Hi Jim, Dead blow mallets come in a lot of weights and styles,
depending on what you need them for. The idea is to have a hammer blow
with no rebound. This is useful for flattening things that are warped;
they can also be nice for sinking a disc as the first step of in
raising a vessel. The key thing is weight.
You can buy a basic black model [Darth Mallet] from the hardware
store that has a rubber shell over a steel handle and a lead-filled
head. Very heavy, seriously persuasive. Do not place your hand between
one of these and the anvil or you will say ()&(&*&%&(^%!!!
[Experience speaks, and sometimes I have to edit it.]
The dead blow mallet that I use now is a much lighter thing, and
really useful. It is made from delrin, a white high-density plastic.
Normally delrin is too light to be used this way, but the head has
been hollowed out and filled with lead shot that rattles nicely when
you use the tool, like maracas. Mine has one cross-pein [sp?] face and
one ball pein face; they also come cross-pein/flat. This hammer was
made by Lee Marshal of Bonny Doon Engineering, but he sells them
exclusively through Allcraft in NYC. They are something around $32, if
I recall. There is yet another version where the faces are threaded
and can be changed.