How Do B3 Make Cricket Bats?
May 10, 2023
Here at B3, we are recognised for having the most advanced, consistent bat-making process in our industry. Walking out to bat with a cricket bat that suits you in every aspect and a bat you trust will fill you with confidence at the crease. Combining the two will result in one thing ….. MORE RUNS!
Every cricket bat we make from the very first to the last out of the factory has its unique serial number. That serial number is the DNA of that bat and provides all the information we need to make the exact same bat again. That repeatable consistency, quality and performance are the key reasons our customers, from club players to the world’s top professional players, love their B3.
From Cleft to a Thing of Beauty
We love to welcome cricketers to our Nottinghamshire factory so they can see first-hand how we combine advanced tech and old traditional craftsmanship to produce our beautiful bats.
The Bumble Factory Tour
For those too far away from Nottingham to visit ‘Cricket Bat Heaven’ in person, we have our virtual factory tour. Let cricket legend, David ‘Bumble’ Lloyd take you through our bat making process:
Best English Willow – Guaranteed!
The demand for genuine, high-quality English willow is at an all-time high, and B3 Cricket is one of the few English bat makers who are supplied by the world’s top and most established English willow merchant, JS Wrights. JS Wrights supply us with the top three grades of Willow.
Wrights have been in business since the 1890s, so they know a thing or two about growing trees and turning them into the best clefts for making cricket bats that have both durability and ping!
Each cricket willow tree is grown in perfect conditions and nurtured for approximately 15 years before being processed into the clefts we use to make our bats. The clefts are seasoned initially in the open air and then finished in hi-tech kilns to a precise moisture content of 11 to 12 percent.
From Cleft to Blade
At B3 we process each cleft into a uniform shape, size and volume to enable us to measure the density. This allows us to match the blade to a specific design shape and the required weight when we receive a customer order. Our calculations are accurate to within 0.2 of an ounce of the required finished bat weight.
The Art of Pressing
Each blade is individually hand pressed by one of our experienced bat makers. Most mass manufacturers press their bats with automated machines which press every blade to the same pressure level. At B3, we individually press each cleft and test the blade for ping at various stages to ensure we get the maximum performance from each blade. Willow is a timber and natural product; no two pieces are the same. Our custom-built press, with accurate pressure gauges, enables us to maximise that all-important ping!
Top Tech: Predictable and Repeatable
Every B3 bat is ‘carved’ from the willow blade using our state-of-the-art CNC machine. The balance across both the length and width of the blade is unrivalled. This machine achieves a level of accuracy and consistency that can never be matched by the human hand.
Each B3 bat has its own DNA in the form of a unique serial number. This means we can easily make the same bat again when a customer finds a bat they really love.
Age Old Craftsmanship
Once the blade has been produced, the bat is completed using the same tools, techniques and bat-making craftmanship that have been used for over a century. The handle is fitted and glued, then left overnight to dry. Once dried, the excess wood is removed, and the handle, shoulders and toe are shaped using traditional techniques and tools such as spokeshaves and draw knives.
We Cater for Fussiness!
At B3 we love fussy customers, and the handle is one area many have a particular requirement.
The common handle preferences are round, slight, or full oval. However, we can cater for any requirement. Once complete, the handle is bound with twine, glued, and left overnight to dry.
Finished to Perfection
Finally, we sand, polish, and each bat on a series of machines before applying a beeswax seal. We aim to ensure every B3 belter leaves the factory in a beautiful A1 condition.
Stickers of Choice
At B3 we are renowned for our wide range of stickers which enable our customers to personalise their bat to their specific taste. There is something for everyone, from the subtlety of the clear stickers to the positively vibrant pink.
Preparing it for play properly is crucial to the performance and longevity of any cricket bat. ‘Knocking-In’ is imperative, and we provide an in-house service which includes the first hour of the process before we apply edge protection tape and an anti-scuff sheet.
Every customer is then encouraged to follow our video guides on bat preparation and care which can be found on our website and YouTube channel.
Final Inspection and Fast Turnaround
Finally, each bat is checked over by quality control and assuming it’s all good, shipped to your door or ready for you to collect!
We hope you have found the above of interest and will consider B3 next time you buy a new cricket bat.
Making your dream custom bat from start to finish usually takes 5-10 working days, depending on the time of year and workload. We also carry hundreds of ready-made bats in stock in our factory showroom, so if you need something immediately, there is bound to be a bat that suits you.
As we said at the beginning of this article, we love meeting cricketers and sharing our passion …. please feel free to come and see us. The kettle is always on!