For years, bat companies have advocated to make contact on the edge grain of the bat. However, studies show that Birch, Ash, and Maple are up to 30% stronger when being struck on the face grain of the wood.
Ash is a ring-porous species which means striking the ball on the face grain can produce a flaking effect otherwise known as annual ring separation. For this reason it is still recommended to strike the ball on the edge grain of Ash, the weaker part of the bat, in order to increase the durability of the barrel.
Birch and Maple are diffuse-porous species and are not prone to flaking like Ash. There is no need to orient your Birch or Maple bat for this reason. But we recommend making contact on the face grain.