Learn How A Cricket Bat is Made
Every cricket bat starts off as a piece of willow. The willow trees that are harvested for cricket bats are mainly between 12 and 15 years old. Once the trees are harvested, the bat maker will look to use mostly the sap wood which is around the core of the tree as it provides more elasticity and hence better performance.
The trunk of the tree is cut into roughly 3/4 of a meter blocks, these are known as clefts. The clefts are left to dry for up to a year to remove the moisture from them. At this point the clefts will be graded by the bat maker. The trained eye of the bat maker will know which clefts will make the more superior cricket bats.
Cutting to a Rough Shape
In the next step of the process, the bat maker will cut the cleft into the approximate shape for just the blade of the cricket bat.
The Heavy Roller
Believe it or not, cricket bats like cricket pitches also need to experience the heavy roller. After the bat has been cut to shape it goes through a press that applies up to 3 tons of pressure, this curves the face of the blade and compresses the fibers in the willow for better performance.
Cutting a Space for the Handle
The batmaker will then draw a V on the end of the bat and he will cut out the V shape providing room to attach the handle of the bat.
The handle is made of cane which is largely dried vine stems. These stems are thin layers and numerous cane pieces are coated in rubber and then glued together to for the handle. The bottom of the handle will be formed to fit into the V shape that was cut out of the blade.
Using glue, the bat maker coats the handle of the bat and inserts it firmly into the cutout at the bottom of the bat.
Shaping the Profile of the Bat
Using a draw knife, the batmaker then does the most difficult task in making a cricket bat. He shapes the profile of the cricket bat by hand using the draw knife. This takes years of experience and immense skill to get the profile of the cricket bat up to peak performance.
The edges and handle of the bat are also expertly smoothened off with tools that are specifically made for the task of cricket bat making.
Before proceeding the bat maker will test the spring of the cricket bat using a wooden mallet.
Sanding the Bat
Using a drum sander, the bat maker sands the bat completely. The air filled drum of the sander molds to the shape of the bat to ensure that the bat keeps the profile that the bat maker worked so hard to form.
The bat is then sanded twice more, first with a coarse abrasive and then with a fine abrasive for the perfect finish.
Twining the Handle
The bat is then put onto a twining machine and the handle is fully coated in glue. Then the bat is spun around at high speed while twine is perfectly wrapped around the entire handle of the bat. The twine itself is given an extra coat of glue once it is wound to prevent it from unravelling.
The bat is then polished against a cotton wheel spinning at a high pace to give the cricket bat an impressive sheen.
Decals and Grips
The last thing that needs to be done to complete the making of the bat is applying the makers name to the various spots on the bat and the application of the rubber grip.