01 Feb Handmade Cricket Bats in 2014
Getting right back into the swing of things, 2014 started with a custom cricket bat. After a visit to the workshop last year, the mid January delivery date gave me lots of time to pick a cleft to make the right cricket bat. It was great to be able to take my time without being restricted by any of the usual aesthetic criteria. Whilst there’s a limit to what can be offered as a high quality cricket bat, mainly due to the ingrained beliefs about what makes a cricket bat perform, restricting yourself to only clefts that “look good” is a recipe for disaster.
As with any bat, the first job is to not be shy and strip away the waste. With a target weight of 2lbs 10oz and a request for a lower middle than their current match bat, the rough shape was slowly revealed.
The rough shaping came and went without incident and as always my shaping slows down as I get closer to the target weight. The tools used after the drawknife tend to be less aggressive and the likelihood of making a drastic mistake decrease greatly, it’s great to put it back into the toolbox without an expletive attached.
The last few ounces proved stubborn, but in a good way. The way the weight was distributed within the cleft meant I was able to remove more willow from the toe yet still retain good response lower down the blade. I suppose that’s the benefit of a cricket bat made by hand, the bat maker can adjust to accommodate the cleft right in the middle of shaping.
Some people don’t like heartwood but in my experience there’s nothing wrong with it and it more often than not makes exceptional cricket bats. It didn’t let me down here and I’m hoping this serves its new owner well for many runs.