Like the old recipe for chicken soup (first, kill a chicken), I began making my rustic mallet by firstly cutting down a silver maple in my back yard. I cut it down last summer and used my new antique froe to rive sections of the tree’s trunk into pieces resembling lumber. Months later when I got the idea to make the mallet, there was the maple — dried and split and ready to go.

I hadn’t planned to make a “rustic” mallet, but as I was using only hand tools, I wondered how the mallet would be improved by surfacing the outside faces. I couldn’t think of a reason, and I just liked the look of the bark and the split wood.