Wooden Mallet Painting • by John Morfis

Painting of a Wooden Mallet

Wooden Mallet Painting • by John MorfisThis is a great looking wooden mallet.  It’s a made from hardwood and has an amazing wood grain throughout.  I actually had a wee bit of trouble deciding which side of the mallet to showcase.  I’m not sure of its age but since it belongs to a friend of mine whom collects antiques I’ll assume it’s not a new mallet off the rack from Home Depot!   Actually this mallet didn’t look so great when I first got it.  It had dried paint all over it and not in a very aesthetically pleasing way.

That’s the thing with these old tools I paint still lifes of…  I want them to be old and beat up but I need them to be beat up in a specific way.

Does this make any sense? 

I want the wear and tear on the tools to have purpose and meaning.  I need the tool to look worn due to age and use.  How ironic is it that I don’t like tools with paint on them?  It’s true.  If a mallet or any other tool has paint on it I’ll either clean it off, ignore it while I paint, or not paint the object altogether.

For this wooden mallet I choose to clean off the paint.  There was far too much paint to ignore.  I really liked the mallet’s form and did not want to pass on the opportunity to make art from this awesome looking hand tool.  Unfortunately the paint I wanted to remove was really stuck on.  It must have been on there decades and seemed to be some kind of oil based enamel.

Commercial Paint Stripper to the Rescue!

I took the wooden mallet and a couple of other tools with paint on them outside and went a couple of rounds with a heavy duty paint stripper.  It sure did the trick and after I thoroughly cleaned off the mallet it looked amazing.


dirty paint covered tools: before


dirty paint covered tools: after

A Cautionary Note on Paint Strippers…

Read the paint stripper container before using paint strippers.  The varieties I’m used to using should never be used indoors because the solvents they contain are heavier than air when evaporated.  Why does this matter?  If used indoors the dangerous solvents evaporated into a gas can collect at low levels indoors such as your basement.  To contrast, most other solvents used in products other than paint stripper become lighter than air when they evaporate into a gas and typically dissipate rather rapidly into the atmosphere.


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