Here at B3 we use the most advanced technology to produce your exact preference when it comes to the size and shape of your cricket bat. You choose from the thousands of options and our unique computer aided design (CAD) software and CNC machinery will make it within our custom built factory here in Nottingham.
However once the machines have done their magic, there is still a lot of manual craftsmanship to finish the shoulders, handle and toe to absolute perfection. This combination of advanced technology and traditional skills are what make B3 unique and we love nothing more than to welcome cricketers to the factory to see first-hand the complete B3 bat making process.
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:
Here at B3 we only use the finest grades of English cricket bat willow which we source from JS Wrights & Sons, the biggest and best in the business. Each cricket willow tree is grown in perfect conditions and nurtured for approximately 20 years before being processed into the clefts we use to make our bats. The clefts are seasoned in hi-tech kilns to ensure the level of moisture is perfect for making great cricket bats.
The rough cleft is then turned into a ‘blade’ using traditional woodworking machinery.
Density is Key
Now we have a uniform blade we are able to calculate (using special formulas) the density of the individual piece of willow. This enables 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, our hand pressing process allows us to ensure we get the correct pressure level for each blade. This is key because willow is a natural material and therefore each blade can require more or less pressing and pressure. We take our time and also test the blade with a bat mallet several times throughout the process to make sure we maximise that all important ping!
Precision and Balance
Once pressed to perfection the CNC machine is programmed to the desired design (bat shape). The machine carves the back of the bat to a level of accuracy and symmetry which ensure your bat is perfectly balanced.
Predictable and Repeatable
Now there are some great traditional bat makers out there or ‘pod shavers’ as they are known. However no human can match the exactness of our process! What’s more, each B3 belter has a unique serial number. This serial number is your bats DNA which means we can make exactly the same bat again and again.
We often get new customers call in or ring the factory to say they have seen a team mates B3 and ask if they can have one exactly the same. We just say, “of course, what’s the serial number?”
This consistency and repeatability means that once you’ve got a shape and weight that you love, we can make sure you get this time and time again.
After the CNC we fall back in line to our traditional bat roots, where the handle is fitted to the blade, each handle is expertly fitted by hand to make sure it fits perfectly, increasing the life of your bat.
The Finishing Touches
Final finishing of a B3 bat involves blending the shoulders into the handle and making sure that the handle is finished to your desired shape. The common handle preferences are either round, slight oval or full oval, however, we can cater for any requirement. In fact we love fussy customers! Once complete, the handle is bound with twine, glued and then left over night to dry.
Once dry, your bat will be ‘knocked-in’ and given a final sand before we apply our special polish to provide the perfect finish to your B3 willow.
Stickers of Choice
Finally the all-important choice of stickers and grip are applied along with an anti-scuff sheet if you’ve chosen that option.
Each bat is checked over by quality control and assuming it’s all good, shipped to your door or ready for you to collect!
A Pro Service within a Week
To make your dream custom bat from start to finish usually takes around 5-7 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 straight away then this may be an option.
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!