Below are excerpts from Bat Lore the E-Book. It is our knowledge base of cricket bats written by James Laver and Simon Lusk.

The art of bat making.

Laver & Wood’s Cricket Bat Lore Ch 28. Why Bats Break & How to Protect Them

Just about every cricketer has had a favourite bat break, and gone through the pain of having to find a replacement. Bats break because they are inherently fragile, and made from natural materials. Cricket Bat willow is a natural product that decays over time and with use, meaning bats do not last forever, and as […]

Laver & Wood’s Cricket Bat Lore Ch 27. Making Bats Last Longer

Cricket bats take time to performing at their best. As a bat matures its middle will improve, and batsmen will get greater value for shots. Once the middle has been compressed so much that the willow has lost its elasticity the bat will need to be replaced. Looking after a favourite bat will help extend […]

Laver & Wood’s Cricket Bat Lore Ch 26. Batting in Wet Conditions

Almost all cricketers will end up having to play in wet conditions, especially early season. This can cause major damage to bats, but there are a few tactics you can use to protect your bat. The most common issue related to playing in damp conditions is the uptake of moisture through the lower portion of […]

Laver & Wood’s Cricket Bat Lore Ch 25. Moisture Damage

Moisture is extremely bad for cricket bats. Wet bats will often become broken bats, or bats that require extensive repairs. When a bat gets exposed to excess moisture the compressed willow fibres expand. The willow acts like a sponge, as the surface of the bat is incredibly porous. As bats expand the protective harder surface […]

Laver & Wood’s Cricket Bat Lore Ch 24. Oiling Bats

Oiling bats is important for protecting them and making them last longer. There is, however, an art to oiling a bat. The biggest risk with oiling bats is over oiling them, as too much oil can deaden the blade. Laver & Wood recommend that once a bat has been knocked in, it is only ever […]

Laver & Wood’s Cricket Bat Lore Ch 23. Knocking In

Almost all new cricket bats require knocking in before use. Knocking in is the process of hardening and conditioning of the blades’ surface. Knocking in protects the face of the bat from cracking, so increasing the bats usable life. It also improves the middle of the bat so it performs better. The nature of the […]

Laver & Wood’s Cricket Bat Lore Ch 22. Bat Repair and Maintenance

At Laver & Wood we repair a large number of bats from many, different manufacturers. Over time we have built up a large base of knowledge of damaged bats and their repair, and have incorporated this knowledge into our own bat designs. Careful design prevents damage, although all bats will inevitably die after prolonged use. […]

Laver & Wood’s Cricket Bat Lore Ch 21 Part IV Bat Maintenance

Preseason Bat Check At the beginning of each season Laver & Wood get many, many requests for rapid refurbishment of their favourite bat. Some of these bats can be refurbished, and some have scored so many runs they need to be replaced. Replacing a bat takes time, so it is wise to do a preseason […]

Laver & Wood’s Cricket Bat Lore Ch 20. The Weather & Bat Making

Humidity & Batmaking At Laver & Wood we make all our bats by hand, and this means with the traditional hand tools used by batmakers’ from two hundred years ago. Draw knives and two types of planes are the main tools we use to shape bats, and all these require energy and strength. When we […]

Laver & Wood’s Cricket Bat Lore Ch 19. Tools used in Traditional Batmaking IV

Stage III Sanding and Finishing The bat is first sanded using a Bobbin Sander, rotating on a horizontal shaft. This is inflated to approximately 20psi, and begins with a 100 grit coarse sanding sleeve. This stage is done totally by eye, and is one of the most complex parts of the batmaking process. It takes […]

Laver & Wood’s Cricket Bat Lore Ch 18 Tools used in Traditional Batmaking III

Stage II Fitting and Shaping The fitting and shaping process is the most time consuming part of the bat making process. When bats are made by hand, this is the most physically demanding part of the process, 
 requiring a great deal of strength and stamina. To find out more about how Laver & Wood […]

Laver & Wood’s Cricket Bat Lore Ch 17. Tools used in Traditional Batmaking II

Stage I Initial Machining and Preparation Willow Clefts before Dispatch The willow merchant, and at Laver & Wood this always means JS Wright & Sons, prepares the clefts for batmaking in their yards in Essex. After splitting the willow, a table circular saw with a 600mm ripping blade is used to rough out the cleft […]

Laver & Wood’s Cricket Bat Lore Ch 16. Tools used in Traditional Batmaking I

The bat making process can be divided up into three distinct stages. This chapter provides an overview of the entire process. Stage I Initial Machining and Preparation Willow arrives as a raw cleft that has been sawn to a rough size 28” long x 5&1/2” wide x 3” high. The ends of the cleft have […]

Laver & Wood’s Cricket Bat Lore Ch 15. Traditional Bat Making

Crafting cricket bats has changed dramatically in the last few decades, with mass produced, machined bats dominating the market. Using machinery and a production line where individuals only make one part of the bat means manufacturers can make as many as 50 bats per employee per day. Custom making bats is near impossible with machinery. […]

Laver & Wood’s Cricket Bat Lore Ch 14. Importance of Pressing Cricket Bat Willow

The game of cricket involves a bat that is made of a soft material and a ball made of a hard material. The ball, although hard on the outside, is designed to change shape slightly on impact thus minimising any potential damage to the bat. The bat is designed to withstand the pressure of the […]

Laver & Wood’s Cricket Bat Lore Ch13. The Coefficient of Restitution and Centre of Percussion – What are these?

Before becoming a bat maker James trained as a Construction Engineer. He has attempted to explain some engineering principles as they apply to cricket bats. The performance of a cricket bat is dictated by the physical properties of both the bat & ball, where the bat connects with the ball, and the relative velocities of […]

Laver & Wood’s Cricket Bat Lore Ch 12. Handle Manufacture

Cricket bat handles have been manufactured in the same manner for over 150 years. The process, from the time of harvest, may have become a little more mechanised over the years, but is still essentially the same as it was in the 1850s. Fumigation Fumigation, using Sulphur fumes brings out the best of the canes’ […]

Laver & Wood’s Cricket Bat Lore Ch 11. Revised Handle Laws

In the middle part of the first decade of this century batmakers began innovating with handle designs. This was driven partly by a shortage in high grade cane for handles, as well as a desire to create a point of difference with other bat makers though innovation. At the same time concerns that the bat […]

Laver & Wood’s Cricket Bat Lore Ch 10. Handle Breakage

Handles & the splice of the bat are one of the major break points in a bat. Careful craftsmanship can extend the life of handles. At Laver & Wood we are absolutely pedantic about how we make our handles, as we can dramatically reduce the chance of the handle breaking or the splice coming apart. […]

Laver & Wood’s Cricket Bat Lore Ch 9. Laver & Wood’s Handles

Laver & Wood use handles that are not too dissimilar to those used in the 1850s. We source our cane from South East Asia, and have experimented with making our own handles, although we also purchase handles in their most basic form. When handles arrive they will be about half to twice as thick as […]

Laver & Wood’s Cricket Bat Lore Ch 8. Laver & Wood’s Guide to Cricket Bat Handles

Cricket bats were originally made out of a single piece of wood. This meant there was no shock attenuation when the bat struck the ball. The bat would have jarred in the hands of the batsman every time they hit the ball. To overcome this problem bats were made out of two pieces of timber, […]

Laver & Wood’s Cricket Bat Lore Ch 7. Testing a Cleft

Part of the craft of hand making bats is understanding the type of bat each individual cleft is capable of becoming. A good bat maker can turn an average cleft into a bat that performs well, and a good cleft into a bat that is absolutely stunning. Each cleft has inherent qualities, the two most […]

Laver & Wood’s Cricket Bat Lore Ch 6. Grain Structure & Willow Colour

One of the most common questions asked by cricketers is how different grains perform in cricket bats. There are a number of different factors to consider when discussing grains, and there are no absolutely right answers. The natural variation in willow means that there are rules, rather than hard laws, about grains in bats. The […]

Laver & Wood’s Cricket Bat Lore Ch 5 Butterfly Willow

Butterfly stain has a unique place in the world of the batmaker. Butterfly stained willow may not have the aesthetics of a true white grained cleft. They do, however, often perform exceptionally well. The ball can really ping off a bat with a butterfly stain, so much so that some professionals only use bats with […]

Laver & Wood’s Cricket Bat Lore Ch 4 Grading Willow

Making a good bat begins with grading the willow. Grading willow is not an exact science. It is more a craft that is developed over time, where an intuitive feel for what a cleft can become is as important as any specific measurements. At Laver & Wood we grade each piece of willow at least […]

Laver & Wood’s Cricket Bat Lore Ch 3   Why English Willow

English cricket bat willow is regarded by batmakers world wide to be the highest quality. The growing conditions in England allow Salix alba var. Caerulea to grow at the ideal rate, especially in the warm, wet summers, which means the wood remains dense. Dense willow provides the best balance of performance and durability. Willow that […]

Laver & Wood’s Cricket Bat Lore Ch 2   Watermark Disease

Since the beginning of the twentieth century the cricket bat willow, Salix alba Caerulea, has been subject to a serious infectious bacterial disease, Watermark Disease. Watermark Disease results in the crown of the tree dying back, but rarely brings the death of an entire tree. This infection is known as watermark disease because affected wood […]

Laver & Wood’s Cricket Bat Lore Ch 1 Salix alba var. Caerulea

The Laws of Cricket state that the cricket bat blade has to be made of wood. The stipulation that the blade should be made of wood came about when the Australian player Dennis Lillee used an Aluminium bat in a test match against England in Australia in 1979. After only a few deliveries Mike Brearley […]

Cricket Bat Lore #5: Wide vs Narrow Grains

Presented by James Laver and Anthony van Dorsten.

Cricket Bat Lore #4: Moisture Content in the cleft

Presented by James Laver and Anthony van Dorsten.

Cricket Bat Lore #3: Oiling your bat

Presented by James Laver and Anthony van Dorsten.

Cricket Bat Lore #2: Bats for tall batsmen

Presented by James Laver and Anthony van Dorsten.

Cricket Bat Lore #1: Handle Types

Presented by James Laver and Anthony van Dorsten.