There’s nothing quite like the sound of an authentic wooden bat connecting with the baseball; but what wood is a baseball bat made of?
Wooden baseball bats are something that should be experienced by every player of the game; if you can hit a ball with a wood bat, you can hit a ball with ANY kind of bat.
It’s not just any old wood, and there’s more than one kind of wood used in bats too.
How Are Wood Baseball Bats Made?
Before we get into the type of wood used in Baseball Bats, check out this super interesting video on how the bat is made from start to finish.
What Are Wooden Baseball Bats Made Of?
There are several different types of wood that bats are made out of, and no single one is considered truly the ‘best’ kind to use.
Lots of players have different opinions on which type of wood is best, and some are more popular than others, but ultimately it comes down to user preference.
Are you looking for a bat with the toughest durability? The lightest swing? Maybe the best pop? Different types of wood will provide different results.
Are you looking to purchase a wood bat? If so, check out of our best wood bats of 2020 guide.
Let’s dive in to each type of wood and their characteristics.
Once upon a time, ash bats were the bats of choice and were being everywhere; it was considered the preferred wood type. However, times have changed, with Maple now leading the way, but ash bats are still a popular choice in the market.
Ash bats gained their popular because this particular type leads to a very balanced and well-rounded bat. It’s also quite lightweight, which is an important factor for those players who prioritize bat speed.
An Ash bat would be a preferred choice for a contact hitter; you gain a huge amount of control from it’s light weight.
If you use an ash bat properly and look after it well, they can last for a long while; but the main issue with ash is durability.
The wood itself is actually pretty durable, but the weak spot is along the grain.
Anyone who considers using an ash bat must be aware of the ‘Logo Up’ rule; the logo on the bat must be facing up when making contact.
This is because the ball will strike the strongest part of the bat here; if the logo is facing anywhere but up, you risk your bat splintering.
Bamboo baseball bats are some of the lightest ones you can find; but they can’t be used in the MLB. Why?
Well, bamboo is technically a grass and not a wood. MLB guidelines state that all bats must be made from a single piece of wood, rendering bamboo bats ineligible.
Bamboo bats are made from several strips which are fused together.
Don’t let this put you off though; well, unless you play in the MLB!
Bamboo bats are tough as nails. Bamboo has incredible durability, and can withstand the toughest of impacts exceptionally well.
These bats are ideal for use in practice.
Birch bats are intriguing; it sounds strange, but they become better and better over time.
They’re also increasing in popularity among players of the game, as they contain similar characteristics to the popular Ash and Maple types of wood.
Birch is also considered to be more durable than ash and maple.
The more you hit with a birch bat and ‘break in’ the bat, the better it becomes.
Like Bamboo, composite bats cannot be used in MLB because they are also not made from a single piece of wood.
Composite bats will mostly be found used in BBCOR leagues, as long as the bat in question is BBCOR certified, as they’re more durable than most wood and lighter than aluminum.
Again, like Bamboo, composite bats are extremely durable, making them the ideal wood bat for practice.
These bats normally use wood shavings or dust combined with plastic and glue to create the final design.
Ah, hickory. That takes us back! Hickory wood bats were the most popular bat back in the early days of the game.
Once the game ‘advanced’ and players started looking more at bat speed though, hickory’s popular faded away.
This is because hickory wood is exceptionally heavy, making it unsuitable for the modern game.
With that said, if you have a muscular body type and prefer a heavier bat, you may be the one to bring hickory back into fashion!
Last but certainly not least, is the most popular wood bat type in 2020 and likely beyond.
Maple bats are the most common wood used by professional players. It’s one of the hardest woods available.
That also means it can be considered heavy though, making it harder to control. The sweet spot is also not the biggest.
It does have the most pop though; balls fly off a maple bat faster and further than any other kind of wood bat.
A strong connection with the bat will see travel fifteen feet further on average off a maple bat.
This could make all the difference in an MLB game; making it easy to see why Maple is the wood of choice for the pros.
How To Look After Your Wooden Baseball Bat
Baseball bats should be treated with the upmost care, and wood ones are no exception.
Make sure you look after and clean your bat as much as possible.
When used, your bat will come into contact with lots of dirt and muck; particles will embed themselves into your bat, causing damage if untreated.
A good wiping over with alcohol after use will remove all of these particles, keeping your bat clean and happy!
You can read more about wood baseball bat maintenance here.