What are the differences between ash & maple bats?
Ash and Maple bats both have their own unique characteristics, and therefore many players develop a preference over their career.
Ash has been the species of choice for baseball bats for over 100 years. It is a ring porous wood that has more flex and greater feel than maple, which are both desired qualities. Ash is more prone to breaking when the ball is mis-hit and can flake after extensive use due to the nature of the ring porous grain structure. Although ash bats are typically cheaper, they are often the choice of more experienced hitters and give that classic “crack of the bat” sound desired by so many.
Maple bats began to gain popularity in the late 90s and early 2000s. Stronger, stiffer and harder than ash, maple bats have excellent pop and typically have a longer life span than ash bats. The increased stiffness results in excellent pop but requires more strength to get the most out of the bat. Our maple bats meet the ink dot standard introduced by the Major Leagues in 2009, which indicates the slope of grain is within the 3-degree tolerance required for MLB play. Our proprietary manufacturing process mitigates the catastrophic failure that maple bats are known for and ensures that when your bat fails, it does so in a safe and predictable manner.
Both our ash and maple bats benefit from the increased strength, flex, durability, and safer fracture mechanics due to our proprietary manufacturing process.
What does the ink dot on maple bats indicate?
The ink dot is a mandatory quality control measure enacted by the MLB in 2009. The ink seeps along the radial grains allowing them to be measured accurately using a special tool. The radial grains on maple bats are more prone to failure than the longitudinal grains. Therefore, the face grain is the hitting surface for a maple bat. The MLB requires that maple bats are labeled 90 degrees opposite from ash bats, and ink dot tested to ensure the slop of grain does not stray more than 3 degrees from the centre axis of the bat. This means the fracture surface will extend along the bat preventing the barrel from shearing off and becoming a potential hazard.
Why do you swing wood bats label up?
It is very important to swing wood bats label up (or down) to ensure you strike the ball on the strongest hitting surface. All species have two directions of grain, longitudinal grain, and radial grain (face grain). Depending on the wood species, one grain structure will be stronger than the other. Ash bats are strongest when struck on the longitudinal grain and are labeled on the face grain. Maple bats are strongest when struck on the face grain and are labeled on the longitudinal grain.
How do I properly care for my wood bat?
Wood is a natural product and must be cared for properly the ensure long bat life. Although every Leadbury bat is sealed with 3 coats of hard, matte finish, the wood is still very sensitive to humidity fluctuations. Wood bats should be stored indoors and not left in extremely cold, hot, humid, or dry environments. This can cause the wood to lose or gain moisture, altering the weight and decreasing the strength of the bat.
Why is drying such an important part of the wood bat manufacturing process?
Drying is the most important process involved with manufacturing wood baseball bats. Even if the highest quality wood is used, it will not perform optimally if it is not dried properly. To be used for any product, wood must be dried from green to 6-10 percent moisture, depending on the species. This stabilizes the wood so that it can be crafted into a baseball bat.
The drying process does damage to the internal grain structure of the wood, thus reducing the strength of the bat. Our proprietary manufacturing process minimizes the damage done to the wood during drying, which increases the strength of the finished bat. Conventional drying methods can also create a moisture gradient in the wood. The outside of the bat becomes too dry before the inside of the bat is fully dried. This moisture gradient causes inconsistent structural properties and can create weak spots in the bat. Our proprietary manufacturing process dries the bats evenly, mitigating potential weak spots and ensuring bats remain intact when they break.
What is the difference between hand split wood and other methods?
Splitting wood for baseball bats is an old process that has gained popularity in recent years. When wood is split it fractures along grain boundaries, ensuring that the piece of wood used has the straightest possible grain structure. This piece is then rounded into a bat billet. Other methods include sawing and boring, both of which can result in billets that cross grain boundaries. These methods give higher yields and require less labour, but produce billets of a lesser quality.