Shipbuilding Caulking Mallet
Caulking refers to the procedure of making wooden decks on boats watertight, and the process uses some interesting tools. Specifically, the caulking mallet’s purpose is to drive cotton and strands of oakum – a fibrous material created from jute – into the seams or gaps between planks. Afterward, it is sealed with tar to make the deck watertight. This important process takes a lot of skill; if done incorrectly, the wood can split and leave the deck waterlogged. This particular mallet was found in Canada and signed by P. Bergeron, a shipwright. Although Bergeron’s past is unknown, he likely took great pride in his mallet. Overall, caulking mallets have a unique design. This object features a distinctive longitudinal slot in the head of the mallet. This gives the wood some springiness to reduce jarring on the user’s wrist. Metal handles and bars around the centre of the object exude sophistication, and the hand-etched signature evokes authenticity and prestige. Historically, some shipbuilders adjusted the slots in their mallet in an attempt to get a nicer slamming sound than their workmates. Take this distinct object home and use its captivating history as a talking point during your next social event.