A wooden baseball bat is arguably the most iconic piece of sporting equipment on the planet. But, what kind of wood are baseball bats made from, and which is the best one to use?
The most common woods that are used in Baseball Bats are Ash, Maple, Birch, Bamboo, and a Composite style approach.
In this article, we will look through different types of wood that can be used when making baseball bats, along with advice on which bats are the best for you to use.
Maple versus Ash, the two most popular type of wooden Baseball bat?
The two most popular types of wooden baseball bats are easily Ash and Maple.
Maple is an extremely hard and thick wood. The surface hardness of a Maple Baseball bat is about 20% more prominent than an Ash Bat.
What does that mean? Well, the harder the surface, the quicker the ball will bounce off the bat. This is one reason maple has turned out to be so well known as a go-to bat.
It also didn’t hurt that and the way that the major sluggers like Barry Bonds used to use Maple.
On the technical side, according to Hitting World, Maple is a closer grained wood than Ash. The grain is far more compact, straight, and isn’t as simple to see. The grain of the wood doesn’t separate and that hardness of maple wood makes a bat with less flex.
According to Old Hickory Bats, Maple bats make up approximately 75% to 80% of all bats used at the major league level.
As hard Maple wood is, Ash is a flexible wood. When a baseball hits an Ash bat, the ball almost trampolines off the bat.
A positive of an Ash bat is that with the added flex, there seems to be a larger sweet spot. However, Ash is known to break easier over time and is known to splinter if you hit unevenly, as the following video shows.
However, while Ash will splinter quicker than Maple, they do not split like Maple bats do.
When you imagine the replay of a Baseball Bat shattering into a few large pieces, odds are it was a Maple.
Doug Bernier, the founder of Pro Baseball Insider.com, also states that Ash grains start to flake incredibly early, and your bat will eventually lose all density in the barrel.
That means that even if your bat is still in one piece, the barrel could still be pretty much useless.
The best of the rest
Birch takes a bit of the best of both worlds when it comes to Baseball bats.
The wood of a Birch has the flexibility of Ash, but the durability of Maple. So in other words, it is a hard wood that doesn’t snap in half.
Having a flexible bat that won’t break down like Ash is a huge positive when choosing your next bat.
The only thing to consider is that if you were to buy a Birch bat brand new, you’ll need to ‘break it in’. Basically, it will reach proper hardness after 30-50 swings.
Bamboo bats are a bit of a newcomer on the market. They are made by cutting the Bamboo wood into strips and combining them strips into billets, and then into a bat.
As the bats are not a single piece, they don’t hit like a proper wood bat. Many baseball players have commented that a Bamboo bat has a distinct lack of pop compared to Ash, Maple and Birch.
So, as you can see the main types of wood that are used are Ash, Maple and Birch. In addition, if you really want to pick nits, Bamboo is a grass and not a bat.
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