Sorbothane Soft-Blow Mallet - Canadian Woodworking Magazine

A specialized dead-blow hammer, designed to maximum surface contact without denting, marring or jarring


Sorbothane Soft-Blow Mallet

When you need to persuade two objects to move closer together, or further apart, and you're not overly concerned about damaging those objects, you'll likely look to a conventional claw hammer or perhaps some type of sledge hammer. However, if you don't want to inflict too much damage, you'll want to use some kind of dead-blow hammer.
Dead-blow hammers are essentially specialized mallets that usually have their striking faces covered with kind of non-marring material — rubber, plastic, leather, polyurethane or the like — and may have hollow heads filled with lead pellets or sand that serve to absorb the force of an impact. The different materials used on the striking faces are designed for use on different materials. For example, you might choose a leather face for work on brass, aluminum and other soft materials, and a polyurethane face for tool and die work. Woodworkers often use a rubber mallet, or wooden mallet with a cork lined face for assembling and disassembling furniture.

The Sorbothane Soft-Blow Mallet is a specialized kind of dead-blow hammer, designed to maximum surface contact without denting, marring or jarring. It's a conventional sized mallet, weighing in at just over one pound, and measuring 12-3/4" long. The handle is made out of hardwood — which looks to be ash — and the head is a single piece of soft, rubber-like material.

In fact, it's the unique features of the head that really distinguish this mallet from others on the market. Sorbothane® is a proprietary, visco-elastic polymer — a material that exhibits properties of both liquids and solids. In practical terms this means that when you hit an object with the mallet, the head absorbs the shock and then dissipates the energy within itself. It also has excellent memory, so that it returns to its original shape after absorbing a shock.

The head is a generous size — 2" x 2-1/2" x 3-7/8" — and it's been molded onto the handle so there is little danger of it coming loose. The head is water proof, and according to the company, it's impervious to most chemicals.
The mallet is one tough customer. I pounded the Alder board in the photo above over a dozen times, and the Sorbothane mallet didn't leave a single dent. I found that it delivered a strong blow without bouncing off the surface.

What's even more impressive is that it didn't even dent the crisp edge on the board, which I also pounded mercilessly. Nor was there any damage to the face of the mallet. When hammering away with this mallet there is very little recoil energy that travels back to your hand or arm.
You could use the Sorbothane Soft-Blow Mallet on just about any surface where you didn't want any marring or denting, including metal, glass, plastic, and of course, wood.
I find it superb for closing up dovetail and mortise and tenon joints and for assembling carcasses.


  • 12-3/4" overall length
  • 10-1/8" ash handle
  • 2" x 2-1/2" x 3-7/8" visco-elastic polymer head
  • Low rebound
  • Shock dissipating
  • Resists most chemicals
  • Conforms to irregular shapes
  • 17 ounce weight
PRICE:$39.95 US
SOURCE:Purchase Online
Carl Duguay, December 2012
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