Leatherstocking Hand-Split Billet Co. has been harvesting, processing and brokering logs for export and domestic use since 1994. Northeast hardwoods are world renowned for their superior quality. Leatherstocking Hand-Split Billet Co., which is located in Central New York’s Leatherstocking Region, is situated in an area that provides the perfect conditions for growing exceptional timber. By coupling log procurement expertise with an abundance of hardwood forests, Leatherstocking Hand-Split Billet Co. is well positioned to continue to meet the increasing demand for quality hand-split billets.
Our Grading Standards
Some bat manufacturers rely on sawmills to process their wood. Processing involves harvesting logs, sawing logs to produce billets, and kiln drying billets to an appropriate moisture content level. Sawmills do a good job of processing billets according to “lumber” standards (no knots, checks, splits, etc.). However, typical lumber standards are primarily focused on “appearance grade” and little thought is given to the structural integrity. To ensure the strength, safety and performance of a wood bat, a baseball bat billet must have exceptionally straight grain, which adds another dimension to typical hardwood lumber standards.
At Leatherstocking Hand-Split Billet Co., we utilize a proprietary grading system that ensures consistency and provides a reliable level of quality throughout all our grades. We offer four grades in Hard Maple and Ash and two grades in Birch and Soft Maple.
Our Hand- Splitting Process
Leatherstocking Hand-Split Billet Co. hand-splits each log to follow the wood’s natural grain, ensuring straight tangential grain, strengthening the bat and almost entirely removing the chance of a tangential slope of grain failure, in all grades. The importance of straight tangential (face) grain is critical, because the wood’s slope-of-grain has an overwhelming effect on the strength of the final baseball bat. By definition, slope-of-grain is determined by how close to parallel a piece of wood is produced with respect to the longitudinal axis of wood cells in the tree. When a piece of wood is processed so that it is perfectly parallel to the grain direction of the tree, it will have the highest strength. When wood is cut at an angle to the grain direction of the tree, the strength quickly diminishes, and a bat made with this wood is vulnerable to dangerous breaks or multiple piece fractures. Splitting is the only process that produces straight tangential grain with a near perfect success rate.
Our Vacuum-Kiln Drying Process
Traditional kiln drying creates a more browned appearance in the wood billet due to oxidation that naturally occurs throughout the drying process. Leatherstocking Hand-Split Billet Co. vacuum-kiln dries all of our products, which prevents oxidation from occurring by removing the air from the drying chamber. This creates the most consistently bright white wood billets available.
Leatherstocking Hand-Split Billet Co. was the first company to vacuum dry hand-split billets, combining the best methods to produce the absolute best product.
Standard Billet Specifications
The following standard specifications apply to all Leatherstocking Hand-Split Billet Co. billets:
- Length: 37” long (36” available upon request), Shorter lengths also offered, when available, at discounted pricing
- Order quantities: Full pallet (333 pieces), short pallet (250 pieces) - Discounts are offered for full pallet orders and for high volume orders.
- Weight (37” billet): Ultra-light weight <82 oz., light weight 82-90 oz., mid weight 90-99 oz. and heavy weight > 99 oz. [the preferred weight for MLB bats is 87-93 oz.]
- Prime Ash, Maple and Birch billets are sorted by weight
- Typical weight/sort for Ash is 50/50 light weight and mid weight [ultra-lights and heavy weights are sorted out]
- Typical weight/sort for Maple and Birch is 1/3 light weight and 2/3mid weight [ultra-lights and heavy weights are sorted out]
- Select Ash and Maple billets are weighed and heavy and ultra-light weight billets are pulled out but a consistent weight ratio is not maintained. All other sub-prime grades are unweighed (mill weights)