Description courtesy of Chatham Dockyard Museum
Used to strike the caulking iron during the process of caulking. The mallet had a head made from either lignum vitae, beech or American oak, all very hard woods. The ends of the head were bound with tapering iron rings, which were caulked on, these could be moved back as the mallet face wore down. The head of the hammer has slits through the top with circular holes, these slots were the cause of the musical note when the hammer strikes the iron, the note being tuned by the length of the slots and number and size of the round holes. It is said that without the slots the noise made by a gang of Shipwrights would be deafening. This mallet is of usual construction, reinforced collars at each end of the head and reinforced rivets at each end of the handle. The mallet was used in the caulking process, making boats watertight by knocking oakum between the boards of wooden vessels.