Craftsmen pounded a mallet on a chisel or gouge handles and the stocks of planes, or helped fit mortise-and-tenon, or dovetail, joints tightly. Mallets were made of wood to prevent damage to surfaces upon which they were used. The shape of the woodworker's mallet depended upon individual preference, but the first example (1957.0101.003), which is cylindrical, avoids even the traditional shape preferred by cabinetmakers and joiners. The weight and density of the wood suggest lignum vitae wood, but its structure is closer to persimmon or boxwood. An octagonal handle provides an effective handgrip, and the incised lines encircling the head not only provide decoration but indicate where the head was to be bored to receive the handle.