Splitting: A Craftsmen Trade Brought Back to Life
Historically, all wooden bats were made by splitting logs and then turning those triangular staves into round billets. This resulted in wood baseball bats that had straight-grained wood.
Today, with higher production sawing equipment and increased demands for yields and efficiency, a large percentage of wood billets are sawn from logs. Often, logs that are produced at a sawmill are sawn across the radial and/or tangential slope of grain, weakening the bat and making it vulnerable to dangerous breaks or multiple piece fractures. Because the tangential grain is difficult to see with the naked eye, it is commonly overlooked.
Over the last few years, MLB has mandated that all bats sold to MLB players must have an ink dot on the face (tangential) grain. This method helps indicate the direction of the grain on the bat. Though it helps identify the grain direction, it is not always properly determined and does not eliminate the use of all bats with poor slope of grain. Sawn billets with poor slope of grain still make it into players’ hands at all levels of the game and can cause dangerous breaks or multiple piece fractures.
When wood is hand-split, it naturally follows the tangential grain instead of forcing the cut with a saw, strengthening the bat and all but removing the chance of a slope of grain failure. Leatherstocking Hand-Split Billet Co. does not saw its billets. Each log is hand-split, providing consistent quality, higher yields and safer wooden bats.