Today I harvested some wood fortune. I’m very happy. Remember the Joiner’s Mallet I told you I’d ordered? It came today. With great anticipation I opened up the envelope to find a beautifully machine made joiner’s mallet formed of solid European beech. Both the handle and head of the mallet are solid, good, tight grained beech that will last longer than I have years left on this earth to enjoy it. So naturally I examined it to find that it could use some hand work to bring it to the perfection it was meant to showcase.
Admittedly I was concerned there might not be much to do with it. After reading so many reviews I was expecting it to come in an ice bag. It didn’t. I peeled the labels off, checked that the handle did indeed come free from the mallet head, as it was designed to do. It had not been glued because the people who made it knew what they were doing. Just moments ago I took a Japanese smoothing plane to it to knock off a couple of sharp machined edges that I didn’t think felt right for my hand. Then I followed with a card scraper to smooth down any rough surfaces. Sadly it didn’t take long. So then I tried a beautiful Lie-Nielsen scraper plane to put the final touches on it. Works better than sand paper because it won’t clog the pores of the wood. That will allow the natural beauty of the wood to shine forth in all its glory after I apply the boiled linseed oil.
Took it out back and put the first coat of boiled linseed oil on both mallet head and handle. It soaked it up just like thirsty wood should. It’s reply to me was to glow and glimmer in the bright California sunlight shining on it. After that soaks in a bit I’ll apply the next coat of oil. We’ll see what it looks like after two or three coats of oil and take it from there. If I’d had any sense I’d have taken a before and after picture to show you. I was just so excited I forgot about that. It’s so beautiful. Imagine all those sour reviewers could have enjoyed their purchase. Instead they chose to enjoy their complaining. Some people just aren’t happy unless they’re not happy. Isn’t life wonderful?
Can’t resist telling you that European beech is derived from Old English bēce, of Germanic origin; related to book and to Latin fagus ‘beech,’ Greek phagos ‘edible oak.’ Honestly, it’s going to look good enough to eat when I’m finished with it.