Meet my ‘Mongo’

Among the many tools of Christopher Schwarz’s that I covet is his vintage English brass mallet with wood inserts, a tool he calls “Mongo.” Now, I can cross one venial sin off my very long list of things for which I should atone; I have a Mongo (Mingo?) to call my own.

Glen D. Huey’s “Woodworker’s Edge” mallet with white oak inserts is one full pound of made-in-the-U.S.A. brass beauty, and it’s the perfect weight for adjusting the too-tight planing stop on my bench at home (I really need to knock that sucker all the way out and plane off a few thou).

Glen offers these mallets with a choice of handles – and if you ask nicely, he’ll make you a custom handle out of the wood of your choice (mine is walnut).

I got my hands on a prototype of his new tool a few months back, when Glen kindly let me use his shop to make my mom’s Christmas present (and spent a lot of time teaching me how to do string-and-berry inlay – thanks again, Glen!). At the time, he was trying to decide on the handle shape and length, and I’m pleased to report that he shaped the handles exactly as I suggested (though I seriously doubt mine was the deciding voice). The finished design is nicely balanced, and the chamfers along the length help locate it correctly in my grip.

If you want one though, best hurry on over to the Woodworker’s Edge store; he’s about sold through the first batch.

— Megan Fitzpatrick

13 thoughts on “Meet my ‘Mongo’

  1. gumpbelly

    16 oz = Mongo, where are the head shaking NO icons when you need one. 16 oz = tap tap tap

    pounds chest and chants Mongo, Mongo

    http://www.amazon.com/Pit-Bull-2-1-Brass-Hammer/dp/B002JQDX0C/ref=sr_1_31?s=hi&ie=UTF8&qid=1334942057&sr=1-31

    This is the Ladies Mongo at 2 1/2 pounds, perfect for light taps when a sledge is just a tad too heavy. They don`t have mine anymore, but it`s 3 pounds, and I sawed off a lot of the handle so it taps just like my 14 oz tite hammer it just has a little more authority. I keep telling Kevin make it bigger……….

    http://glen-drake.com/v-web/ecommerce/os/catalog/index.php?cPath=21

    You sure Chris` is heavier, he of Ladylike hands and wrists.

  2. rickb

    I looked long and hard at one of these when I visited you in Cincinatti. I thought the idea was great, the price was equally great. Maybe they could sell a rough casting of the brass as a reasonably priced “kit”. I would love one, and would love to make one.

    1. David D

      I thought that too until I looked up the price on brass. The hunk of brass on each one these, if I am guessing at the size correctly, is somewhere around $120. Then if you add in the price of the wood and a little bit of profit, it would get to the price he’s asking pretty quickly.

    2. metalworkingdude

      Brass is really, really expensive. Plus CNC machining, wood, time spent making it, the initial cost of design, CNC programming, fixtures. Then having your investment sit on a shelf until someone buys it…

      Manufacturing boutique items is a tough go.

      1. 7-Thumbs

        Even so, it is a mallet, you hit things with it. Apparently, like gentleman farmers, gentleman woodworkers will buy anything at any price, I also note Festool. Have you ever looked at the tools that most serious woodworkers are using, they look like crap; not that they are. Yes we see these same folks pushing Lie Nielsen, Festool and others. But when we get glimpses of them in their own workshops the tools are used, simple function items. How does a furniture maker make a living if he or she is spending $3000, $4000 and much more for boutique planes for example.

        1. metalworkingdude

          My point wasn’t that anyone needs to own a fancy mallet (or plane or sander) – just that $200 while a lot of money isn’t an unreasonable price for what it is. No one is getting rich making these or taking advantage of anyone.

          Personally I love tools, whether it’s my 100 year old stanley plane or the Lie Nielsen dovetail saw I got for Christmas. I’d love to have one of those mallets. I make stuff for the same reason I like to have nice tools — it makes me happy.

  3. Dean

    Isn’t Chris’ “Mongo” a 2 pounder? That always seemed a tad on the heavy side but good for knocking together the joints on his massive workbenches. I can’t say from experience, but it seems a 1 pounder would be more applicable for the typical persuasive duties. But, I could be wrong.

    1. Megan Fitzpatrick Post author

      Chris’s Mongo is a little bit heavier – though I can’t recall the actual weight. However, my bird-like wrists are better suited to Glen’s somewhat lighter mallet.

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