High quality handles are produced using Manau cane harvested from the jungles of Sumatra. And Malaysian Sarawak cane The 3 metre canes are initially boiled in oil and dried in the sun for several weeks before being graded according to size they are then cut to the right length, split and then the faces planed to ensure a good gluing surface. The planed pieces of cane are then glued together with three cork / rubber laminations for shock absorption.
The top part of the handle is then shaped to the batmakers specification and shipped ready for the splice to be cut. The most popular pattern has 9 pieces of cane with 3 rubber inserts. Once the splice (V) has been cut this, it can be fitted in to the blade using a mallet to make sure the handle has reached the base of the joint. PVA adhesive is used to ensure a strong joint is made.
The first solid Manau cane handles were used in 1853, they were deemed to cause too much vibration which made the bat painful to hold therefore rubber laminations were introduced in 1856, the same handle materials are used to this day. We do however use carbon in some handles now due to the need to use a renewable resource.
At Laver & Wood we usually make our bats with an oval shape at the base of the handle. We use this shape as it provides more strength to the handle and helps to diffuse the shock waves created from the ball meeting the blade.
The oval shape in the lower handle also gives the bat a better directional feel. It is hard to grip the bat too hard with the bottom hand. One can only hold with thumb and forefinger, which encourages the top hand to control the shot.
The oval shape improves the pickup due to having a larger mass nearer to your body. Most batsmen that feel our oval handle will never revert back to a round one.
The round handle is best suited to those who like to use their bottom hand to hit the ball hard and lift it.
The size of a batsman’s hands can alter the specification of the handle. This is changed by either applying extra rubber grips or in the case of needing a thinner handle, specifying you have small hands when you place your order.
We can provide a standard round handle on request, but recommend the oval handle for anyone who wants to bat technically correctly.
The number grips you have on your bat will be determined by personal preference. As a rough guide all of the bat weights we have specified in recommendations are with one rubber grip. Each additional grip will increase the bat’s weight by one and a quarter ounces.
We do have double thickness rubber grips for those who like a thick handle or have big hands. These do weigh three ounces so add considerable weight to the bat.
Increasing the number of grips raises the centre of gravity and improves bat speed, as well as the feel of the bat. Too many grips, however, can make the bat feel very heavy and seem to be without life.