Area51woodworks, the wood billet and bat supply division of Area51Sports, was created to address the continuing problem with reliable wood billet quality and supplies. Over the years we have had suppliers overcharge, send unusable billets, and prove unreliable with sending wood on our schedule. We have developed good relationships with mills that genuinely try hard to meet our needs and keep pricing fair. Also, we have close relationships with a number of small bat makers who we often sell some of our wood billets, raw bats, and laminate blanks to. So it makes sense to enter this aspect of our industry and help bat makers make more on their products by reducing their losses.
Area51woodworks acts as a purchasing agent for other bat manufacturers. By approaching potential supply mills and letting them know we buy for a large number of bat manufacturers, we can drive down pricing and get better quality for the money spent. This gives small to medium size bat manufacturers the same purchasing power the larger companies have.
Another unique aspect to our company is that we sort to our clients specifications. Each of our clients receives a profile sheet that allows the client to outline how they define terms such as "pro grade" and others. For example, typically A grade ash has at least 22" of straight grain measured 2-3 in. from one end of the billet. The grain count is not considered unless requested. Some bat makers consider A grade ash to have 9-15 grains per inch. We would consider that additional requirement "pro-grade" , so some type of agreement regarding definitions has to occur. Our clients are given a sheet of grading terminology that outlines how we determine various grades (see the wood grading section).
This unique custom sorting process allows our clients to place orders for specific types of billets. If you need 100 ash billets for economy bats for a low budget league, you would order 100 ash billets of B grade color since you will be painting them. You will pay a lower amount per billet than if you purchased a pallet of ash billets and hoped there were that many of that grade in the mix. You should never be forced to use an A grade, or worse, a pro grade billet to fill an order for an economy bat. Conversely, you should never have to use a B grade billet to complete a "pro stock" order.
As we progress, we will use our clients feedback to refine this company and continue to improve the quality of products provided while always looking for ways to get better pricing. The bottom line is that you use every single billet to make a profit.