John K Jordan
I like black locust for turning, it's hard and heavy but a little bland (not important for a mallet of course!)
If hardness is important, here are the Janka hardness numbers of some local woods, from the Wood Database.
Osage Orange 2620,
Black Locust 1700,
I used Dogwood for my current mallet since I had some and love turning it.
I don't understand the other numbers in the Wood Database that look like they are related to toughness, but from comparing the four I suspect black locust may about be the toughest of these.
I probably have a mallet sized piece of wood in osage or persimmon so send me an email if you want to try making a mallet from one of those as well. I'll probably be driving near your area the middle of August.
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- Black locust mallet?