Why Hand Split?

Ink Dot: Why is it important to your game?

The Ink Dot is the stamp of the highest quality wood bat. Bats that feature the Ink Dot signify that they are in the top 3 percent of wood from the harvest and they satisfy the strict slope of grain requirements by Major League Baseball. Indicating that your bat is big league quality and approved. All playing bats sold by The Wood Bat Factory carries this seal of approval.  This guarantee is supported by our sister company Leatherstocking Hand-Split Billet Co., visit our Leatherstocking Hand-Split Billet Company page to learn more.

Splitting: A Craftsmen Trade Brought Back to Life

Historically, all wooden bats were made by splitting logs and then turning those triangular staves into round billets. This resulted in wood baseball bats that had straight-grained wood.

Today, with higher production sawing equipment and increased demands for yields and efficiency, a large percentage of wood billets are sawn from logs. Often, logs that are produced at a sawmill are sawn across the radial and/or tangential slope of grain, weakening the bat and making it vulnerable to dangerous breaks or multiple piece fractures. Because the tangential grain is difficult to see with the naked eye, it is commonly overlooked.

Over the last few years, MLB has mandated that all bats sold to MLB players must have an ink dot on the face (tangential) grain.  This method helps indicate the direction of the grain on the bat.  Though it helps identify the grain direction, it is not always properly determined and does not eliminate the use of all bats with poor slope of grain. Sawn billets with poor slope of grain still make it into players’ hands at all levels of the game and can cause dangerous breaks or multiple piece fractures.

When wood is hand-split, it naturally follows the tangential grain instead of forcing the cut with a saw, strengthening the bat and all but removing the chance of a slope of grain failure. Leatherstocking Hand-Split Billet Co. does not saw its billets. Each log is hand-split, providing consistent quality, higher yields and safer wooden bats.

Our Hand- Splitting Process

Leatherstocking Hand-Split Billet Co. hand-splits each log to follow the wood’s natural grain, ensuring straight tangential grain, strengthening the bat and almost entirely removing the chance of a tangential slope of grain failure, in all grades. The importance of straight tangential (face) grain is critical, because the wood’s slope-of-grain has an overwhelming effect on the strength of the final baseball bat. By definition, slope-of-grain is determined by how close to parallel a piece of wood is produced with respect to the longitudinal axis of wood cells in the tree. When a piece of wood is processed so that it is perfectly parallel to the grain direction of the tree, it will have the highest strength. When wood is cut at an angle to the grain direction of the tree, the strength quickly diminishes, and a bat made with this wood is vulnerable to dangerous breaks or multiple piece fractures. Splitting is the only process that produces straight tangential grain with a near perfect success rate.

Our Vacuum-Kiln Drying Process

Traditional kiln drying creates a more browned appearance in the wood billet due to oxidation that naturally occurs throughout the drying process. Leatherstocking Hand-Split Billet Co. vacuum-kiln dries all of our products, which prevents oxidation from occurring by removing the air from the drying chamber. This creates the most consistently bright white wood billets available.

Leatherstocking Hand-Split Billet Co. was the first company to vacuum dry hand-split billets, combining the best methods to produce the absolute best product.



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