The Big Bat Company

English willow cricket bats handmade in Hampshire

Having studied and researched the bat manufacturing industry, Nick Ranger was shocked that approximately 80% of English willow is exported to India and Pakistan. International brands use this willow to make their bats in these countries then ship them back to the UK because it's cheaper. The carbon footprint of bat manufacturing is therefore huge which concerned Nick greatly, particularly with the damage to our planet through climate change being so prevalent in the media.

This started a project which culminated in Nick launching the Big Bat Company with his ethos being "locally sourced & locally made". This allows Nick to make bats without the overheads of international brands, and all willow is grown within 150 miles of BBC's base in Hampshire, this in turn keeps the price low.

 

To make a cricket bat you first need some quality willow. The best bats in the world are made from English willow due to the perfect growing conditions in the UK. Other species such as Kashmiri willow grown in the sub-continent are drier and more brittle.

Willow is a tough fibrous wood which grows best in wet soils. Each tree is harvested between 15 and 20 years old and after felling, is cut into rounds of approximately 30 to 40 inches. These rounds are then split following the natural splits in the trunks. Each round is split into roughly 8 to 10 clefts, and then into blades which are stacked to allow the wood to dry. This process is usually done in kilns.

After drying, the willow is graded from Pro to grade 4, with grading being purely cosmetic, not necessarily based on performance. Brands usually prefer cosmetic perfection, hence the desire for the highest grade.

 

We buy willow clefts from Kent and Buckinghamshire which our suppliers press to produce bats of superlative performance. Once in the workshop we work with our customers to produce bespoke cricket bats individually crafted using traditional pod shaving tools, with each bat being hand-finished.

With the Platinum bat, each customer can request a specific profile, weight and middle location to suit their needs and playing style. Shaping takes place using traditional tools such as draw knives, block planes and spoke shaves. The pod shaver will remove wood from the blade to balance the bat, ensuring a maximum amount of wood in the hitting zone whilst retaining a balanced pickup.

 

Professional cricketers are usually sponsored to use certain makes and receive free bats. Their bats are dried a little more to allow for a lighter blade with more physical wood on it. These bats will only last on average 500-1000 runs because it is not as robust, pressed less and drier.

Once the customer is happy with the weight, profile and balance of the bat we finish it by sanding it down, giving it a coat of oil and wax, fitting an anti-scuff sheet and sealing the toe.

Our bats are pressed to give you fantastic performance and a product that will last.

Platinum - bespoke range made from Pro Grade willow.

Titanium - NEW FOR 2020 made from grade 1 willow.

Gold - NEW FOR 2020 made from grade 2 willow.

 

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