Cricket bat-making a precise science for Willetton graphic designer

Toby Richardson at work on the edges of a new bat.
Cricket bat-making a precise science for Willetton graphic designer
Cricket bat-making a precise science for Willetton graphic designer
Cricket bat-making a precise science for Willetton graphic designer
Cricket bat-making a precise science for Willetton graphic designer
Cricket bat-making a precise science for Willetton graphic designer
Toby Richardson at work on the edges of a new bat.

AS anyone to have played cricket will appreciate, choosing the correct bat is a tough decision to make.

The crafted willow is after all a batsman’s weapon against an angry fast bowler or crafty spinner.

Willetton resident Toby Richardson recently turned his hand to the bat-making art.

The graphic designer said he chose to create his own bats rather than spend money buying a new one.

“It was really from playing,” he said. “Guys have an interest in bats; it’s just part of playing cricket.”

In June Mr Richardson flew to Victoria to take part in a bat-making master class hosted by former Test cricketer Ian Callen.

He said he was surprised at how much technique went into perfecting the craft, which he does from a small Booragoon workshop.

“To get a bat exactly the way you want it takes a bit of work to shape and get it to a particular weight,” he said. “I like the crafting, using the tools and making a product exactly how I’d like it.

“It’s quite satisfying for me doing the whole thing. The next step is to hopefully sell them and to see people making runs with them.”

For information visit www.richardsoncricket.com.au.

The bat-making process:

The first step is to glue a handle to a selected blade, leaving it to set overnight.

The next step is mark where you’ll be taking wood off, including drawing in the shoulders and toe profiles.

A drawknife is used to take a lot of wood off quickly. Then, with a few millimetres still to shave, the shift is made to a smoothing plane to finely shape the willow.

Once the profile is smooth a concave plane is used to take weight out of the bat. Everyone wants big edges but a light bat.

A jigsaw is used to cut out the shoulders and bottom of the bat before a sander is run over the willow to ensure the wood is smooth and the correct weight.

One of the last steps is to bind the handle with string, place the graphics on the bat and add the grip to the handle before it is ready to be knocked in.