When man started to build shelters in stone, they must have realised that when putting one stone on top of another it would be better to shape it. They would have used a harder stone to do this and this could have been the start of using a gavel or mallet. When it was found that metal could be shaped into a chisel, a wooden mallet really came into its own; used worldwide by masons trained to make square and rectangular blocks of
stone e.g. the pyramids, later making more complicated shapes and also
engraving on stone, all using the mallet and chisel. During the
Byzantine, Greek and Roman periods, and perhaps before, artists
began to carve using the mallet and chisel; Leonardo de Vinci and other
famous artists could not have done their work without these tools.
To the present day, masons are using the same method of shaping stone and wood as was used thousands of years ago using the mallet and chisel.
The photograph is of a mallet my father made 100 years ago from a branch of a Beech tree and I am still using it today.
I am the fourth generation of masons, with a son who works for me. We would not be able to carry on without the humble mallet.