Which chisel hammer

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  • #388587
    Keith Szczepanski

    Looking at the various Thorex hammers they have many weights available. I imagine the correct one would be the 1 1/2 lb. Can anyone verify that?

Viewing 15 replies - 1 through 15 (of 22 total)
  • Author
  • #388794
    David B


    I think the “correct” one is the one that you are able to use the most efficiently.



    Why use a Thorex at all? Paul uses one, and you want the exact same one, the same weight? This misses the point of his classes. His message is “Whatever works for YOU’. Paul’s had years to develop ‘muscle-memory’ when hitting chisels with a Thorex – without looking at the hammer!

    Use a Rubber Mallet for a soft-sided whacker that won’t mark your wood, and a traditional Wooden Mallet for chiselling. Wooden mallets are large so you get the weight, but more-importantly, never miss the chisel.

    Nicholas Newble


    I just use a 45mm panel beating mallet:


    Cheap and works great, but with a smallish diameter it is possible to miss occasionally if not paying attention.



    Or build you a mallet Watch the video. Easy peasy



    Paul’s blog says Thorex Model 712, 38mm. When I look this up, it’s 650g, which is just about 1.5 lb. I bought mine in the US online from The Hammer Source a number of years ago. In their catalog, it was called NT50, which isn’t exactly the same hammer (wooden handle rathe than plastic), but it was my best guess at what Paul was using.

    I think you could use either the 1.5 lb or the lighter cousin to drive your chisel and gouge. Your arm is going to get tired with either, and more so with the 1.5, but I can say that the 1.5 is what I’ve used.

    When you buy this, see whether you can get additional tips for the mallet. They just screw on. You can have a hard tip (like white) for driving a chisel on one side and a soft face (like grey) on the other for hitting wood with less likely (but not risk free) denting. Of course, that means giving your hammer a squint each time you pick it up, so you might prefer having two hard tips.

    One advantage of the heavier 1.5lb hammer is that, if you are using it to whack a frozen joint during glue up, you’ve got more of an impulse.



    Let me add: I recently took a carving class and had a chance to sample 3 or 4 carving mallets. These were all of the variety with a turned handle and a cylindrical, tapered metal head. They ranged from 1 to 1.5 lb. I also used my Thorex hammer. If I ultimately choose to do a lot of carving, there’s no question I’d buy a carving mallet. The weight distribution is completely different and allowed a different dynamic, allowing more of a flicking motion. You can flick the thorex too (Paul emphasized this), but it’s different. It was easier to do rapid, lighter tapping with the carving mallet. That said, I absolutely could accomplish the same work with my Thorex. The Thorex can chop mortises, but I doubt I’d use the carving hammer for that purpose.

    Just to say it again- Paul emphasized learning to flick the hammer rather than swing it. Often, his videos are zoomed in, so you cannot see his grip, but when you can see his grip, you’ll notice it is not a carpenter’s grip out at the end of the handle. It’s much closer to the head. It took some faith and adjustment to do this…I had previously only used the carpenter grip, out at the end, swinging to kill, which is exactly what you want to drive nails, but that’s not what you’re doing with a chisel according to Paul.

    Dave Walker


    Paul said; you can’t substitute these [Thorex] for Traditional Mallets … I’ve used them since I was a boy”.

    Making a Joiner’s Mallet: Part 1

    He showed us how to make our own traditional wooden mallet, but strangely NEVER uses a mallet again after that. Thorex is promoted, carefully photographed, detailed in the blog. It’s Product Placement. No wonder Keith and others want to buy THAT VERY SAME ONE. Even the “correct” weight! That hammer won’t make Keith, or anyone-else, a better woodworker. Its a hammer.



    I made Paul’s mallet from the video posted earlier and it works quite well. I also have a 16oz Kobalt rubber mallet similar to the one Paul uses from Lowe’s. I use either one depending on the situation. You could scale Paul’s design to fit your needs.

    I disagree with what some others here have stated. If having the exact tools that Paul is using gives you more confidence in making your project…. it just might make you a better woodworker.. Hell, get out in the shop and give it a shot!

    Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

    Albert Einstein

    Tim A


    I’ve used both the Thorex-type and the joiners mallet (acutally made two of these). For chisel work, the joiner’s mallet is much prefered. The beauty of these is you can tailor them to your prefered weight and balance. As dean beacker said here earlier, they are easy to make – a lot easier than one might think at first – but the skill-building and satisfaction is on the high end of the scale.

    Eric Lundholm


    Paul gives advice on what to buy that has worked for him. When he says Thorex it is because it has worked for him for years. You could run down to Harbour Freight and buy one that looks similar but it won’t work the same, or hold up the same. Buy one and then make your mallet, see which works for you. you will find uses for both.

    Ed Minch


    One mallet? I have a 4 oz palm mallet for fine stuff, a traditional framer’s mallet at about a pound, a lightweight carver’s maple mallet I turned at about 12 oz, and an ipe carver’s mallet I turned at about 1-1/2 pounds. They all have their place.

    Dave Ring


    If you are looking for a Pauls Sellers endorsed “chisel hammer” in the US, Home Depot sells the Vaughn-labelled version of his favored 1.5″ Thorex hammer with an excellent wooden handle in lieu of the UK version’s nylon one.


    Peter George


    I splurged and bought one of these:
    Veritas® Cabinetmaker’s Mallet
    I added leather to one of the faces. I like using it.

    I also use a couple of traditional mallets that I made based on Paul’s videos.

    Peter in
    Biggar SK
    "New York is big, but this is Biggar"

    Keith Szczepanski


    Thanks for the “reasonable” responses. Since a weight isn’t suggested, and there a various weights available, i just thought I could get a suggestion.



    The weight depends on you. I made my daughter in law a very light mallet, and it worked as good as the heavy maple one i built. Accuracy of the blow,and chisel sharpness is more important than weight as far as i can see. This is from building furnature not timber framing.

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