Hongdui KM-18 Chisel Mallet

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Review: Linda Nathan

Things that arrive efficiently packed and also within their own plastic storage case instantly score points. Likewise wood and brass combinations have instant visual appeal. This is a carvers mallet, comfortable for a smaller hand to hold, but with good and modifiable heft.

Mallets come in all shapes, species, weights and sizes. I’ve tried ones that feel top-heavy and unbalanced, and others with handles that are uncomfortable (for me). Looks differ and some also look clunky to my eye.

I have to admit that for years I have used a large piece of hardwood dowel to tap the ends of my gouges, and it has been a workhorse. However this Hongdui tool takes it to a new level I won’t be retreating from. The American oak handle bolts to a polished brass head stamped with KM, a nod to the connection this Chinese manufacturer has with US maker and designer Jonathan Katz-Moses. The beautifully machined heads are ever-so-slightly domed and can be replaced with alternate polyaldehide heads with the spanner provided.

Regrettably I have been guilty of bruising the ends of some chisels a little. The polyaldehide heads will be kinder to my tools and the volume of sound they produce compared to the brass heads will be lower too. You can work with a head of each type screwed in for convenience or to reduce the weight in your hand a little.

In use, the mallet is effective and the compact size feels neat in the hand. It’s a classy addition to my kit, and a
tool on the bench to admire while carving. I’m all for making-do, but for the price you get a highly effective tool that won’t break the bank.

Review tool supplied by Hongdui Tools, see https://hongduitools.com/

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