"Knocking in" is the first step towards you thoroughly enjoying your cricket bat. Knocking in is a task that MUST be done if you want your cricket bat to preform and last. All cricket bats are pressed when they are made, however knocking in is vital to the life of your cricket bat. This process will compress the fibres of the willow on the face and edges to form a barrier that will protect your bat. One of our must commonly asked question is "how long do I need to knock my bat in for?" Well, all bats are different and take different amounts of time and care so it is hard to say.
Step 1. You will need to knock your cricket bat in with a cricket bat mallet. The cricket bat should be repeatedly struck on the face of the toe with gradual force. Always keep the mallet head moving so your not striking the same part over and over again.
Step 2. The edges. The edges are the part of knocking in that takes time. You should first harden the face of the edge of your bat by repeating striking the face of the edge up and down the blade. This must be carried out with great patience. You should NOT strike the cricket bat directly at right angles of the blade. This will cause half moon cracks. Because you are using a cricket bat mallet which is round headed it will naturally round the edges off with time.
Step 3. The bat will now require oiling. All natural faced bats will need to be oiled using raw linseed oil or a specialist cricket bat oil. The purpose of oiling is to maintain the moisture levels in the blade which should help avoid splits and cracks. Light coats should be applied to the face, edges, and back of the blade (avoiding the stickers). Generally two coats of oil should be sufficient. You will need to leave your bat in a horizontal position to dry. When your cricket bat is fully dry you will need to apply a protective face. Anti-scuff is probably the most common and best to use.
Step 4. Now that your bat is nearly ready, you need to get it hitting cricket balls. Firstly bounce an old ball on your bat. If your bat starts to mark or dent go back to step 1, If not carry on.
Next step should be facing some throw downs or bowling machines. Now you are ready to face your mates in the nets using old balls. After all this your cricket bat will be ready to score you lots and lots of runs! Enjoy!