Our culture has lost site of the value in handcrafted, quality made items. We have grown to rely on mass manufacturing and the development of cheaply made, cost effective products. With these advancements, most would agree, quality has taken a “hit”...pun intended. What happened to the days when players desired something original, something crafted with substance, soul and love? At E.L. Lumber Company, I’ve taken the time to learn about our materials, incorporate the newest theories and technology, and craft a product that can withstand the harsh demands of the game of baseball. Each individual bat is forged with a personal touch. My small team and I specialize in manufacturing safe, durable, high performance bats for players of all ages. Something truly special that will help players elevate their game to the next level, while making the game safer through decreasing the rate of broken bats. For us, making baseball bats is a way of life.
We incorporate the highest levels of technology, with the highest quality timber and an endless passion to produce the perfect baseball bat. All billets are hand turned in house. Upon arrival to our shop, the billets are digitally imaged. This important step allows us to see below the surface. Each X-Ray enables us to see certain imperfections that may impair the integrity or performance of that potential bat. (See PLAYER SAFETY tab for more info)
Once the pieces are imaged and separated they are then stored in our humidor. Here, the wood is sustained and cured to a specific moisture content, optimizing balance. This small step also helps to maintain the durability and performance of each billet. Once they are ready, the billets are hand selected for each specific player and ability. Now the fun begins!
Once a player is evaluated, the correct piece of timber is selected and the bat turning process begins. Each bat is molded with a state of the art american made lathe, cutting the lumber down to its desired specifications. Custom changes are made along the way to assure each design matches the players needs while maintaining balance and quality. The bat is then placed on another lathe where it undergoes the very important process of being hand sanded and antler rubbed. Quality control is assessed and maintained every step of the way.
Following the completion of these critical steps, the decal is applied and the bat is glazed in our “special sauce.” Our paint and finish process is focused on providing the thinnest coat possible. We understand the importance of maintaining friction with the baseball which results in grab, rotation and carry. It also provides that desired "CRACK" when contact is made.
The secret to a great baseball bat starts with the location and maintenance of the best species of wood in North America. We purchase premium wood, assuring Grade A quality remains our standard. We have developed relationships with local arborists that aid in recognizing imperfections. Good wood and proper maintenance of these materials are vital in maintaining bat integrity. Our state of the art humidor and environmental stabilizer enables us to cure and balance the billets to a specific moisture content. Once attained, the maintenance of the wood is critical. Its composition and moisture content determine its durability and performance. We are confident that this process optimizes balance, durability and performance and puts our product a step ahead of any other bat manufacturer.
Maple wood has become the most commonly used wood at the Major League level. Not introduced until the late 90's, this lumber is unique and desired for it’s dense composition and elegant, white, tiger eye appearance. The dense grain creates a harder surface with less flex, creating a that "crack" off the bat. With density comes the concern for shattered bats. We continue to stride to make maple bats for trusted durability and performance, but we do like to encourage players to try swinging birch. I think you'd be surprised!
If you're looking for something light weight like Ash yet hard like Maple, look no further. Yellow Birch is a magical lumber growing in abundance in the North East. It's density is similar to Maple yet slightly softer. Professional baseball programs around the country have begun to push the use of more birch in the belief that its safer. Birch does not shatter like maple. Its outer bark, made of rich oils , assists in the trees preservation and is resistant to decay. As a result, this fine grain species remains slightly flexible and well protected until it can become the newest addition to your on deck circle.
Northern Ash has always been a traditional wood for baseball bats, almost as reliable as good old Hickory. Its agile flex provides a unique feel and pop off the bat. Yet over the last few years, the number of Ash trees throughout North America have suffered tremendously. Disease has impaired its integrity and lifespan, while invasive beetles continue to bore themselves throughout the wood, killing the trees. In an attempt to preserve our old friend and the environment, we have slowed the production of Ash bats...and of course pushing more birch!
One of the most important steps to crafting our bats is rubbing it down with smooth, incredibly dense deer antlers. Being from the Northeast, deer are highly over populated and therefore antlers can be found in abundance. We strive to keep things as organic as possible. The pressure applied with the antler over the surface of the bat compresses the fibers of the wood. This provides for a stronger, harder hitting surface and better performance when you "put a good swing on it”. The antlers, mostly constructed of cartilage and water, will mineralize and harden over time. These rapidly growing phenomenons shed each and every winter. No deer are harmed for the production of E.L. Lumber Co. bats. Promise!
Slope of Grain Test (Ink Dot)...
Before each bat is completed and sold, the very last step is to apply a small ink dot at the 12 inch mark. This is performed to test the slope of the grain. This test was adopted by the major leagues in the early 2000's due to many wood bats breaking, developing an increased concern for player safety. The ink enhances the ability to see each bats fiber alignment as it runs along the grain, hopefully remaining in a straight line end to end. Any deviation of the ink of 3 degrees or greater is indicative of uneven grain and potentially a weaker piece of lumber. Straight grain bats are desired and those bats that do not pass the test never reach the field. They are distributed as souvenir, trophy bats, or used by myself in the batting cage...at my own risk.