Saturday, November 20, 2010

Lighter Than I Found Useful, The Michigan Industrial Tools 8 oz. Rubber Mallet Disappoints.

The Good: Generally durable when used properly, Inexpensive
The Bad: Rubber head is not as durable/heavy as many, Too light; not enough force when using.
The Basics: An unfortunately light mallet, the 8 oz. Michigan Industrial Tools Wooden Mallet does not allow the user to do much with it.

Choosing a rubber mallet seems like it might be a pretty easy purchase to make without reading any reviews. And yet, the simple products like this often have a way of needing to be rebought when either the quality does not hold up or the simple tool just isn’t what the prospective buyer thinks it will be. In the case of the Michigan Industrial Tools 8 oz. Rubber Mallet, the mallet is little more than a toy, whatwith it being so very light. It was easy for me to recommend the Great Neck Saw 16 oz. Rubber Mallet, but it became impossible for me to recommend this lighter mallet, which did not afford me any real strengths in any projects around the house. In fact, the 16 oz. mallet is what I bought to replace this lighter, more ineffectual tool.

The Michigan Industrial Tools 8 oz. Rubber Mallet is a very basic rubber mallet, but it is one that does not work well at any projects that might require a mallet or hammer. This is intended to be an inexpensive mallet option for home use and it was manufactured accordingly. The mallet has a rubber head, which is just over 1 1/2" in diameter. Intended for severely limited pounding, the Michigan Industrial Tools 8 oz. Rubber Mallet is one foot long from top to bottom of the handle. The head is a barrel-shaped head that is 3 3/4" long with flat, circular heads perpendicular to the mallet's handle. The head is attached to the wooden handle by a metal nail that seems virtually impossible to pull out of the mallet.

A rubber mallet is one of the simplest tools to use. Holding the handle, one swings the mallet at the object one wants smashed, bashed or nailed in (see stipulations below) and the force of the mallet colliding with the object usually puts it where the user of the mallet wants it to go. Mallets like this one are most commonly used in household use for closing paint cans and knocking trim back into place. Using a rubber mallet to close paint cans traditionally leaves the paint can mostly intact in order to get it opened up again later, whereas metal hammers bend the metal lids and can tops and apply force in a tighter position, which more often than not means the opposite side of the paint can pops up when one hammers the lid in. Trim that is held in with tiny nails that one has lost track of may be gently knocked back into place with a rubber mallet with less of a chance of damaging the wood trim than with a hammer.

There are, literally, hundreds of uses for a rubber mallet, but not this 8 oz. one. The head, which is supposed to deliver force when swung is so light that it does not pound in most nails I’ve tried to use with it! It cannot split wood, it cannot be used to do much more than putting large-headed tack nails into porous (not hard) surfaces. If one tries to knock something too hard in with it, this small mallet tends to react in one of two ways: it either bounces back into the face of the person attempting to use it or the item getting whacked impales itself into the rubber surface.

This is the primary reason I no longer use the 8 oz. mallet. After only a few uses, the rubber on the head became seriously pitted and when I hit the side of a metal tray, it actually sliced a chunk out of the head! Between not working terribly durable and not delivering enough force to put a nail into drywall, this quickly became the mallet I only used for closing paint cans, especially the small ones.

On the plus side, the 8 oz. rubber mallet is inexpensive and if one wants something that can be used exclusively on small paint cans, this is a good tool for that. For the rest of us, who want something a little more versatile, it’s easy to pass this one by.

For other tools and the like kicking around my workshop, please check out my reviews of:
Stanley 60-002 Phillips Head Screwdriver
Z Pro 24 Paint Tray
Keter 16" Toolbox


For other tool reviews, please be sure to visit my index page by clicking here!

© 2010 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.

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