At the Bench with Chris King
The master cricket bat-maker talks us through the tools of his trade
The staple tool of the bat maker, or 'Pod Shaver' (the traditional job title). I have two Draw Knives, but my main one is a 'Brades', from around 1930, Pre WW2 British steel is always better quality.
A wooden box plane with a rounded base and blade, used to make the concave shaped backs popular in modern bats. An old tool for a relatively new bat shape. I was given this one when I started working at Gray-Nicolls.
An old Stanley plane I've had since I was an apprentice Antique Restorer. Probably bought at a car boot sale. Mainly used for the bats' edges.
An old Sabatier knife liberated from my own kitchen some years ago. Used mainly to open breaks for glueing when repairing old, damaged bats. The handle is taped up to make it more comfortable.
A tool for the finer work of bat shaping. I was given this spoke shave when I started repairing and making cricket bats. The foot of this one has been extended, so it works more like a small plane, it's a customised tool specially made for the Gray-Nicolls workshop.
I do the final shaping and finishing of a bat by hand sanding, starting with a very coarse 80 grit and working down through several grades to a fine 320 grit. It can be hard on your hands, so I use a Wicket Keeper's glove liner as a sanding glove. After a few months they fall apart.