A Matterello is a specialty Italian variety of rolling pin, used primarily to turn out wide sheets of pasta. Generally, the sizes run from two to four feet long, the longest widths used by professional pasta makers (Sfoglino). The one I made is a more overall useful length of about two and a half feet long.
The reason I chose to make one out of sourwood is two fold. The first is that it turns easily while green, like many hardwoods; the much more important one is that it has a very low T/R ratio, which means it is unlikely to split while drying–even at the pith, or center of the tree or limb.
The T/R ratio is the ratio of tangential to radial shrinkage, which for wood working purposes, should be as close to one as possible. This info is easily obtained for most species via a simple Google search. Species with very low T/R ratios are usually little used or non-commercial woods, such as Southern (evergreen) magnolia, and sourwood. Evergreen Magnolia has a T/R ratio of 1.2, and sourwood is 1.4.
My original intention was to make just a straight cylinder, until I realized that such a tool would be difficult to store. I finally realized that the more traditional design with a knob on each end is to hang the mattarello vertically. So I made a hanger as well.
The hanger is Virginia juniper/red cedar, with juniper being a more accurate name. I drilled a one inch hole, sawed out the sides, trimmed the business parts with a paring chisel, and finished off with a carving knife. The finish of the mattarello is walnut oil wax, which makes it both exceptionally long and exceptionally fragrant.