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Equipment => Bats => Bat Making => Topic started by: JK Lewis on October 16, 2018, 07:50:06 PM

Title: Narrow Grain vs Wide Grain - Amateur Science
Post by: JK Lewis on October 16, 2018, 07:50:06 PM
Evening all. There's often lots of discussion about Narrow Grain willow and Wide Grain willow - the pros and cons, similarities, differences and everyone's personal preferences. I thought I'd run a little test on this, try to bring some amateur science to bear and see if I could shed any light on the issue, or simply add fuel to the fire. :)

I've chosen 2 clefts to study and mess around with over the next weeks and months. Best case they eventually become bats that can be tested against each other, we'll see how that works out. For now, some facts, and photos:

In this photo, the Wide Grain cleft is on the Left, the Narrow Grain cleft is on the right.

(https://i.postimg.cc/vTGJhxCz/X2.jpg)

The Narrow Grain cleft is from a tree grown in Sudbury, Suffolk, about 3 miles from where I live. It was planted in 1987 and grew about 80 metres from the River Stour. I felled the tree on August 14th 2018 and cut this cleft on or around August 31st. It has 16 grains across the face of the cleft.

The Wide Grain cleft is from a tree grown in Boxford, Suffolk - approximately 4 miles away from the other tree. It was planted around 2006 and grew about 25 metres from the River Box. I felled the tree on August 7th 2018 and cut this cleft on 26th August. It has 5 grains across the face.

(https://i.postimg.cc/ydC4JbP2/X4.jpg)   

Due to my rudimentary sawing skills :) , the clefts are similar in shape and size, but not identical. The full dimensions of the 2 clefts are as follows:

                        Narrow Grain     Wide Grain

Length                 702 mm            770 mm 
Width                  125 mm            131 mm
Spine                   80 mm              72 mm
Edge                    56 mm              52 mm
Original weight    3992 g               3822 g
Today's weight     3226 g               2832 g


Both trees were mature enough to fell, but the Narrow Grain tree (Sudbury) was bigger. From the grain structure though (each gap between grains signifying 1 year of growth), we can see that the Wide Grain tree (Boxford) has been bulking up nearly 3 times faster, due to being planted considerably closer to the main water source and also benefitting from its location on a downslope. On average, the Wide grains are approximately 22 mm apart, pretty amazing growth each year to be honest.

Since being cut, both clefts have been airdrying in stacks in my workshop, within 5 metres of each other. Immediately after sealing them, I weighed both clefts and marked them with the measurements. In preparation for this post, I weighed them again today, approximately 6 weeks from their date of cutting.

(https://i.postimg.cc/Kz7XtDpj/X3.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/L87MSXZ9/X1.jpg)

So, this is the first interesting issue to comment on. As you can see from the scales, in just 6 weeks the Wide Grain cleft has dried faster, and has lost 990g - 25.9% of its original weight. The Narrow Grain cleft has only lost 776g - 19.2% of its original weight. This suggests to me that faster growing willow is made up of less wood fibre, and more water, which makes sense. The fibres of the wide grain cleft are therefore less dense and moisture is released more easily.

My personal belief is that there is little difference in performance between Narrow and Wide grain willow. But, I also believe that due to its higher density, narrow grain willow is stronger, and more durable - all things being equal, narrow grain bats last longer. I'm not sure if I will be able to prove or disprove this theory with this experiment, but I'll give it a go!

The next step will be to complete the drying of both clefts in a kiln. I will post an update at that stage. Any thoughts, comments or suggestions welcome.
Title: Re: Narrow Grain vs Wide Grain - Amateur Science
Post by: Buzz on October 16, 2018, 07:56:26 PM
Threads like this is what this forum is for. Thanks Justin.
Title: Re: Narrow Grain vs Wide Grain - Amateur Science
Post by: CricketXI on October 16, 2018, 08:25:05 PM
Very good little experiment. But as you suggested this is not a big enough sample to "Prove or disprove " the wide spread believes.
I would like to know from you and other forumites- Which cleft will they bank on to perform better as an end product.
Title: Re: Narrow Grain vs Wide Grain - Amateur Science
Post by: alexhilly1492 on October 16, 2018, 08:37:56 PM
Fascinating!

Great thread!

Out of interest, where in the tree weíre these clefts from, top or bottom?
Title: Re: Narrow Grain vs Wide Grain - Amateur Science
Post by: JK Lewis on October 16, 2018, 08:42:43 PM
Fascinating!

Great thread!

Out of interest, where in the tree weíre these clefts from, top or bottom?

Great question, sadly I don't have an accurate answer for you. All I can tell you is that the wide grain cleft came from a very standard tree, 4 rounds high. The narrow grain cleft came from a much older, taller tree, 10 rounds high.
Title: Re: Narrow Grain vs Wide Grain - Amateur Science
Post by: alexhilly1492 on October 16, 2018, 08:45:09 PM
Great question, sadly I don't have an accurate answer for you. All I can tell you is that the wide grain cleft came from a very standard tree, 4 rounds high. The narrow grain cleft came from a much older, taller tree, 10 rounds high.

Thanks for replying!

Iíve been thinking recently if you can tell the difference between two bats purely based on characteristics from where in a tree they were from (higher or lower)?
Title: Re: Narrow Grain vs Wide Grain - Amateur Science
Post by: kaustav on October 16, 2018, 08:50:11 PM
Very intriguing thread Justin. Thread of the month for me. Thanks for sharing and good luck with your experiment.

P.S: You should share a pic of your living room with the other bat neatly packed in the showcase. ;)
Title: Re: Narrow Grain vs Wide Grain - Amateur Science
Post by: InternalTraining on October 16, 2018, 09:02:29 PM
Would you able to measure displacement of a pendulum like item when dropped from a marked distance before and after the drying process?

Title: Re: Narrow Grain vs Wide Grain - Amateur Science
Post by: leatherseat on October 16, 2018, 09:09:16 PM
Looking forward to seeing the results of this.

Sounds like the wide grain cleft is lower density and should therefore make a larger bat for a given weight. It will be interesting to see if this becomes reality, or if the rate of drying is the key difference, with the narrow grain ending up at a similar or lower density when the drying process has ended.
 
Title: Re: Narrow Grain vs Wide Grain - Amateur Science
Post by: addu84 on October 16, 2018, 09:52:11 PM
Awesome Justin. Many thanks for this. I will definitely be following this closely !
Title: Re: Narrow Grain vs Wide Grain - Amateur Science
Post by: stevat on October 16, 2018, 09:56:26 PM
Great thread, always an interesting read your posts, and well written too - should collate them and release a book.

Very interested to see the results - I guess I would expect the wider grain to perform quicker given it's capacity to dry quicker and thus lower density. Who knows though?!?!
Title: Re: Narrow Grain vs Wide Grain - Amateur Science
Post by: JK Lewis on October 16, 2018, 10:15:36 PM
Would you able to measure displacement of a pendulum like item when dropped from a marked distance before and after the drying process?

Interesting idea. What could I use? Would a golf ball work maybe? I'll have a think.
Title: Re: Narrow Grain vs Wide Grain - Amateur Science
Post by: InternalTraining on October 16, 2018, 11:12:21 PM
Interesting idea. What could I use? Would a golf ball work maybe? I'll have a think.

Whatever is the object striking the surface should be (or closer to) 5.5 oz. Could be a cricket ball too. Spring loaded gadget with a flat surface ? Ultimately, the trick is to measure the rebound either distance or force and correlate the results with bat's performance after production.
Title: Re: Narrow Grain vs Wide Grain - Amateur Science
Post by: edge on October 17, 2018, 05:30:34 AM
This will make interesting reading as usual Justin! My guessing is that if any conclusions are there to be drawn they'll tally up with the accepted wisdom of narrow grain bats perform earlier but wide grainers last longer. Will you aim to make them into identical shape or weight bats?

Performance testing would be relatively simple - lie the bats horizontally and drop a new ball from a set height. With a scale in the background and a decent quality camera recording it should be fairly easy to compare bats accurately. Not sure what there is to gain from testing before they're pressed but could be interesting if anything significant comes out of it.
Title: Re: Narrow Grain vs Wide Grain - Amateur Science
Post by: JK Lewis on October 17, 2018, 08:16:34 AM
Will you aim to make them into identical shape or weight bats?

Hello Ed, that's a question I've been pondering as well. I'm coming down on the side of same weight, variable dimensions, and then get properly good batsmen to test performance. But we have lots of time to debate the pros and cons!

Either way, we will need to rope in a better batmaker than I, who can make them as similar as possible. Maybe a forum sponsor might take up the challenge, in the name of science.
Title: Re: Narrow Grain vs Wide Grain - Amateur Science
Post by: SAFC2403 on October 17, 2018, 11:48:10 AM
This is going to be an interesting thread to watch.

Most of my older bats are wide grained - i have a 80's powerspot that could probably still be used - whereas some of my clubmates modern bats with lots of tight grains are knackered in less than 2 seasons.
Title: Re: Narrow Grain vs Wide Grain - Amateur Science
Post by: prim0pyr0 on October 17, 2018, 12:06:07 PM
You could measure shore hardness of the bat face, electron microscope the wood structure or even cross section under light microscope. 3 point bend test would be interesting... Wouldnt be great for bat making after tho.
Title: Re: Narrow Grain vs Wide Grain - Amateur Science
Post by: JK Lewis on October 17, 2018, 01:26:07 PM
You could measure shore hardness of the bat face, electron microscope the wood structure or even cross section under light microscope. 3 point bend test would be interesting... Wouldnt be great for bat making after tho.

Nice ideas! They probably require a bit more equipment than you'll find kicking around in my garage tbh. We'd need to get a university research lab involved.
Title: Re: Narrow Grain vs Wide Grain - Amateur Science
Post by: InternalTraining on October 17, 2018, 02:13:49 PM
This is going to be an interesting thread to watch.

Most of my older bats are wide grained - i have a 80's powerspot that could probably still be used - whereas some of my clubmates modern bats with lots of tight grains are knackered in less than 2 seasons.

That is scary as I reaped the benefits of "tight grains" this season. I hope that bat lasts more than 2 seasons. :)
Title: Re: Narrow Grain vs Wide Grain - Amateur Science
Post by: Gurujames on October 17, 2018, 03:43:25 PM
It stands to reason as timber splits easily along the Grain. Therefore, the more grains there are the greater the chance of splits.
Title: Re: Narrow Grain vs Wide Grain - Amateur Science
Post by: Buzz on October 17, 2018, 04:48:05 PM
Also older wood (more grains) is drier in the middle/heartwood area so will be more brittle.
Title: Re: Narrow Grain vs Wide Grain - Amateur Science
Post by: Gelds on October 17, 2018, 06:07:11 PM
Fascinating thread! Look forward  seeing how they progress.
Title: Re: Narrow Grain vs Wide Grain - Amateur Science
Post by: adb club cricketer on October 17, 2018, 06:19:54 PM
Great thread!
Title: Re: Narrow Grain vs Wide Grain - Amateur Science
Post by: Mfarank on October 17, 2018, 06:37:21 PM
Its threads like these that made me join the forum in the first place! I feel like einstein when i discuss these topics with my teammates later  :D
Title: Re: Narrow Grain vs Wide Grain - Amateur Science
Post by: Biggie Smalls on October 17, 2018, 07:34:29 PM
Awesome.
Go team wide grains ! Whooooo !
Title: Re: Narrow Grain vs Wide Grain - Amateur Science
Post by: FattusCattus on October 17, 2018, 08:08:39 PM
This is brilliant Justin!

I still believe pressing has a massive part to play. My bat is a ĎSussexí made one, it pinged from the word go and only has 6 grains.

And letís not even start on butterflies!  (How did yours end up at the end of the season @JK Lewis
Title: Re: Narrow Grain vs Wide Grain - Amateur Science
Post by: JK Lewis on October 17, 2018, 10:22:31 PM
This is brilliant Justin!

I still believe pressing has a massive part to play. My bat is a ĎSussexí made one, it pinged from the word go and only has 6 grains.

And letís not even start on butterflies!  (How did yours end up at the end of the season @JK Lewis

Good news, it survived completely intact. Less good news, the boss still won't let me hang it above the fireplace.
Title: Re: Narrow Grain vs Wide Grain - Amateur Science
Post by: Grubby on October 18, 2018, 06:50:46 AM
I will also be watching this with interest.
Title: Re: Narrow Grain vs Wide Grain - Amateur Science
Post by: SAFC2403 on October 18, 2018, 07:54:13 AM
That is scary as I reaped the benefits of "tight grains" this season. I hope that bat lasts more than 2 seasons. :)

My aldred has 12 tight grains and i'm hoping that lasts longer than 2 seasons as well - took barely any knocking in and was pinging from the get go but i remember a 5* GN took AGES to knock in.

I suppose its a balance really - do you want a bat that performs pretty much from the get go but wont last or something that takes longer to open up that should last a while.

Budget v performance
Title: Re: Narrow Grain vs Wide Grain - Amateur Science
Post by: JK Lewis on October 18, 2018, 11:11:20 AM
My aldred has 12 tight grains and i'm hoping that lasts longer than 2 seasons as well - took barely any knocking in and was pinging from the get go but i remember a 5* GN took AGES to knock in.

I suppose its a balance really - do you want a bat that performs pretty much from the get go but wont last or something that takes longer to open up that should last a while.

Budget v performance

Couple of batmakers I know prefer to say that a bat should last for 2000 runs, 2500 runs or whatever. I guess it covers them a little better. Makes sense really, I mean I only play 12-15 games a season but others may play 30 or 40. Some of us bat longer and harder than others too of course!
Title: Re: Narrow Grain vs Wide Grain - Amateur Science
Post by: ppccopener on October 18, 2018, 11:18:29 AM
so many bats these days and breaking JK in comparison to previously, ive had 3 break, as in break so bat they are unuseable, and one my mate used broke too, that's 4 between us in 2 seasons

do you think the quality of balls these days in leagues and grade 1 multi grain bats simply don't mix? this is what Andrew Kember says in the video on their website.

if we want longevity, should we go for less grains. ive just picked up a Warsop off ebay and it has 6 grains only...but it looks like it could last this one

 :)

Title: Re: Narrow Grain vs Wide Grain - Amateur Science
Post by: SAFC2403 on October 18, 2018, 11:46:42 AM
so many bats these days and breaking JK in comparison to previously, ive had 3 break, as in break so bat they are unuseable, and one my mate used broke too, that's 4 between us in 2 seasons

do you think the quality of balls these days in leagues and grade 1 multi grain bats simply don't mix? this is what Andrew Kember says in the video on their website.

if we want longevity, should we go for less grains. ive just picked up a Warsop off ebay and it has 6 grains only...but it looks like it could last this one

 :)

I've never broken a bat - My last 3 bats were a GN longbow 5*, a GN dynadrive and most recently a bat from Paul Aldred.

Guess i'm never at the crease long enough to break one...... :D
Title: Re: Narrow Grain vs Wide Grain - Amateur Science
Post by: WalkingWicket37 on October 18, 2018, 12:19:23 PM
Couple of batmakers I know prefer to say that a bat should last for 2000 runs, 2500 runs or whatever. I guess it covers them a little better. Makes sense really, I mean I only play 12-15 games a season but others may play 30 or 40. Some of us bat longer and harder than others too of course!

2000 runs you say.
If I play 40 games a season, my current stick should see me through to 2058...
Title: Re: Narrow Grain vs Wide Grain - Amateur Science
Post by: Kulli on October 18, 2018, 12:30:49 PM
2000 runs you say.
If I play 40 games a season, my current stick should see me through to 2058...

I believe they say it should last 2000 runs or 2000 posts on CBF, whichever comes first.
Title: Re: Narrow Grain vs Wide Grain - Amateur Science
Post by: JK Lewis on October 18, 2018, 01:35:44 PM
so many bats these days and breaking JK in comparison to previously, ive had 3 break, as in break so bat they are unuseable, and one my mate used broke too, that's 4 between us in 2 seasons

do you think the quality of balls these days in leagues and grade 1 multi grain bats simply don't mix? this is what Andrew Kember says in the video on their website.

if we want longevity, should we go for less grains. ive just picked up a Warsop off ebay and it has 6 grains only...but it looks like it could last this one

 :)

I think they do break more than they used to yes. Personally - and I know there's lots of debate on this - I think that it is caused by a combination of overdried willow, harder, lower quality balls and softer pressing. I hedge my bets a little bit to be honest, but I honesty don't think there is one single cause. We live in a disposable society so to some extent it is the same with bats as frying pans or socks. But, pans and socks don't cost £400. A clubmate of mine uses a Dukes bat that is shaped like an SS Jumbo. The thing is about 30 years old and there's barely a mark or crack on it. You can't hit the ball off the square with it, but it will last for ever. You pays yer money, you takes yer choice...
Title: Re: Narrow Grain vs Wide Grain - Amateur Science
Post by: SOULMAN1012 on October 18, 2018, 01:51:20 PM
Looking forward to reading this thread with interest, and great to see a bat maker doing his best to educate people in a common myth,

Personally I havenít not purchased a G1 £400 bat in ages but I have picked up multi grain lower G2 and G3 bats as well as wider grain G2 & G3 bats.

I do still have some top end bats form Kember, TK and GN and performance wise I personally do not notice a real difference as a well pressed 4 grain bat will perform as well as a 20 grain bat in my opinion
Title: Re: Narrow Grain vs Wide Grain - Amateur Science
Post by: JK Lewis on October 18, 2018, 02:00:31 PM
Looking forward to reading this thread with interest, and great to see a bat maker doing his best to educate people in a common myth,

Personally I havenít not purchased a G1 £400 bat in ages but I have picked up multi grain lower G2 and G3 bats as well as wider grain G2 & G3 bats.

I do still have some top end bats form Kember, TK and GN and performance wise I personally do not notice a real difference as a well pressed 4 grain bat will perform as well as a 20 grain bat in my opinion

This is quite an interesting side point, from a cleft / batmaking point of view. A 4 grain bat will likely be a 5 grain cleft. It could be 6 but probably 5. The thing is, using Wrights grading structure which - like it or not - is the Gold Standard, a 5 grain cleft cannot be graded higher than G3. So, if I cut down wide grain trees, however well they have been maintained and however good the timber looks, I will have great difficulty in selling the clefts as G2 or G1.

But, you may well go to a shop and buy a 4 grain bat as G2 or even G1. It could be beautiful, blemish free sap wood and you're happy to pay the dough. My point is, for what it's worth, that bat likely didn't start off as G2 or G1.
Title: Re: Narrow Grain vs Wide Grain - Amateur Science
Post by: SOULMAN1012 on October 18, 2018, 02:14:05 PM
This is quite an interesting side point, from a cleft / batmaking point of view. A 4 grain bat will likely be a 5 grain cleft. It could be 6 but probably 5. The thing is, using Wrights grading structure which - like it or not - is the Gold Standard, a 5 grain cleft cannot be graded higher than G3. So, if I cut down wide grain trees, however well they have been maintained and however good the timber looks, I will have great difficulty in selling the clefts as G2 or G1.

But, you may well go to a shop and buy a 4 grain bat as G2 or even G1. It could be beautiful, blemish free sap wood and you're happy to pay the dough. My point is, for what it's worth, that bat likely didn't start off as G2 or G1.

I totally agree in the grading really is pointless in that some offer G1+, player grading or what ever, itís just a way that could generate a way to stretch further profit margins from the best looking willow clefts.

Currently knocking in a 5 grain GN ultimate and itís performance, depth of sound and ultimately ping is superb, because it has been pressed very, very well
Title: Re: Narrow Grain vs Wide Grain - Amateur Science
Post by: six and out on October 18, 2018, 04:20:44 PM
I think they do break more than they used to yes. Personally - and I know there's lots of debate on this - I think that it is caused by a combination of overdried willow, harder, lower quality balls and softer pressing. I hedge my bets a little bit to be honest, but I honesty don't think there is one single cause. We live in a disposable society so to some extent it is the same with bats as frying pans or socks. But, pans and socks don't cost £400. A clubmate of mine uses a Dukes bat that is shaped like an SS Jumbo. The thing is about 30 years old and there's barely a mark or crack on it. You can't hit the ball off the square with it, but it will last for ever. You pays yer money, you takes yer choice...

Really interesting thread, thanks Justin for taking the time to put it together.

The 2000 runs comment is interesting... I reckon I am about that, on average I buy a new expensive match bat every 2/3 seasons. And i am facing a rock hard new ball every weekend.

Regards why bats aren't lasting as long, another big reason I think is the general care people take of their bats these days I just don't think is like it used to be. I speak to guys at my club when they buy a new bat and they are using it straight out the packet or saying that the shop knocked it in a little so that's enough etc... then they seem surprised when it starts cracking!!
Title: Re: Narrow Grain vs Wide Grain - Amateur Science
Post by: JK Lewis on October 18, 2018, 05:22:50 PM
Really interesting thread, thanks Justin for taking the time to put it together.

The 2000 runs comment is interesting... I reckon I am about that, on average I buy a new expensive match bat every 2/3 seasons. And i am facing a rock hard new ball every weekend.

Regards why bats aren't lasting as long, another big reason I think is the general care people take of their bats these days I just don't think is like it used to be. I speak to guys at my club when they buy a new bat and they are using it straight out the packet or saying that the shop knocked it in a little so that's enough etc... then they seem surprised when it starts cracking!!

Yes, I agree completely. It is a little bit chicken/egg I think. We don't put the hours in to help extend the lifetime of a bat, in part because we don't think it will last long anyway. I have to say as well though that my dear old mum was much more tolerant of bats being knocked in than my wife has turned out to be!
Title: Re: Narrow Grain vs Wide Grain - Amateur Science
Post by: InternalTraining on October 18, 2018, 06:19:32 PM
Bats that are going to break, show signs of weakness early on in their lifetime whether it is overdried blade or weak handle.  My trusty (retired) CA lasted 5.5 sessions and still good to go. I did take care of it in terms of gluing and oiling.

I think it also depends on how you use a bat. I don't tap my bats and I certainly don't lean on them (I see some batsmen using their bats like tent poles). So, no tapping, no leaning, hitting from the middle, and certainly no lending bats to bat beggars. I expect light bats to break whereas heavy bats (2-11 and up) tend to age better but handles might give out.
Title: Re: Narrow Grain vs Wide Grain - Amateur Science
Post by: WalkingWicket37 on October 18, 2018, 09:22:15 PM
Bats that are going to break, show signs of weakness early on in their lifetime whether it is overdried blade or weak handle.  My trusty (retired) CA lasted 5.5 sessions and still good to go. I did take care of it in terms of gluing and oiling.

I think it also depends on how you use a bat. I don't tap my bats and I certainly don't lean on them (I see some batsmen using their bats like tent poles). So, no tapping, no leaning, hitting from the middle, and certainly no lending bats to bat beggars. I expect light bats to break whereas heavy bats (2-11 and up) tend to age better but handles might give out.

That's the part most will struggle most with...
Title: Re: Narrow Grain vs Wide Grain - Amateur Science
Post by: SD on October 18, 2018, 11:24:04 PM
I would suggest that those not using the middle of the bat aren't doing so out of choice.

Very interesting experiment.  Conventional wisdom - at least where I grew up playing the game - is that narrow grain bats open up quicker but delaminate quicker and that wider grain bats take longer to open up but have greater longevity when they do but, more recently, removing move moisture from clefts to produce bigger bats seems to have reduced the life-span of all bats.
Title: Re: Narrow Grain vs Wide Grain - Amateur Science
Post by: prim0pyr0 on October 19, 2018, 06:46:59 AM
Really interesting thread, thanks Justin for taking the time to put it together.

The 2000 runs comment is interesting... I reckon I am about that, on average I buy a new expensive match bat every 2/3 seasons. And i am facing a rock hard new ball every weekend.

Regards why bats aren't lasting as long, another big reason I think is the general care people take of their bats these days I just don't think is like it used to be. I speak to guys at my club when they buy a new bat and they are using it straight out the packet or saying that the shop knocked it in a little so that's enough etc... then they seem surprised when it starts cracking!!
People use scuff sheets now, never did previously.
Youre right about expectations changing on how long bats shld last. I think ppl blast the ball around more, hit harder more often prehaps.
I do recall bats breaking 20 years ago from toe cracks, stumps too(havnt seen that in awhile)
Title: Re: Narrow Grain vs Wide Grain - Amateur Science
Post by: JK Lewis on November 15, 2018, 08:14:21 PM
Right, about time for a follow up I think. As you can see in the photos below, the airdrying has slowed down now. Both clefts have lost over a kilo, interestingly over the past couple of weeks the Narrow grain (NG) cleft has lost a little more than the Wide Grain (WG) cleft - kind of catching up in a way. I guess this is because weight is lost from the outside in, so weight loss slows as the moisture has to be drawn from deeper within the wood.

WG cleft
(https://i.postimg.cc/4ygHmpSk/20181115-110220.jpg)

NG cleft
(https://i.postimg.cc/PJQpZNgL/20181115-110240.jpg)


Anyway, time to move to the next stage. Both clefts are now in the kiln, the WG cleft is at 70% of its original weight, the NG cleft is at 74%. I have placed them in the stack close together as you can see, so that the drying conditions for both are as similar as possible. I also measured the moisture levels, going into the kiln the WG cleft showed 20%, the NG cleft showed 22%. I am aiming to dry the stack to 10% moisture, +/- 2%.

(https://i.postimg.cc/c1R8P5vs/20181115-121938.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/65BGKLZC/20181115-121956.jpg)

So, I'll be firing it up tomorrow, and hope to be able to report the dried results in a month or so. All being well we can then move towards a couple of bats in the new year. Any comments or questions welcomed as always.
Title: Re: Narrow Grain vs Wide Grain - Amateur Science
Post by: stevat on November 15, 2018, 09:06:48 PM
These threads are fantastic reads always. You should consider compiling them from the serialised prose into a book. Would be a great coffee table book with all the imagery of the process, and the science experiment as a sort of substory.
Title: Re: Narrow Grain vs Wide Grain - Amateur Science
Post by: jamesisapayne on November 15, 2018, 09:23:15 PM
Just look at that stack of clefts, you lucky, lucky man!!!
Title: Re: Narrow Grain vs Wide Grain - Amateur Science
Post by: edge on November 15, 2018, 10:23:16 PM
Just look at that stack of clefts, you lucky, lucky man!!!
I tried to concentrate on science and results and this is all I could think! Mmmmm clefts....
Title: Re: Narrow Grain vs Wide Grain - Amateur Science
Post by: JK Lewis on January 01, 2019, 06:34:45 PM
Evening all, and a very happy new year. It's been a while, but I've been back in the workshop today so time for an update on the NG vs WG project.

The kiln drying is complete, so I weighed and measured our 2 clefts - see the results below. All good, nice drop off in weight so I'm really happy with that.

                   NG               WG
Length         698mm        762mm
Width          124mm         127mm
Spine           77mm          73mm
Edge           55mm           52mm
Weight        2364g           2314g


NG
(https://i.postimg.cc/JhLDRyM1/20181218-082309.jpg)

WG
(https://i.postimg.cc/FFWL0sgZ/20181218-082251.jpg)

Once measured up, I then trimmed and tidied the clefts, to get them as close as possible to identical in size. This gives a better indication of the actual difference in the weight of the two different pieces of wood. As you may remember, the WG cleft was considerably longer than the NG, so after trimming it actually ends up around 200g lighter - approximately 7 oz. Pretty significant I would say, demonstrating again that faster growing wood is bulked up with more water, which is easy to release under drying.

So the final dimensions of the 2 clefts are as follows:

                  NG               WG
Length         667mm        666mm
Width          122mm         122mm
Spine           67mm          66mm
Edge           47mm           45mm
Weight        2026g           1832g


NG
(https://i.postimg.cc/3xp0MjMS/20181218-130400.jpg)

WG
(https://i.postimg.cc/9FswN8kw/20181218-130425.jpg)

So, here are the 2 clefts side by side. They're not perfect G1s of course, but I reckon they look pretty good and will be fine for the purposes of this project. In the close up photo you can really see the difference in growth rates between the two. I imagine both clefts will gain back a few grammes over the next days, but this should be pretty even so is unlikely to affect the results.

(https://i.postimg.cc/257qyzSn/20181218-130541.jpg)

Extreme Close Up!
(https://i.postimg.cc/281BGR0f/20181218-131052.jpg)

So now we move on, to Stage 2 - The batmaking. I am very happy to report some big news on this. You know my own 'skills' are rudimentary at best, so I've nagged and begged and finally roped in the Forum's very own @Northern monkey to handle this bit. I'll be sending the 2 clefts over to Mark in the next days and I have no doubt he'll do a fantastic job with them. My idea is that we should request 2 bats that are as close to identical in profile and dimensions, with the expectation that the WG bat will end up around 3oz lighter. I think that doing it this way will give us the fairest test of the different clefts, but I'm very keen to hear thoughts from the Forum on this.

As always, comments and ideas welcomed. Best wishes for 2019!  :)
Title: Re: Narrow Grain vs Wide Grain - Amateur Science
Post by: Number4 on January 02, 2019, 03:02:02 AM
Iíd like to see 2 bats at the same weight with the same profile shapes to show the size differences.
Title: Re: Narrow Grain vs Wide Grain - Amateur Science
Post by: ammo on January 02, 2019, 04:31:33 AM
^Yup, same weight and same profile. Weight should be the same if you are comparing performance/durability.
Title: Re: Narrow Grain vs Wide Grain - Amateur Science
Post by: Cholrudee on January 02, 2019, 05:06:53 AM
What price will the 5 grainer be when completed?
Title: Re: Narrow Grain vs Wide Grain - Amateur Science
Post by: Mfarank on January 02, 2019, 05:40:51 AM
I think the best way of comparing would be to have them of the same profile and dimensions and ideally similar pressing process. just compare the difference in weight and performance. Kinda like how GM do it
Title: Re: Narrow Grain vs Wide Grain - Amateur Science
Post by: Number4 on January 02, 2019, 06:12:49 AM
I think the best way of comparing would be to have them of the same profile and dimensions and ideally similar pressing process. just compare the difference in weight and performance. Kinda like how GM do it

I think if you are going to compare performance then the bats need to weigh the same and be tested by the same person. You donít change between a 2lb 5oz and 2lb 8oz bat do you? How would that be a fair comparison?
Just my thoughts
Title: Re: Narrow Grain vs Wide Grain - Amateur Science
Post by: JK Lewis on January 02, 2019, 09:07:31 AM
Excellent responses, thank you! The wisdom of crowds and all that. No problem, if equal weight/different size is considered by the majority to be the best test, then so it will be. What should we aim for, maybe 2lb 10oz, something like that?
Title: Re: Narrow Grain vs Wide Grain - Amateur Science
Post by: Mfarank on January 02, 2019, 09:10:40 AM
Id say get the lighter cleft and try to get a 2.10 finished bat out of it. Then go with the heavier cleft and try and achieve the same profile and the same dead weight
Title: Re: Narrow Grain vs Wide Grain - Amateur Science
Post by: JK Lewis on January 02, 2019, 10:09:10 AM
What price will the 5 grainer be when completed?

Hi @Cholrudee Thanks for your question. To be honest I haven't thought selling it really. Stage 3 of the project will be 'Forum Testing' where the bats are passed from forum contributor to contributor, so as many people as possible can give their direct input on the results. This stage will last as long as it lasts and I don't know what condition the bats will end up in!

If you want to buy a similar cleft from the same tree, this can be arranged through The Batmakers Shed. Then you could get a local batmaker to turn it into the bat of your choice. Just let me know.
Title: Re: Narrow Grain vs Wide Grain - Amateur Science
Post by: JK Lewis on January 02, 2019, 10:10:48 AM
Id say get the lighter cleft and try to get a 2.10 finished bat out of it. Then go with the heavier cleft and try and achieve the same profile and the same dead weight

Yep, I think so too. 2.10 is a good middle ground I reckon, most of us can work with that in nets or matches.
Title: Re: Narrow Grain vs Wide Grain - Amateur Science
Post by: Northern monkey on January 02, 2019, 10:37:19 AM
Thoughts on shape/profile?
Title: Re: Narrow Grain vs Wide Grain - Amateur Science
Post by: Mfarank on January 02, 2019, 10:39:19 AM
The standard mid/low sweetspot duckbill VK shape seems like the most popular shape nowadays
Title: Re: Narrow Grain vs Wide Grain - Amateur Science
Post by: JK Lewis on January 02, 2019, 10:57:00 AM
Thoughts on shape/profile?

I really like that one at the top of your page 18. Looks great and I think you could get the same bat out of both clefts.  Should have them over to you mid next week.
Title: Re: Narrow Grain vs Wide Grain - Amateur Science
Post by: jayralh on January 02, 2019, 12:14:08 PM
Thoughts on shape/profile?
Both should be same profile to compare later on. Personally I like full profile no to minimum concaving with wood spread all across.
Title: Re: Narrow Grain vs Wide Grain - Amateur Science
Post by: edge on January 02, 2019, 11:05:57 PM
I'd either go for batmaker's choice on profile or something fairly generic, mid middle etc. so as not to skew people's judgement. Looking forward to seeing how this progresses, top stuff @JK Lewis !
Title: Re: Narrow Grain vs Wide Grain - Amateur Science
Post by: bostoncricketer on January 03, 2019, 12:55:23 AM
The narrow grain has a lot of heartwood. Does that add to the weight and lesser mositure loss?
Title: Re: Narrow Grain vs Wide Grain - Amateur Science
Post by: JK Lewis on January 03, 2019, 07:46:04 AM
The narrow grain has a lot of heartwood. Does that add to the weight and lesser mositure loss?

That's a good question. I've wondered about it myself, my suspicion is that heartwood is a little heavier. I can't prove it either way with this current test, but I'll look for suitable wood to experiment with.

In theory the new bat regs limit the top of the weight range that would be available. In practice it probably doesn't matter as few players want massively heavy bats anyway. But, if heartwood is actually heavier, then a completely heartwood bat might offer a few extra ounces that sapwood might not.
Title: Re: Narrow Grain vs Wide Grain - Amateur Science
Post by: InternalTraining on January 03, 2019, 06:18:08 PM
In theory the new bat regs limit the top of the weight range that would be available.

That's interesting, I didn't know (or think) about this. What do you think is the upper limit that a bat maker/pro can get away with these days?
Title: Re: Narrow Grain vs Wide Grain - Amateur Science
Post by: JK Lewis on January 03, 2019, 07:47:12 PM
That's interesting, I didn't know (or think) about this. What do you think is the upper limit that a bat maker/pro can get away with these days?

@DorsetDan is right, 3lb+ is still comfortably possible, and if you wanted even heavier you could use a less-dried cleft anyway, or a different type of wood. So in practise, as I said earlier, the new regs don't really have an effect on this. I just find it interesting to ponder what new limitations might mean. Personally I think there are better ways to achieve a rebalancing of bat and ball, but hey, that's a debate for another thread!
Title: Re: Narrow Grain vs Wide Grain - Amateur Science
Post by: Northern monkey on January 10, 2019, 03:36:19 PM
(https://i.postimg.cc/pX9VDcN6/94-F1-BD17-C7-BA-468-C-BA36-8-B27-BD56-AF4-A.jpg)

Clefts arrived Justin
Title: Re: Narrow Grain vs Wide Grain - Amateur Science
Post by: JK Lewis on January 10, 2019, 05:44:03 PM
(https://i.postimg.cc/pX9VDcN6/94-F1-BD17-C7-BA-468-C-BA36-8-B27-BD56-AF4-A.jpg)

Clefts arrived Justin

Excellent! Thanks mate, I'm excited to see the results.  :)
Title: Re: Narrow Grain vs Wide Grain - Amateur Science
Post by: Northern monkey on January 10, 2019, 06:21:46 PM
(https://i.postimg.cc/T1CrZrrp/A6-D275-E0-4-A50-4-ED4-BE58-A09-F3-AE842-A5.png)

We all ok with this shape?
Weights gonna be 2.11 ish finished,,,, thereís a lot of wood in that profile
Title: Re: Narrow Grain vs Wide Grain - Amateur Science
Post by: tushar sehgal on January 10, 2019, 06:52:47 PM
(https://i.postimg.cc/T1CrZrrp/A6-D275-E0-4-A50-4-ED4-BE58-A09-F3-AE842-A5.png)

We all ok with this shape?
Weights gonna be 2.11 ish finished,,,, thereís a lot of wood in that profile

Looks a lovely shape...
Title: Re: Narrow Grain vs Wide Grain - Amateur Science
Post by: JK Lewis on January 10, 2019, 08:26:34 PM
(https://i.postimg.cc/T1CrZrrp/A6-D275-E0-4-A50-4-ED4-BE58-A09-F3-AE842-A5.png)

We all ok with this shape?
Weights gonna be 2.11 ish finished,,,, thereís a lot of wood in that profile

This is great. 2.11 should be good for most of us, and will give a decent middle.
Title: Re: Narrow Grain vs Wide Grain - Amateur Science
Post by: JK Lewis on February 14, 2019, 03:53:14 PM
So just following up the brief post I added on the @Northern monkey thread yesterday, I thought I'd share some photos of another Wide Grain cleft I've got. All trees grow in the same way of course, but when the growth is so rapid (25mm per year or so), it makes it very easy to see how the growth builds and changes through the year.

Here's 3 photos of the same cleft, a 4 grainer. Growth is from Right to Left. As we all know, each grain indicates the period of dormancy during the winter months. Sap is low, the leaves have fallen, photosynthesis is not taking place, water is not being drawn up the trunk, growth is stopped. Then the spring arrives, the tree 'wakes up' and a period of intense growth takes place. As you can see, the tree bulks up with water so rapidly that the fibres of the wood are widely spaced. As summer arrives, there is less water available to draw up. The growth gradually slows and through the rest of the year the density of the fibres increases.

(https://i.postimg.cc/CLTmWFfG/WG4.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/MT2s0qxK/WG1.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/4NNWQ8Ct/WG2.jpg)

So, what then does this tell us about wide and narrow grain clefts? Clearly, there is a lot more water in WG timber, and less wood fibre. So it follows that when we dry these clefts out the weight is likely to be less than NG clefts. This is reflected in the current experiment, as Northern Monkey's careful notes demonstrate. But might this high growth also help explain the performance and longevity of WG bats? As we see, there are significant areas of lower density wood, which might be more 'springy and pingy', but may also be more likely to break up under the pressure of a hard ball.

Hopefully we can try to answer some of these questions when the 2 bats are ready to play. Come on Northern, have at it!
Title: Re: Narrow Grain vs Wide Grain - Amateur Science
Post by: LBWCandidate on February 14, 2019, 04:30:11 PM
This is so exciting.  :)
Title: Re: Narrow Grain vs Wide Grain - Amateur Science
Post by: JK Lewis on October 31, 2019, 07:02:52 PM
Evening all! And thanks for your patience on this, it really has taken ages - busy year, cricket season, family stuff etc etc. Anyway, you'll be happy to hear that I'm finally getting on with the next stages of this experiment. I had the great pleasure of paying a visit to the home and workshop of forum legend @Northern monkey yesterday afternoon. Excellent stuff, lovely to meet up with Mark and talk bats and batmaking with him. Dude's made his own press! Proper engineering project there, it just shows what you can achieve with a little thought

The Monkey has worked his magic with the 2 clefts - Narrow Grain and Wide Grain - see the photos below, which honestly don't do his talent justice at all. Despite the two clefts being so different, the bats are pretty much identical in profile and feel, and in their naked state weigh in just 46g different. Awesome job, really puts my amateur efforts in perspective. I need to bind the handles and put grips on, then both bats will end up around 2lb 11oz - 2lb 12oz.

Once complete, we can get on with the testing phase. My idea is that the bats be passed around between interested Forum members, so that anyone who wants to have a go with them, can do. If you'd like to be involved just post on this thread and include your location, and we can get the ball rolling through winter nets. You'd need to accept responsibility for using the bats appropriately and then making sure they are posted or delivered carefully to the next tester. Write a review, choose your favourite of the 2 bats, and at the end we can see if Narrow or Wide comes out on top.

(https://i.postimg.cc/4xXmGXnq/NM1.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/hGjvJML0/NM2.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/fbrLYX5Q/NM3.jpg)

(https://i.postimg.cc/50Qtg0kY/NM4.jpg)


Title: Re: Narrow Grain vs Wide Grain - Amateur Science
Post by: Psi on October 31, 2019, 08:00:37 PM
Yes I would do that. I have some nets coming up next Thursday and a couple of weeks later. Pm me and I'll give my address. It's near Cambridge.
Title: Re: Narrow Grain vs Wide Grain - Amateur Science
Post by: jdownesbcfc on October 31, 2019, 08:17:24 PM
Great idea this, small sample obviously but always been intrigued as to how much diff it makes, especially as thatís how I pick a lot of the bats I buy haha

If you donít have much uptake Iíd be up for giving it a go certainly - midlands based just outside Stratford upon Avon
Title: Re: Narrow Grain vs Wide Grain - Amateur Science
Post by: edge on October 31, 2019, 09:22:37 PM
You'll not be surprised to know I couldn't be more keen for forum amateur science experiments! Send them over to the west country, I'll be netting every week from mid-jan onwards. Really interested to see how this goes a fully, particularly to see how results match up to the received wisdom of narrow grains going better early. Great work Justin.
Title: Re: Narrow Grain vs Wide Grain - Amateur Science
Post by: Psi on October 31, 2019, 09:34:12 PM
Might be able to persuade @blindowl to participate too as we will likely be at the same nets.
Anyone else near Cambridge to save on a lot of Hermes parcel fees?
Title: Re: Narrow Grain vs Wide Grain - Amateur Science
Post by: InternalTraining on October 31, 2019, 09:45:33 PM
My idea is that the bats be passed around between interested Forum members, so that anyone who wants to have a go with them, can do.

Great idea!
Title: Re: Narrow Grain vs Wide Grain - Amateur Science
Post by: InternalTraining on October 31, 2019, 09:47:33 PM
I need to bind the handles and put grips on, then both bats will end up around 2lb 11oz - 2lb 12oz.

Have you thought about 1/3 or 1/4 twine and rest medical tape?
Title: Re: Narrow Grain vs Wide Grain - Amateur Science
Post by: JK Lewis on November 01, 2019, 08:37:18 PM
Have you thought about 1/3 or 1/4 twine and rest medical tape?

I have tried tape in the past, but to be honest I prefer the consistency of traditional binding, and the added structure which stiffens the handle a little bit I think. For this experiment, I'm attempting to create two bats that are as identical as possible, so I reckon full binding is the way forward this time.
Title: Re: Narrow Grain vs Wide Grain - Amateur Science
Post by: Komdotkom on January 10, 2020, 05:36:24 AM
Sorry to dig up an old thread, but what was the outcome of this?
Title: Re: Narrow Grain vs Wide Grain - Amateur Science
Post by: enlightened on January 10, 2020, 07:19:11 AM
Sorry to dig up an old thread, but what was the outcome of this?

Looks like everybody lost the will to live!
Title: Re: Narrow Grain vs Wide Grain - Amateur Science
Post by: AJ2014 on January 10, 2020, 07:34:45 AM
Great thread, thanks Justin
Title: Re: Narrow Grain vs Wide Grain - Amateur Science
Post by: AJ2014 on January 10, 2020, 08:13:47 AM
Actually I'm convinced that grains don't dictate the quality of the bat but willow and the pressing make the bat.
Title: Re: Narrow Grain vs Wide Grain - Amateur Science
Post by: AJ2014 on January 10, 2020, 08:24:06 AM
https://postimg.cc/gallery/2ol7exnjy/
What you think this bat? 🙂
Title: Re: Narrow Grain vs Wide Grain - Amateur Science
Post by: WalkingWicket37 on January 10, 2020, 08:27:04 AM
@AJ2014 is it just the angle of the picture, or is it noticeably narrower at the top than the bottom?
Title: Re: Narrow Grain vs Wide Grain - Amateur Science
Post by: Psi on January 10, 2020, 09:00:43 AM
The scuff sheet and binding round the toe look exactly the same as as some Mallick Tigers and Dragons that were on Ebay last year. Someone must have been selling a batch of bats like this.
Title: Re: Narrow Grain vs Wide Grain - Amateur Science
Post by: AJ2014 on January 10, 2020, 12:09:06 PM
@AJ2014 is it just the angle of the picture, or is it noticeably narrower at the top than the bottom?
Just the angle
Title: Re: Narrow Grain vs Wide Grain - Amateur Science
Post by: edge on February 25, 2020, 02:42:53 PM
@JK Lewis did this ever get off the ground in the end? Was shaping up to be the best thread in a good while!
Title: Re: Narrow Grain vs Wide Grain - Amateur Science
Post by: JK Lewis on February 27, 2020, 04:47:00 PM
@JK Lewis did this ever get off the ground in the end? Was shaping up to be the best thread in a good while!

Jeez, I've been away so long I got logged out! Struggle to find the old password.

Mate I'm sorry, I've dropped the ball on this completely. Been working away a huge amount since the autumn, mostly in China. Not infected with Covid-19 as far as I know. The bats are still here, desperate to prove themselves. I'll try to find a moment to get the project moving forward again.
Title: Re: Narrow Grain vs Wide Grain - Amateur Science
Post by: edge on March 02, 2020, 11:30:53 AM
Hey no worries, glad to hear it's still on the cards! Look forward to it if you get a chance 👍