A Willow Story
Tiny Seedlings are planted and maintained in order to grow into large Willow trees used for the Cricket bats in Suffolk, the centre of the Cricket bat industry. When the trees are around 10-12 years old they’re cut down and checked for whether they’re good enough quality and the correct size (10ft long). The average amount of blades which are produced from each Willow tree is around two dozen. The manufacturing process of the Cricket bat is that of old traditions and modern methods developed throughout the 200-year history. The splitting of the wood is always done by hand and never with a machine. Then once these stages have occurred the blades are graded. The next step is the Willow blades are taken to factories where the wood is further strengthened, using a machine which provides a 600-pound pressure. When the blade is shaped, it is then ready for the splicing of the handle. This is made of Sarawak cane, as well as having layers of rubber to give extra power. The handle is then carefully shaped into a rounded shape using machines and hand tools. The final touches of the bat are done by craftsmen and not by machine, as the craftsman can get a professional judgement on the feel and shape of the bat. The handle is then finally wrapped in the traditional grip. 12 years since the seedling was planted and many years defining the blade, the Cricket bat is ready for being used.