Did you step on your mallet? Been playing too much bad music with extended technique?
This is a repair I've done many times over the years and tonight, my friend broke an NZ4 during a recital, so I'm taking the opportunity to document and talk through what I do as a guide.
Let's get started by addressing what CAN and CANNOT be fixed. The break needs to have a lot of surface area to glue together; therefore, a clean, perpendicular break cannot be fixed. The case I have here is a perfect example and the most common type of break.
- Ordinarily I do my best to avoid spending money on anything, but the key ingredient in this repair is wood glue - I use Gorilla Glue and highly recommend it because it is so strong I feel like the bond is actually stronger than the original wood (which is probably not true). It's cheap and you will probably use it for many more things in your life than fixing mallets, so you'll be glad you have it.
- Tape, not too sticky, I use scotch tape.
- A flat surface and a heavy object to clamp down the mallet (obviously, an actual clamp would work, but one can easily improvise).
- Pocket knife/straight edge/razor blade
Identify exactly how the shaft should be aligned. It's difficult to describe but it's not as obvious as it seems, but while it's dry, take your time to align the halves. When you get it right, it's helpful to use a pencil to draw a light line for you to line up later.
Apply a small amount of glue down the length of the shaft. If you've never used wood glue before, it quickly expands like crazy upon exposure to air, so feel free to apply less than you need, but the more the better. If you don't apply enough it'll break easily again and you can do this step again, if you do too much you'll just scrape the excess off when it dries.
Put the two ends together. Hold it with one hand, or have a friend hold it.
Apply tape around the entire length of the break, and beyond. Tape it very tightly. Be careful that the shaft remains straight and aligned during this. It's easier to do with the roll of tape not on the dispenser.
Last step, clamp it down securely somehow so it can dry for a couple of hours.
When it's done drying, get the tape off (honestly, I usually cut it with the knife/razor anyway as it's also too stuck with the glue). Scrape off any excess glue with the knife. The pictures from this point on are of the repair! The affected area is a bit more textured than before due to the glue and the pressing, but this NZ4 lives on to play another day.
Disclaimer: YDY does not guarantee the stability of anyone's mallets repaired in the style of this guide. The shaft is probably much weaker after having broken once. Take care of your mallets and stop playing on the edge, or if you have to, don't hit it too hard and play as close to the head as possible.