Bear Valley Bats
"Inspected by More Umpires Than Any Other Bat Manufacturer"
The Best Hand-Made, Custom-Made,
NEW 6 Month Interest-Free Payment Plan
Just check out with PayPal to receive this offer!
We Respond to Voicemails and Emails 7 Days a Week
1.) What is the best wood for baseball bats?
Answer---In our opinion, Canadian Yellow Birch, true Northern White Ash, and true Hickory.
***There are several true hickories and several pecan hickories. Pecan hickories are not considered true hickory trees, but because Pecan is the female hickory tree and the wood looks the same, the law permits pecan to be sold as hickory. And for the the wood's primary purpose, (mostly for flooring and furniture), it really doesn't make any difference.
For baseball bats however, the strength ratings for true hickory is much higher than for pecan hickory.***
Wood is a natural product so each wood species has it's good points and not so good points. Of the wood species offered by Bear Valley Bats---Canadian Yellow Birch, Northern White Ash, and true Hickory are suitable for today's game.
Black Locust and many species of Hickory are very hard and durable, but too heavy for game bats. Hickory and Black Locust bats rarely come in under -0 ounces even with the thinnest handles and barrels. That means a 33 inch bat will weigh 33 ounces, often more.
Sugar (Rock) Maple
Bear Valley Bats has never sold Maple bats and it is unlikely that we ever will, at least for game or training bats. Despite being expensive, Maple is the weakest wood when tested for impact strength. In fact, no matter how it is measured or tested, Maple is the first wood species to fail from the stress of an impact. Even when measured as a ratio of impact strength to weight, Maple is dead last.
Many bat manufacturers invested heavily in Sugar Maple without checking the data accumulated over the years by government and private agencies. Every test on Maple indicates that it is too brittle for baseball. It makes great floors and furniture, but God did not design Maple wood to be used as a baseball bat.
Some bat manufacturers push Maple bats today claiming it is "tougher" and "stronger' than White Ash, but do not be misled. It is true...Maple wood has a harder surface rating than Ash and Birch, (Maple doesn't come close to hardness of true Hickory!) but so does glass. Maple wood, especially when it is over-dried to get weight down, simply cannot withstand the impact forces of baseball. THAT is the real reason Maple bats break so often.
So if you take into account that Maple bats break at more than twice the rate of true Northern White Ash and up to four times the rate of our Canadian Yellow Birch and true Hickory, it does beg the question: What is the advantage of using Maple bats? In our opinion, none. Why? Our own experience and because a scientific study documented that Maple performance has no advantage over Ash. None!
The Maple Bat Study & MLB Reaction
"The Sherwood Study essentially found no significant difference in batted ball distance between ash to maple."(BVB Comment---The reason? Maple does not have a significant hardness rating advantage over Ash.)
Yet the study also showed that while ash bats tend to break innocuously, maple bats tend to “explode” on impact creating several projectiles, the most dangerous being portions of the barrel, the heaviest part of the bat.
Based on surveys of breaks in the ash and maple bats, the study pointed to features such as slope of the grain, direction of grain on impact, and overall wood quality as possible catalysts for the explosive quality of maple.
"Thus, it concluded that maple bats were no more advantageous to players, but posed a significantly greater risk of breakage."
In a recent minor league game in Southern California, I counted 13 broken Maple bats. That's correct---in a single game. In fact the game's lead off hitter broke two in his first at bat. These are the same Maple bats that are supposed to conform to the new MLB standards designed to reduce breaking. No "slope of grain" or weight rules will change the fact that Maple wood bats cannot withstand the impact forces of baseball.
Above, Last year Tyler Colvin was impaled by the barrel of a broken Maple bat. The photo shows COLVIN rounding third base just as the broken barrel is about to impale his chest wall.
And the fact is this: MLB and all bat manufacturers who sell Maple bats are exposed to significant liability. Why? Because ALL bat manufacturers KNOW that Maple is too weak for baseball; that it breaks into multiple pieces many times more often than Northern White Ash and Canadian Yellow Birch; and that many people have been severely injured by the flying, pointed barrel of a shattered Maple bat.
So if we believe Yellow Birch, Northen White Ash, and true Hickory are the best wood species for baseball bats, then we should state the obvious too...Maple wood is among the worst...not just for safety, but value as well.
Here are the reasons we discourage our customers from buying Maple and the reasons we will not sell it for game or training bats:
1.) Maple is heavy and brittle wood. Heavier than both Ash and Birch.
2.) To reduce the weight of Maple, manufacturers put Maple through a vacuum kiln (oven) which over-dries the wood significantly.
3.) Extremely dry wood makes the already weakest wood (Maple) even weaker ...and very, very brittle. (Much like tempered safety glass.)
All bat makers use the following data to determine the kind of wood that is suitable for baseball bats. Until Bonds made the Maple bat famous, bat makers never even considered using the wood for baseball bats, not just because it was heavy, but because it was expensive and fragile. Please review the data in the chart below. It should help you decide on the most appropriate wood for your bats.To determine the best wood for a baseball bat, all factors are measured as a ratio of the characteristic measured to weight. Why? Because weight is THE limiting factor for wood species used for baseball bats.
It doesn't matter how hard the wood is if the weight makes it too heavy to use as a baseball bat.
So, basic ethical standards prohibit us from selling Maple bats.
No matter what company you choose, we strongly recommend AGAINST purchasing Maple bats for game or training purposes.
The Best Wood for Baseball Bats
Genuine Yellow Birch, Northern White Ash, and true Hickory are the only species of wood we currently recommend for game bats. We are always looking at other wood species
We recommend most hickories for game bats only for those accustomed to the weight. (They always make great training bats of course!)
...and Maple for furniture and flooring.
We hope this helps you with your selection.
We are constantly researching wood species from around the world so we can provide better performing baseball bats.
Have any ideas? PLEASE contact us with any thoughts on different wood species...if the strength is enough, we will make you a bat you can test for us!
We use only pro grade wood. Pro grade wood has a high density value, and therefore it is harder, heavier, and more durable than the bats you can typically purchase from the internet and sporting goods stores.
Wood is a natural product. The laws of physics cannot be suspended for baseball bats. LIGHT BATS ARE WEAK BATS. Light bats are made from poor quality wood, generally cut from the top third of the trunk. This is the newest, lightest, ...and weakest part of the tree.
We use nothing but professional grade wood.