Letter from North Star Equipment regarding Masonite Bats and their new FOREVER Bat (originally sent to us Feb 2012)
For many, many years potters around the world have thrown their pots on Duron (also known as Masonite) bats. It was inexpensive, fairly durable owing to its 2-sided hard finish and had good clay adhesion. It had its shortcomings as well: warping, bowing, hole erosion and delaminating edges if they were not cleaned, dried or stored properly. Additionally they eventually just wore out. Whatever its strengths and faults potters liked and kept using them.
Due to the housing industry collapse (because of reduced demand for cabinet & flooring materials a lot of mills went under - only 1 Duron manufacturer remains and they aren't running it as a production item anymore) and environmental regulation (too costly for other wood product producers to invest in a production line for a product that has large amounts of nasty chemicals), we have had a very difficult time procuring Duron over the last year. Now stocks have nearly run out and we are unable to find more. We have spent the last year searching for new sources, but it is simply unavailable. If it becomes available once again we will let you know, but we doubt it - better and more environmentally friendly products are taking its place. Depending on demand we expect to run the last Duron bat within the next 30 - 45 days.
We do have a replacement for soon-to-be-obsolete Duron (shown in photo at left). We've branded it the Forever Bat (sorry, photo of the Forever Bat is not yet available). Like Duron it is ¼" thick and comes in 13" & 15" sizes. It is a wood product that is extremely durable, warp resistant, doesn't bow, holes won't enlarge and it will never delaminate - it is solid through and through with a hard finish on both sides. Clay adhesion is excellent and throwing properties are very similar to Duron. Water absorption is minimal yet pots dry off the surface nicely.
We've been testing it here and found it to be a superior alternative to Duron. Forever Bats will be coming off the line shortly and we will be replacing all Duron products (for example: Universal bat inserts) with the new material. Those products will be better after the change over.
I don't think there's any question that it is going to be a little more expensive than Duron, but final pricing is yet to be established.
We are sorry to see the end of Duron - it's been a great product - but we think you will like the new material much better.
from North Star Equipment