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Planing Willow

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Anonymous

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Hi Chaps

I need a bit of general advice and I would like to take advantage of you expertise.

I am planning to purchase a electric plane to smooth the faces of cricket bats for my local team. The wood will be dented from the impact of the cricket balls on the willow. Therefore would you recommend a powered plane or a a hand one? My fear is that it would bump over the wood and not really do a good job.

I would like to take of the top layer of wood off to make it as flat as possible before finishing it off with sandpaper and giving it a wax finish.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated
 

trevtheturner

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Hi Walks,

Welcome to the Forum.

I think you would find an electric planer far too fierce, bearing in mind the reverence with which those cricket bats will need to be treated. I would tackle this task by hand, probably using a small block plane or, if not too many runs have been scored off them and the surfaces are fairly smooth, perhaps a card scraper (cabinet maker's scraper). If you use a scraper there would be no need for sanding.

Why a wax finish - might this encourage edges to the slips? Isn't the traditional dressing for a cricket bat linseed oil?

Cheers,

Trev.
 

Aragorn

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Are the faces of cricket bats straight and flat?
I always thought they were slightly shaped... :?
If so, then a spokeshave would be good, otherwise as Trev says.
 
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Anonymous

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Hi Walks

Welcome

I have an electric plane somewhere. I find them very hard to use when compared to hand planes and the finish is not comparable at all.

I find that I use hand tools 80+% of the time these days as you get much more control - especially with planes.

If buying a plane for the job, then I would recommend a new Record #4, old Stanley #4

Or, if you want quality, a Lie Nielsen, Veritas or Clifton #4 will prove to be an exceptional tool
 

Shady

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I'm not sure that this is appropriate...

From my (admittedly hazy) school memories, and from watching my sons, you can get some quite substantial 'dings' in cricket bats. To plane these smooth would reduce the weight and change the shape considerably - which I would expect a batsman to notice and possibly feel uncomfortable about.

I would try steaming the dents out (wet teatowel and and a household iron held over it - this will expand and moisten the fibres in the dent - it is surprisingly effective), and follow that with hand sanding to smooth any nicks/tears on the face (use a cork sanding block to maintain a good 'shape'). And follow with linseed oil, as mentioned above - that's the trad and appropriate finish for a willow bat.
 

Alf

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Welcome to the forum, Walks.

Aren't the faces of the blades specially compressed...? :-k Er, yep, here we are. How would exposing a fresh surface effect that, I wonder? And doesn't that defeat the purpose of knocking in too? Plus, as Shady says, it'll change the lift and swing. Personally I would think it a complete no-no all along the line. :?

Cheers, Alf
 

tim

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I strongly recommend that you don't plane them at all. All the advice above about shape, weight and compression is correct. How badly are they damaged to even warrant thinking about doing that? Can you post a pic?

Re finishing; linseed oil is the traditional way and again I certainly woudln't recommend using wax. I think that someone secretly waxes my top edge just before going out to the crease. Certainly in the walk back to the pavilion =D> =D> =D> =D> a few minutes later :oops: thats the only thing I can think of! :lol:

Cheers

Tim
 
A

Anonymous

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Thank you for your promt responses.

I can definitely see where you are coming from. I will probably go down the route of hand finishing them with sandpaper. Then at least I can monitor how I am getting on.

The purpose of having hte blade smooth if for the application of an adhesive plastic sheet called anti scuff which reduces the damage caused by cricket balls and also seals in the linseed oil. This sheet is the same material used to protect helicopeter rotor blades.

A wax finish is what is given to all new cricket bats, and is purely cosmetic and does not affect the performance of the bat.

Thanks for your help again, and I will let you know how I get on!

Adam
 

Shady

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Walks - final thought from me: if any are really heavily bashed up, a powered sander might be the way to go: go for a random orbit rather than a belt sander (less aggressive action). It might save a lot of hand sanding. Let us know how it goes: it's an interesting project.

Of course, you could fill all the dents with an epoxy/colloidal silica mix, coat the entire bat with a flowing epoxy, and machine sand the whole thing to shape... :wink: Not trad, but I bet it would last well :)
 

Alf

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Well after some Googling on the anti-scuff stuff, it seems to me it's something you'd put on a new bat before it had dents to remove. Certainly the advice seems to be not to oil the face of the blade before applying the anti-scuff, which makes sense as it must effect how well it adheres. As far as wax goes, I cynically think the wax has more to do with making new bats look appealing and shiny than anything else... I would still strongly advise against removing any more material than you might with a light hand sanding, fwiw. Epoxy I think would probably deaden the bat? Anyway, if they're bats from any reputable manufacturer (and I would guess they are, if you're keen to protect them) then it might be worth asking their advice.

Cheers, Alf
 
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