With the English season over, now is a smart time to consider readying your bat for next year. And the right refurb can be as good as buying a brand new blade…
Think it all goes quiet for bat brands come the autumn? Think again. Once the curtain’s drawn on the season our willow craftsmen are inundated with sticks sent in from customers hoping to rescue a productive weapon. And quite right too, because, even if there’s not too much wrong with it, sending your bat in for a bit of TLC in the off-season can reap life-lengthening rewards in the long run.
Here, Woodstock Cricket bat-maker John Newsome details some of the common problems to arise at the end of a long summer of bat-usage – and how they can be put right.
For a full refurb, I’ll start by cleaning the bat with a spokeshave, removing the stubborn old labels ready for sanding. We also try and remove as much oil as possible as well as any face-guard or old, worn toe guards.
Handles can come loose after lots of batting and it’s not ideal if it happens mid-innings, or mid-shot! As part of any refurb it’s important to check the handle is in good shape and whether it needs replacing.
A well-used bat (like the Airstream pictured) will have any cracks or loose areas on the face found and carefully glued. This is done by prising the face up to make sure the glue gets underneath, then using traditional twine and a block of wood to clamp it in place to set.
TOE AND EDGE CRACKS
The most common problem! Toe feathering caused by crease tapping, as well as any toe or edge cracks, will all need to be dealt with. Any cracks or toe damage are glued and pinned down with dowel, before being placed in a traditional clamp to set and tighten back into position. Any refurbs that are glued are then left overnight to dry fully.
To finish, bats will then go through light sanding by machine to bring back the original wood finish. One grade of hand sanding then finishes the bat nicely, before beginning polishing on a polishing mop. Then we re-label, fit a new toe guard and a new grip. Hopefully your beloved blade will now look like a brand new bat!
Woodstock are offering three AOC readers the chance of a free bat refurb this winter. Enter here.