After purchasing a new bat it is essential to carry out the following bat preparation before any hard ball play.
Step One - Oiling/Waxing
Raw linseed oil or a bat wax is used to maintain a bats existing moisture content; however you need to use either oil or wax very sparingly on each application. Too much oil in particular can add unwanted weight to the bat making it less porous. Too much oil applied to the bat reduces the spring that is fundamentally needed in a cricket bat, and instead will lead to a 'dead bat'.
- When applying oil or wax put approx. half teaspoon in the centre of the face of the bat and use two fingers to evenly distribute over any exposed willow avoiding the stickers.
- If oiling allow the lubricant time to absorb, and then wipe off any residue with a lint free cloth.
- Leave the bat face up overnight for approx. 12 hours if oiling or a few hours if using wax.
- After the specified time frame above apply another coat using a quarter of a teaspoon of the same oil/wax and leave face side up for 24 hours (oil) or an hour (wax).
- Remove any residue (oiling) and buff to a shine using a soft dry cloth (preferably lint free).
- The bat is now ready to be ‘Knocked In’.
- Do not leave the bat in an upright position during the oiling process
- Do not over oil/wax the bat
- Do not leave the bat standing in oil rather than following the above steps
- We recommend using a Bat Wax as it is nicer to use and is less messy
- If using a Bat Wax instead of oil, less ‘drying’ time is required in between coats. A few hours should be sufficient
- The above steps are for new uncovered bats. If using a scuff sheet it should be applied after steps one and two
Step two – 'Knocking In'
**Bats are sometimes advertised as ‘ready to play’ or ‘match ready’ however we personally recommend that the bat still has a minimum of 2 hours knocking in before match use**
‘Knocking in’ is a very important part of the bats preparation (minimum 4 hours recommended). During the process the fibres in the bat are stretched and have a chance to knit together which strengthens the bats durability. This creates a hard-playing face. The intention of this is to get the bat ready to withstand the impact of a hard cricket ball and minimise splitting.
A Bat Mallet is used to 'knock in'.
- Visually break the bat down into 4 areas (toe, sweetspot, top part of face, edges)
- Start gently and then increase to a medium force gradually increasing to hard hitting focusing around one hour on each area
- When knocking in the edges hold the bat at approx. a 45 degree angle. Strike the edge with a glancing motion (as a cricket ball would behave). The aim being to round off the edges
- Once you feel that the bat is ready to use, find a ball that is in good condition and has a decent seam and have some throw downs. If the ball leaves any kind of seam mark on the face then the bat is not yet ready so repeat 'knocking in'
- If however the ball does not leave a mark then the bat is ready for match play
- Once this stage is achieved, we highly recommend that you apply an scuff sheet as this will help retain the bats moisture. This will help to protect the bat from surface cracks and give the bat a longer life span
- Do not strike edges and toes at right angles
- This conditioning of the bat requires patience
- The time frame for 'knocking in' at bat is purely a guideline. All bats are different. By hitting a ball during the later stages of 'knocking in', you will be able to recognise when the bat is ready from the feedback and ping
- At the end of every season remove the scuff sheet (if used). This can be done by gently peeling away against the grain. If you go with the grain it will remove the grains fibres. A good way to do this is to gently heat up the edges of the scuff sheet using a warm setting on a hairdryer.
- Sand away any residue with very fine sandpaper (+180)
- Apply Bat Oil or Bat Wax as in the steps noted above with ‘initial bat preparation’.
- If however there is any damage to the bat which gives you cause for concern e.g. split toe, split shoulder, cracked edge etc – seek a bat refurber. *We can have this done for you, please contact us for further information.