Thor has one. Timmy has one. The guy rolling on logs in the Berocca advert has one. Big mallets. Tam tam mallets are the biggest around.
A modern tam tam or gong mallet needs significant weight to perform its role in life – to draw sound out of a large disc of metal. There are many variations of shaft, covering and core. The majority of shafts or handles manufactured for tam tam are wooden, generally hickory, maple or Croatian Birch. However some gong mallets are created with an aluminium shaft, generally to reduce weight whilst others are manufactured with sturdy bamboo. There are considerable variations in the length of the shaft - some consider that the longer the shaft, the longer it will last.
The coverings of a gong or tam tam mallet also vary considerably. Some are yarn wound with varying thicknesses and colours of yarn. This covering gives a different feel and texture to those covered in wool or synthetic fibre or sewn felt. Fleece is another coating that is fluffy and nice to stroke against ones cheek. However, the core is where the action happens. This can be created by a multitude of materials but most current tam tam or gong manufacturers use solid heavy rubber.
Manufacturers of tam tam and gong mallets generally are in the United States or western Europe although there are some in Japan. Vic Firth, Malletech, Innovative and Balter are popular manufacturers in the US whilst in the UK, Chalklin is a popular brand.