Cricket Bats Version 2
Well you may or may not have seen the newest update to one of SAF bats profiles the MechTen and noted that I’ve said it is a C to V profile. You are probably wondering what the heck that all means!!!!
C to the V
The profile shape on the MechTen has been changed to incorporate a new cricket bat design which I’m currently calling C to V. Basically towards the shoulder the back profile shape is C shaped and then transitions to V eg.
So the bat shape looks like this…
Ok now you have an idea of the profile shape, why do it?
Cricket Bats and natural frequencies
Most if not all cricket bats have 3 bending modes and torsional modes [twist], this we see in the super slow mo’s on TV when we see the blade of the bat vibrate. Vibration as we know it is energy loss. So we need to minimize this if we can without compromising feel.
Ok varying shapes will have differing natural frequencies for these bending modes so a bat with a notch removed from the blade will have lower frequencies with then a bat of similar weight without a notch taken out of it.
Still with me? Ok, lets use a quick made up numbers thing to explain this……
Say I have a bat and 1 of the bending modes for that cricket bat has a natural frequency of 850 Hz and the maximum frequency of the bat excited by a ball on impact is 1000 Hz. So that is 150Hz difference, so in real laymans terms you lose 150 Hz of energy at that bending mode. So add that up on all of the bending modes that is vibration energy loss. Got it, good!
Ok say I have the same bat and that cricket bats natural frequency is 1000Hz, on impact of the ball [you remember the maximum frequency is 1000hz for this] there is no energy loss! See what I did there, good.
V.2 New Profile, innovation!
Ok the C to V profile doesn’t take those bending modes above the maximum impact frequencies, if I said that it would be cricket bat heresy. What is does do is raise those natural frequencies to aid performance of the bat, whilst still giving you the same feel and balance you need as a batsman. It is a simple twist on traditional vs new and the C to V transition is a measured point on each profile shape made to account for the willow used.
I hope that gives you a better understanding of the new profile and why it is like that
Podshaver and Yorkshire Tea Drinker
The Cricket Bat Willow whisperer
I get plenty of strange looks when I bring a piece of willow up to my ear and tap it with my fingers to listen to the willow. You know those looks of, this guy is a bit nuts but I always wanted my bat maker to be a bit eccentric so that is good thing right.
So what am I actually doing, if anything!!!!! Basically I’m checking for resonance. Ok I think that is a new one, resonance of a cricket bat! Well lets break it down a bit.
We know that it is all about energy transfer and energy losses. So for energy transfer the less time a cricket ball stays on the blade of the bat the further the ball will travel, that is, the speed of energy transfer.
Right energy loss, willow as we know is very elastic so what we need to do is get the bat to settle to its original state as quickly as possible. That is, the faster this deformation takes places the further the ball will travel.
Right as bat makers we do some stuff you might think is akin to black magic. That is we press a bat and then shape it. Is this done, haphazardly, well I don’t and I been through why, remember all the stuff I’ve blogged about this before. For example a middle that looks to be 5 inches from the toe isn’t actually where it looks to be. I had one recently they looked at the bat, that isn’t it is higher then it should be, it wasn’t but I made another one.
Anyways I digress, back to resonance, energy loss, energy transfer, pressing, shaping and willow. Lets disregard speed of ball and stroke and hitting the middle on this one and say those energy thingys are related to the willow properties, the shape and the pressing. Hey that is all that is left afterall.
Ok here is the final bit, the pressing is related to the willow structure, the grain, its straightness, how well the grain is defined and the proportion of air in it is structure. The resonance of a bat is related to that willow structure and the pressing. Think of a drum and the thickness and tightness of the skin on top as pressing.
Getting to the end and it is one line after all that.
If a bat resonates nicely it will play well, that is why I tap a bat to see where the middle is and how well it play.
Sound technician and Podshaver
I get asked a few times how I ventured onto the cricket scene…..
Well back in 2006 after a life time of playing Rugby I decided to see if we could get together a Cricket Team together. My aims were simple piece together a ramshackle group that liked drinking, BBQs and ummm had never played cricket or not played since school. Actually cricket at this stage was secondary on my mind, I wanted to recreate the West Indies boundary atmosphere in the UK albeit with a little less Red Stripe but with the same amount of rum.
I was intrigued about the game, I wanted to see if the batsmen at the change of each over did actually discuss, as I assumed “What do you think is for tea today?” when they met halfway down the wicket or after teas “I really like that Lemon drizzle cake.” Also when a wicket fell and the fielders all grouped together did they discuss what was on the agenda for the pub crawl in the evening. The less wickets the less pubs visited I assumed! Was the guy fielding at the boundary by the pavilion sent there by the captain to see what the teas were like. There were loads of questions I needed answered!!!!!
So I set off on my quest, at this stage I was an avid spectator mainly due to the pavilion being open for drinks on a Saturday in the day and kids could run around in relative safety at the club. I say relative safety, I still think they should wear helmets to avoid the odd six that heads toward cow corner. Two birds one stone, the odd six, excellent!!!! With this in the back of my mind I approached the Club Chairman, cloth jazz cap in hand and with an innocent look on my face…..
As part of my continued interest in Cricket and its various idiosyncrasies I am looking to piece to gather a team to play at the club to dispose the myths that cricket would be a better game if golf carts where introduced. Additionally to dispel the rumour that is circulating in the village that it is some sort game involving insects pitting there wits against each whilst old men in ties and blazers fall asleep watching it. As cricket has been played solidly in this country, and indeed throughout the Empire ever since the Norman Conquest, except perhaps during the Dark Ages, when bad light stopped play. I am requested a small fixture list for a group of us to enjoy this game
Looking forward to your positive reply
Soon to be fixture Secretary for the Black Sheep XI
There rest is almost history !!!!
Well it looks like another rain effected week here in the UK and we need something to take our minds off that potential disaster that is the British summer.
Me personally I am not the best cricketer in the world and I use the term “cricketer” loosely!! Hey maybe that is why I make bats, some sort of compensation that would be loosely termed as a Ferrari driver for us people that look on in envy at those that have them. Actually I should quantify this, I should say those people that have a Ferrari key ring and place it strategically on bar for all to see, that sort of compensation!!!!
I guess that brings me neatly onto envy, the green eyed monster, not the one one eyed monster extension previously mentioned with regards to sports car drivers!!!! Some young lad training with one of boys at my local club, my boys are 9, told him the best bat in the world is a Gray Nichols coincidentally this young scamp owned a Gray Nichols. There is no surprise there other then my sons reaction. What did you say Joe, he replied I said “My Dad handmade mine especially for me from English Willow in a workshop down the road and is the best maker in the world, I think they cost £10 do you want one” I almost fainted not with the best maker in the world, I’m his Dad my Dad was the best Chef in the world when I was younger, nor the £10 remark but that he knew that I only handmade make from English Willow. Good lad I tapped him on the back and gave him £1 for sweets. Which is apparently 1/10th of a price of a size 2 bat!!!!!!!
Anyways this isn’t just a school boy conversation, it something you hear at every ground across the country most weekends. Hey look at this bat, what do you think, I get loads of this as you can imagine. My 1st question and I think the only question that should matter is ”Do you like it?” If the guy or girl likes it then who am I to tell him that the bat is no good, they paid there money for it, they like it and confidence is key. So bare that in mind when you are at rain a affected game and looking at peoples kit awaiting to play, ”Do you like it?”
I always make a point of butting into a conversation and asking “Do you like it” if I hear others waxing lyrical about someone else’s bat and more often then not put them on the spot, ”Whats wrong with his bat?” with a twinkle in my eye
Obviously if it is one of my bats spout out gushing praise for it!!!!!!
Podshaver and Bat admirer
Is it important to understand the willow? Straight into it I reckon!!!!
Cricket bat willow grain and perform
Lets go over some old ground, why not it is raining afterall…. Ok we know that cricket bats have grains running down the face of the bat and we know the grain itself is the end of year growth, the bark if you like. Well if you didn’t you do now!
So something like this:
Then in between all the grains, the vessels of the willow exist. We know the grain area is denser, so we will see something like this under a microscope.
No need to thank me for the pics. You can now see the grain is dense [here is the link for grains blog http://www.whichcricketbat.com/cricket-bat/cricket-bat-voodoo-willow-and-performance]
Brilliant almost getting to the point
Cricket Bat willow is a natural fibre reinforced composite!
Bear with me here! We know the vessel run through the cricket bat from shoulder to toe. We can see those vessels are layered in the willow itself and mixed with the grain. This longitudinal nature of the willow fibres determine some really important factors in cricket bats. That is, in this vessel orientation and layering we get stiffness, therefore the fibre reinforced composite heading.
So what are you talking about?
Well elasticity and bending frequencies. Due to the vessel layering it affects those aspects of the cricket bat, this leads to cricket bat performance. I wont go to far into this but here is a snippet. They are both intertwined here, elasticity and bending frequencies.
Ok bending modes of the bat, this is based on the bat shape [profile] and if you take into consideration the excitation range [vibration] of a cricket bat based on impact we know you can raise or lower the bending mode frequencies of a bat based on mass of the blade and handles, in layman terms a gain in performance/
But now you can see the willow itself, the vessel layering and the grain effect this as well and why the pressing of the blade is so important as this add another composite layer. Ah I see the composite light turn on didn’t it…
I think as I am just about to finish up here & I’m going to answer my own question!!!!
Yes it is important to understand the willow and not just grab a piece of it and work on it. There is more to look at then just that.
By the way as a quick aside this vessel layering is why Salix Alba Caerulea is used and also the environment in which it has grown in effects these vessels and there layering. Goodbye European willow, Canadian willow, English willow nutured in India and any other rumour you may have heard.
Hope you liked this one
Podshaver and English Willow fan
I had a long chat and email tennis with a very interesting and well informed chap today about Cricket Bats and I tried to relate hidden innovations in SAF bats to performance. Anyways I thought I’d right something about my bats and stuff you may not necessarily see.
Cricket Bat Balance
You may know it as pickup, that is, “weighs 2lb 12oz pickups like 2lb 8oz” or “Mate, that picks up like a railway sleeper” Whatever it is we are concerned about it! So apart from feel on the back swing what does it do? Well it is actually quite important really in technical terms not the actual back swing but the physical balance of the bat. This and hand position determines the centre of percussion [CoP].
A quick recap CoP results in minimum reaction force at the hands or as I sometimes simplify it to, your hands move neither forward nor backwards when you play a shot.
Additionally CoP is related to hand position, that is, mass and MOI when swinging about the hand pivot point. As I’ve previously said CoP moves that is, it isnt just the bat that control CoP it is combination of the batsman and the bat.
Anyways what I am trying to say what you dont see is that this has been taken into account therefore you see offset edges and spines on most of my profiles to account for that movement. It isn’t just a nice shape the whole swing from backlift to hitting the ball is all taken into consideration on the profile shapes
Cricket bat and ping
The “Sweet spot” isnt that the Centre of Percussion, well I often generalize this because I get asked about “ping” all the time. It is often easier then the longer discussion on this, which I had today by the way!
Sweet spot and or middling area is where the bat absorbs the least amount of vibrational energy during the impact with the ball! Great I hear you say I got that it is the big bit on a bat! Now for the hidden innovation please for sweet spot please?
Vibration on a bat is related to willow selection, pressing techniques, handles and mass distribution. Well not sure I’m innovative here! Maybe just with the pressing and my profiles differ to others [at the moment at least I see a few copying], handles are very good quality and willow selection well everything is handmade by me!
Well I think that is it for now
Podshaver and Yorkshire Tea drinker!
A bit fun with one of my sons who popped in to see me with my camera phone
He’s eight one of my twin boys and has artistic flair as you will see with his editing
PS: All drawknife work is realtime not speeded up or slowed down!!!! hahaha
PPS: I promise I will do one of those artistic video with the whole process in it soon!!!!!!