The Willow Story
Unique to the industry, Gray-Nicolls grow only the finest English willow for the production of their cricket bats. Salix Caerulea or Alba Var varieties are grown and harvested by the Company in a willow replenishment programme pioneered nearly 100 years ago.
The clefts are air-dried for approximately six weeks to ensure perfect moisture content and the very best performance. Every aspect of the bat-making process is carefully overseen to guarantee a product of excellent quality.
All bats are given a final quality control inspection. Performance is tested using a Lignum Vitae mallet. In this way, the world-renowned quality and performance of Gray-Nicolls bats are ensured.
The willow arrives in Robertsbridge and is cut into roundels. The roundels are sealed and left to dry for a few days.
Each roundel has its bark stripped and is marked ready for splitting into clefts. A cleft in its roughest form is cut and ready for machining.
The cleft is graded at this point and left for six weeks to air-dry which reduces its naturally high moisture content.
The handle is turned on a lathe to create the perfect shape. Each handle is then fitted into the cleft by hand.
Our Master Bat Makers ensure each bat is shaped to provide optimum balance, pick-up and performance. Bats are carefully sanded and buffed to give them their finished look and feel.
Each bat is then pressed, compressing the natural fibres enhancing the performance of each bat and providing the blade with its bow.
The handle is then bound and glued to add more strength.
Finally, the labels are carefully applied, and the grip is fitted.
The finished bat.