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 hard surface of the new ball.
Pressing is important for two reasons. Without pressing the willow absorbs the velocity of the ball, rather than transference of the energy back to the ball. The hard surface created by pressing also protects the bat from damage. A key part of the batmakers’ craft is getting the right balance between pressing too softly and having a bat that lacks durability, and pressing too hard so its performance is killed.
Cricket bats have been pressed since the early 1800’s. Prior to shaping and balancing, the piece of willow was subjected to a huge amount of pressure by striking the surface of the willow with a heavy mallet. Pressing in this manner resulted in a very hard layer of compressed willow that made the bat very resilient to wear and tear. The only problem with this method was that the bat was very often too hard and did not perform.
More Laver & Wood Cricket Bat Lore chapter introductions can be found below.
10. Handle Breakage
23. Knocking In
24. Oiling Bats
25. Moisture Damage