taken great care to line up the grain on both the handle and head, a really nice touch.. The head itself is a lovely lump of wood, it looks like it's been carved from a hunk of caramel & chocolate ice cream, with rich swirls of colour, from light brown through to almost black wood.
I just sat and held it reveling in the feeling of quality and attention to detail that only comes from truly hand made stuff from a master craftsman. The mallet was finished in the old favourite, Tru-oil, which gave a lovely tactile grip and feel, not to mention the lovely smell....


In use, it was perfectly balanced and very versatile, easy to give a good whack or just a light tap as required. In summary, just a fantastic piece of kit, gorgeous to look at and perfect to use. Place your orders now!!

Mark Turner
 

soulboy

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love the way the handle curves into the head.
chris
 

condeesteso

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I know that mallet - helped do the final polish (super-fine abrasives only) not long ago. What else are you to do when hanging around Jims chilly workshop while he fettles the Myford?
I like the elm and the combination is really nice, especially at the join.
I have one similar and use it a lot - it really packs a punch and with reasonable care the head will remain totally unmarked.
 

jimi43

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Hi Mark

Thanks for your comments....they are most appreciated. I must apologise for the delay...quite a bit going on in the winter and still having the "day job" slows things down a bit! Hopefully that will be rectified in the next few months and production can begin in earnest.......

There are a few mallets and some marking gauges :)wink: :mrgreen:) in production so if someone has put in a request for these....I will be contacting you as they get finished.

I have quite a collection of genuine lignum vitae (Guaiacum officinale) now from various sources - all ancient bowls and lead formers....as new wood is now protected by CITES Appendix II (thankfully!)....and this will be used only for the bespoke orders. Future production will probably be using Palo Santo (Bulnesia sarmienti) and other eminently suitable substitutes.

I must admit that I was extremely lucky that the grain of the handle happened to line up almost magically with that of the head, not only on one side...but swirling around on it's journey around the head....



....to return to match up on the other side! At times like this you realise why wood is such a beautiful material to work with and Mother Nature is far more adept at making raw materials than mere humans!

By the way...the shake on the right is common with real lignum vitae...they are all over the wood...but the grain is so interlocked that it doesn't affect the performance of the tool...just another interesting aspect of a fascinating and useful species of wood.

When one starts with the raw materials...(these are yours)....



There is almost a tingle of anticipation as to what will eventually emerge.

Thanks again for taking time to do the review and thanks guys for all the nice comments....and yes soulboy...I like the curve transition too!

Cheers

Jimi
 

jimi43

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mickthetree":1ekdlecs said:
for us less in the know.... what is a lead former? :)
Hi Mick

In days gone by and for bespoke restoration today...lead sheeting would be used on buildings to provide waterways of roofs....channels etc.

The lead worker would take the flat sheet and work the lead over various shapes or formers to create the required form...



(photo: Celtic Lead Work)

Lignum vitae provided the strength and resilience that was required for constant hammering.

Lead working bossing mallets were used to beat the lead into shape against these formers....and also smaller ones called dollys.

They were also popularly made from boxwood...like this beautiful little mallet (lignum vitae and box) and this boxwood dolly I picked up from a bootfair....



These are a great source of the old and now expensive and rare woods....and are relatively plentiful as virtually every roof was flashed with lead before the days of synthetic replacements.

Hope this helps....

Cheers

Jim
 

MickCheese

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All I can add to this is that I have had my mallet for a good while now probably about 6 months and used it quite a bit. I love it. :D

Don't worry about whacking things with it or damaging it, the head is indestructible. (hammer)

Several people have seen it on my bench an immediately mentioned how lovely it is but best of all it is so nice to use.

Mick
 

mickthetree

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Ah ha!! We sell those lead bashing tools at work, but I was not aware that lignum was used as a former. Another spot of knowledge learnt.

We have a huge lump of Lignum vitae at work which I've eyed up for such mallets, but its a bit out of my price range right now.
 

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