Cricket is one of the most popular sports in the world, with countries across the globe using cricket as not just a way of recreation, but actually as a major sport and a way of life. The acceptance and popularity of the game have witnessed a tremendous increase in recent times, with the claim reiterated by the significant increase in the number of cricket followers worldwide.
In addition to the spectators, and players, the cricket bat is an extremely important part of the game. The quality of the bat and of course, the expertise and experience of the player go a long way in determining the result of a cricket game. While the cricket bat remains an important part of playing cricket, players have not particularly been able to access quality bats to suit their needs. This is so as many of the bats available are either exorbitantly priced or do not offer the quality and durability demanded by users. The need for a bat that matches the height and other such needs of the players is also a leading cause for making a somewhat custom cricket bat. Consequently, it has become necessary for people to try to make their own cricket bat.
Construction a Cricket Bat
One of the most important parts of a cricket bat is the blade, making up the majority of the bat. The blade is a wooden block that generally comes in a flat shape on the striking face and a ridge on the reverse, with a somewhat concentration of wood in the middle to allow for a strong hit of the ball by the player. While there are several materials that can be used in making the cricket bat, willow wood seems to be the traditional wood material for making cricket bats.
The variety of white willow called Cricket Bat Willow (Salix alba var. caerulea), has particularly become popular with cricket bats. The wood is usually treated with raw linseed oil to protect it and enhance the durability of the bat. This variety of willow is very tough and shock-resistant, which explains why it is commonly used for making cricket bats. These features ensure that the impact of a cricket ball at high speed does not dent or splinter the bat, with its lightweight making it is easy to swing the bat. The bat’s face is usually covered with a protective film.
The blade of the bat is connected to a cylindrical cane – the handle, which shares some similarities with a mid-20th-century tennis racquet. The handle of the bat is usually covered with a rubber grip for easy and firm handling.
Over the years, the design of bats has evolved, with the current design of the handle, where the handle is spliced into a willow blade through a tapered splice invented in the eighties by Charles Richardson, a pupil of Brunel. The invention became necessary after previous splice handles broke at the corner of the join after a few usages. The introduction of the taper provides a gradual transfer of load from the blade to the handle, solving the problem of the breaking handles.
The blade is divided into different parts with the edges closest to the handle called the shoulders while the bottom of the blade is called the toe of the bat.
As mentioned earlier, the design of bats has evolved over the years, with earlier designs shaping the bats like a modern hockey stick, which could have been attributed to the origin of the game.
Step by Step process of construction a cricket bat
It is worth noting that making a cricket by yourself is not as difficult as most people think. However, the task is not particularly easy, requiring a bit of skill, and of course, getting the right ingredients in place to ensure you make a bat that you will enjoy playing with and most importantly, win games.
Wood of willow trees is usually the major type of wood used in making cricket bats due to the wood’s features. Scientifically known as Salix alba Caerulea, the wood is a soft and fibrous wood, making it a good choice for cricket bats, especially as it allows players to swing easily and precisely as they aim to defeat their opponents. However, using this wood means that players are required to regularly and adequately take care and maintain the bat if they want to last and keep performing at its possible best.
Practice batting is an important activity for improving your play and performance at cricket and if your plan is to make a bat for yourself at home, you will, of course, be a DIY enthusiast and someone that has some knowledge of working with the wood. As mentioned earlier, making a cricket bat is not particularly easy and you will require a little above 2 hours of work to create a bat you can be proud.
Below is a comprehensive yet easy to follow guide on how to make a cricket bat on your own at the comfort of your home, whether you intend getting into England’s cricket team or you just want to have some fun with friends and loved ones. The first step to making a cricket bat besides having some knowledge of how to work with woods is to get the necessary ingredients. Consequently, we have put together a list of the ingredients required to make a cricket.
- Willow wood, which is the first and probably the most important of all ingredients.
- Scrap iron
- Table saw
- Band saw
- Metal clamps
- Rubber strips
- Wood laminate
- Wood plane
- Draw knife
- Compound wax
- Sand paper
Once you are able to put together the ingredients mentioned above, the next step will be to get your hands dirty as you look to get down to the business of creating a cricket bat using the ingredients you have gotten.
The steps to be followed in creating a cricket bat are detailed as follows.
Step 1 – Selection of Wood
The first step in the process of making a good cricket bat is to select the wood cut you intend using for the making the bat. This step is important whether it is a commercial process or an individual one, which is, in this case, making the bat at home.
Wood from English willow trees has been identified to come with minor imperfections. However, these issues do not have any significant effect on the final result. The first step in this phase is to pre-cut the section of the wood to be used into a workable size. This will be followed by waxing the wood on both ends while waiting for it to dry. It is advised that you give enough time for the drying period to ensure that the wood dries properly. This is to prevent it from cracking or warping, which would mean that all your effort has gone to waste as it will be impossible to use the wood.
Step 2 – Cutting of the wood into the shape of a bat
The second step of making a cricket bat at home is cutting the wood into the basic shape of the cricket bat using a table saw. This is the first time you will have to use a table saw and like any other process, it is advised that you are careful as you use the saw.
When cutting the wood, it is important to note that the front part should have a raised peak that will go roughly halfway up to the centre. You should also that the back of the bat is flat. The size of the bat is an important feature of a cricket bat and the size is usually dependent on the height of the person that intends using it. However, average bat lengths range from 15 ¼” for small kids to 33 1/2″ for the tallest adults. There are a lot of resources on the internet to help you in determining the right measurement of a cricket bat.
Step 3 – Compression of the wood piece
The process of making the cricket bat seems to be getting more technical with each step and understandably so. The third step of the process will be to compress the wood piece. This is to add strength to the willow fibres. This process will involve surrounding the piece with flat pieces of iron scrap, which should be about the same size as the blade of the bat. Subsequently, strong clamps are used to add pressure to the compression. It is recommended that you try as much as possible to get close to 2000 pounds per sq. inch to ensure that the bat is as strong as possible.
Step 4 – Making the handle for the cricket bat
The handle for the cricket bat is usually made with rubber strips and a cane. This is the fourth step and another important part of the process of making a cricket by yourself. The handle of the bat is an important part of the bat as it determines how strong a swing will be. Consequently, the handle should be as comfortable as possible on the grip. It is recommended that you glue the rubber strips to the wood before you laminate the entire piece.
The lower part of the handle should be cut into a wedge shape, which will be subsequently carved into the blade of the bat using a band saw. This is another process that requires all the care and attention possible as not only do you want to ensure that the cut as accurate as possible, but you also want to avoid hurting yourself in the processing of doing the cutting.
Once you are through with carving the handle of the bat, stick it in place and make sure that the top part is a little bit extended above the front part of the blade. Conclude this step by leaving it to dry overnight.
Step 5 – Carving the blade for the cricket bat
This is the step where you have to use the draw knife mentioned above as part of the ingredients. Here, a draw knife is used in carving the blade for the cricket bat, while making sure that there is a perfect balance. It is advised that you leave the maximum wood behind in the striking position of the blade. This is needed to ensure the bat is stronger and more durable. A wooden plane should be used in carving and smoothening out any imperfections observed.
Step 6 – Sanding the cricket bat out
Even factory made cricket bats are not made to perfection, though it is a bit difficult to notice the shortcomings. Therefore, aiming to create a perfect homemade cricket bat can be almost impossible, especially if it is your first time. However, you are bound to see an uneven texture on your bat. Therefore, you will need to sand the cricket bat out using sandpaper. This will make the texture more even while giving the bat a smooth finish.
Step 7 – Application of compound wax
Once you are through with sanding the cricket bat out, the next step will be the application of compound wax to the bat. This is done to polish the cricket bat and give it a more attractive look while also helping to ensure its durability.
This step is, of course, one of the easiest steps of the bat making process.
Step 8 – using the cricket bat
There is no step after applying a compound wax to polish bat and you can start using your custom made cricket bat and may be maximize your chance of getting into the English cricket team.
It is worth noting that while the wood of willow trees is one of the commonest types of wood used in making cricket bats, there are other types of woods that will give equal results. You also want to note that the steps mentioned above would not necessarily give you a perfect custom made cricket bat. This is particularly true if it is your first time of doing such a project. However, you can be sure of getting better and making an even better bat as you proceed.