Handcrafted Bats are designed to maximize the quality of the Willow Wood used in the bat face. This is a 'spring loaded' wood due to all the air pockets in the timber. A normal, hard-pressed bat should endure the maximum impact, often without proper 'knocking in'. This avoids complaints even if misused but this is at the cost of responsiveness with the wood not moving into the shot. Often it is most noticeable in the amount of 'hand vibration' on the handle in general, the harder the bat, the worse the vibration.
The Hand Process presses the bat to the best level for the individual piece of wood as each one is made. Care is taken to craft a left and right handed grained bat at the same time. The skilled eye will know what level of pressing to give for maximum performance from the bat.
The Lift/Swing or 'pick up' of the bat is derived from the length of the handle and the weight of bat. This varies with such things as the thickness of the blade at the sweet spot (i.e. the best strike area at the thickest part of the bat). All of our bats are graded by weight and handle length (a variety of legal sizes including Short/Normal, Regular, Harrow, Long) etc.
The Willow Wood is obtained from local Essex Willow suppliers who supply most of the industry far and wide. We take the best cuts of timber; which are all naturally cured to give the very best from the prime timber. The cane handles are also selected from the best sources, mostly from Malaysia and our special recipe glue is use to bind the rubber into the handle together with the binding twine to produce a crafted handle
A perfectly round handle is a sign of a mass produced bat and is not a good shape for the best grip.Our hand turned handles have an oval type feel to the hand, be it large or small oval (for wrist players). This shape gives comfort and avoids the 'bat twist/turn' effect often felt with others.
The handle will face up slightly when viewed down the face of the blade to give a correct strike face to the shot. A bat can often be ruined in this regard as well as being dry and hardened by leaving it in warm centrally heated areas. We recommend that a bat should be left in a dry shed or garage to avoid
A light treatment of Raw Linseed Oil, or cricket ball oil, should be applied to all the wood (except the splice and labels) of the new bat to protect from wet, but not too much. Apply 5ml (approx. one teaspoon) to cloth then bat for best results. When this is dry a process known as 'knocking in' of the bat should take place. Repeat this with a light oiled cloth coating 3 to 4 weeks later and then twice each season should suffice. (Warning: too much oil will deaden your cricket bat).
N.B. To obtain best performance from a piece of willow, our hand crafted bats are pressed softer to allow the wood to recoil and spring with the ball and stroke. This can cause small cracks on the surface, which are natural and the bat should now be at its best. It is only abuse to full toss Yorker balls that splits a bat beyond redemption. (Remember we have an extremely cost effective bat repair service if required).
To avoid too much damage to the vulnerable area of the edge we burr or bone the edges with some hardened timber to take the sharp edge away but it is recommended that the average player should 'tape' the edge of the bat to avoid accidental splinters occurring.
The most important process is known as 'knocking in'. The better this is done the less chance there is of damage to the bat. Knocking a bat in is essential as it makes the timber tougher by thickening the cell walls. How hard should you knock in the bat? A mallet tends to allow you to hit too hard at the start and a better option is a Cricket Ball on a stick to hit (knock in) with.
When the oil has dried check you are happy that the sharp edges are removed from the blade. If not, drag the edges across an old stump or hard round piece of timber. Then the face of the blade is knocked, gently at first,with the ball on the stick or an old ball, do this 'evenly' all over. Continue this process, hitting harder and harder all over until you are hitting as hard as you can. To check your progress you can run your hand along the surface of the bat face to feel for any hollows it may have which may need more knocking or playing in. When playing in the bat at first try to play the ball to defence not hard drives and not full toss shots. You are trying to compress the timber not break it in half.
Surface cracks can occur and is a sign of a bat that will drive and respond well. Bad cracks that go across two or more grains may be due to not knocking in enough of the dreaded Yorker ball or just a miss-timed shot on the edge or bottom. The type of breakage is not a sign of bad workmanship or material but merely an unfortunate occurrence in the game. All is not lost however as we can often repair the faces of bats. Stop using it so that you don't make it worse before you contact us to see if it worth sending in for repair.
As mentioned before, don't leave your bat leaning against a radiator or in high heat areas (e.g. back window of a car) as the timber will dry out and become brittle as well as the handle angle being lost. Store flat in a dry shed, garage or outhouse for best results.