Why Are Wood Carving Mallets Round?

When shopping around for wood carving mallets, you will notice that a lot of them are round instead of the traditional square or flat faced mallets. But why exactly are carving mallets round to begin with?

Wood carving mallets are round to increase the amount of surface area you can use to strike the chisel so you can focus more on your work. This allows you to not have to worry about where the flat surface is on your mallet and help you make harder to make cuts requiring more finesse.

Not only that, carvers mallets are typically lighter than the square bench mallets, so you don’t accidentally apply too much force and cut too deep. The combination of the lighter weight and the lack of corners on the mallet also help increase control and reduce the chance of striking your hand.

Another aspect that helps increase control of a carvers mallet is that they are more balanced and the weight is easily controlled. All the weight isn’t in the head of the mallet, like that of a traditional bench mallet, but also in the handle.

Finally, one of the things that some wood carvers like about round mallets are that they are easy to make! If you have access to a wood lathe, you can easily carve your own mallet in just a few minutes!

Square Bench Mallets

Round mallets are typically the preferred option for most wood carvers, but sometimes you need a little more force behind the chisel to make deeper cuts. This is where the square shaped bench mallets become the better choice.

The more iconic bench mallets have a square shaped head where most of the weight is stored. These types of mallets are primarily used for driving chisels into stubborn wood with ease, joinery, chopping mortises, or most other furniture or large wood working projects.

Bench mallets are usually what people associate with a woodworking mallet and are what many people use for larger projects to chop or to force joints together.

The handles are typically an oval shaped or flatter on the longer sides to help the user know what direction the striking face is facing, similar to a hammer.

Square Mallets vs Round Mallets

If you are trying to consider what type of mallet you should get for your next wood working project, there are a few questions you should ask yourself to narrow the choice down.

Will you be carving small details into wood?X
Will you be chopping large sections out of the wood?X
Will you be carving odd angles into the wood?X
Will you be removing large sections of wood?X
Will you be making lots of small, repeated hits with the Mallet?X
Will you be using the mallet to push in wood joints?X
Will you be using the mallet on more than just chisels?X

Typically, for most larger woodworking tasks you will be using a traditional square bench mallet. This is a staple for most wood working projects and is what lots of wood carvers reach for first.

If you are doing smaller, more intricate carvings, the round mallets will be what you will want to use. They allow for more detailed work and increased control over the tools.

If you are looking to pick up some mallets for yourself, the Narex mallets are a great choice! They come in multiple styles to fit most any need and are easily found on Amazon!
Click here to see the Round Carving Mallet on Amazon.
Click here to see the Square Bench Mallet on Amazon.

What Wood is Used for Carving Mallets?

Carving mallets are usually made from dense, tight grained hardwoods like hornbeam, maple, Ipe, and beach wood. Mallets made from these types of wood can typically withstand the typical heavy hits needed to set joints and carve wood for many years.

Using mallets with softer woods like oak and pine to hit chisels and apply force to joints may start to show advanced wear and deform quickly. However, using these softer woods may help prevent dents from forming in your wood project if hitting the wood directly.

Brian Carver

A long time carving enthusiast that enjoys carving wood and stone. The main person behind the Carving is Fun website and YouTube channel. Always has way to many carving tools and is willing to try new and exciting carving projects!

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