2019 Salix bats
"Performance starts from the cleft; a bat's identity, integrity and value are established not just in the shaping and finishing, but in the crucial machining, fitting and pressing.
Salix has 25 separate grading and machining processes before handle fitting.
Salix bats - hand made and entirely made by Salix."
Working with raw materials necessitates skill, expertise and smooth supply of the best of those materials available. Although we are an artisan brand, we have always worked with the very finest willow suppliers in consistently high numbers. These relationships are very strong and we still select and collect every cleft by hand. Those clefts are then processed individually by hand using our custom built planers, saws and press so that every process enhances the wood's natural properties. By the time the blade reaches our benches for hand shaping, it is well on its way to becoming a great bat.
This 100% Salix manufacturing from cleft to blade, then blade to bat has enabled us to develop the flatter face whilst retaining the bow which we believe is essential in balance and performance. This is flat with finesse - a complex, multi-stage process giving enhanced power and more immediate gratification for the player.
Simultaneously, we have continued to develop the traditional rounder profile which appeals to many serious players, where power increases with use to deliver the most sublime batting experience.
Our unique position as designer manufacturers means that we never stop developing, always moving up a gear to still higher performance, perfect balance and the most desirable silhouettes.
With the new X and AJK sitting at polar ends of the batmaking spectrum, the 2019 range of Salix individually handmade bats encompasses two very different styles of manufacturing: the modern flatter faced, deeply bowed, big edged AJK against the rounder faced, straighter profiled, big spined X. The Pod and SLX then fall in between, offering alternate versions with selected and tailored attributes from these differing bat making approaches. Each is individual; each is eminently playable and desirable. As always the glass-like finish and luxuriant labelling are striking, but secondary. These bats are built to perform.
Balancing blade and handle
During development it became even clearer to us that other factors were influenced and improved through the change in profile. Batmaking as never before has become the sum of its parts, or rather, all of these features have to be blended expertly to achieve the best in each bat. The handle has to work differently with the flatter face, handles which are all essentially oval through hand shaping have varying degrees of ellipse to suit the profile. Every element must work together to give the ultimate batting experience.
Our renowned finish is based on a complex multi-staged sanding process, culminating in our signature belt sanding. With two dedicated sanding workshops, we have the range of sanding drums to achieve degrees of concaving, which when blended with the different profiles, affect the weighting, balance, core shape and pickup of each bat.
Underlining all of this is the incontrovertible fact that willow supply and grading are becoming tougher every year, as demand for willow continues to increase whilst growing conditions become ever more challenging. The skill and expertise needed to process cleft to blade have never been more important and are central to the cost and value of this truly artisan product. Top grade clefts are only available in very small numbers, against huge investment across the grades, which is why our top and rarest grade is called 'Finite'. Intensive and individual manufacturing is both the value and luxury of a Salix bat.