Laver & Wood’s Cricket Bat Lore Ch 5 Butterfly Willow
Butterfly stain has a unique place in the world of the batmaker. Butterfly stained willow may not have the aesthetics of a true white grained cleft. They do, however, often perform exceptionally well. The ball can really ping off a bat with a butterfly stain, so much so that some professionals only use bats with butterfly stains.
A bat made with a Butterfly Stain cleft
Butterfly stained bats have often come and gone as the market dictates. Mainly this is due to fashion, rather than a detailed understanding of what causes a butterfly stain, and what properties a bat with a butterfly stain contains.
Hugh Barty-King’s wonderful book ‘Quilt Winders and Pod Shavers, The History of Cricket Bat and Ball Manufacture’, eloquently describes how the stains are formed in the tree:
“Cracks caused by the trees swaying unduly in the wind, and taking with it some of the tannin from the bark. The rising and falling sap spread the stain slightly up and down, leaving faint lines like the wings of a butterfly. The process continuing year by year stained each succeeding ring to a greater or lesser degree, till finally the full design resembled a whole moth or butterfly. Such stains became known as ‘butterfly markings.’”
More Laver & Wood Cricket Bat Lore chapter introductions can be found below.
10. Handle Breakage
23. Knocking In
24. Oiling Bats
25. Moisture Damage