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 butterfly stains.

A bat made with a Butterfly Stain cleft

Butterfly stained bats have often come and gone as the market dictates. Mainly this is due to fashion, rather than a detailed understanding of what causes a butterfly stain, and what properties a bat with a butterfly stain contains.

Hugh Barty-King’s wonderful book ‘Quilt Winders and Pod Shavers, The History of Cricket Bat and Ball Manufacture’, eloquently describes how the stains are formed in the tree:

“Cracks caused by the trees swaying unduly in the wind, and taking with it some of the tannin from the bark. The rising and falling sap spread the stain slightly up and down, leaving faint lines like the wings of a butterfly. The process continuing year by year stained each succeeding ring to a greater or lesser degree, till finally the full design resembled a whole moth or butterfly. Such stains became known as ‘butterfly markings.’”

To find out more about Butterfly Willow please purchase Laver & Wood’s Cricket Bat Lore Volume I from Amazon.

More Laver & Wood Cricket Bat Lore chapter introductions can be found below.

1. Salix alba var. Caerulea

2. Watermark Disease

3. Why English Willow

4. Grading Willow

5. Butterfly Willow

6. Grain Structure & Willow Colour

7. Testing a Cleft

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

9. Laver & Wood’s Handles

10. Handle Breakage

11. Revised Handle Laws

12. Handle Manufacture

13. The Coefficient of Restitution and Centre of Percussion – What are these?

14. The Importance of Pressing Cricket Bat Willow

15. Traditional Bat Making

16. Tools used in Traditional Batmaking I

17. Tools used in Traditional Batmaking II

18. Tools used in Traditional Batmaking III

19. Tools used in Traditional Batmaking IV

20. The Weather & Bat Making

21. Preseason Bat Check

22. Bat Repair and Maintenance

23.  Knocking In

24. Oiling Bats

25. Moisture Damage

26. Batting in Wet Conditions

27. Making Bats Last Longer

28. Why Bats Break & How to Protect Them