Does learning how to make a wooden baseball bat intrigue you? It might if you're a woodworker and a fan of “America’s sport." In fact, constructing a wooden baseball bat may be just the project for you.
Metal alloy bats, generally aluminum, are popular with amateur ballplayers at all levels of play. However, major league professionals are required to use baseball bats made of solid wood. While aluminum bats are capable of hitting a ball faster and longer, wooden bats are considered more aesthetically pleasing with their traditional appearance and familiar “crack of the bat” sound.
To add to the enjoyment of a sport you already love, consider making your own wooden bat. Gather your supplies and follow these ten steps. For protection, remember to wear safety goggles and gloves while using woodworking tools and machines.
Materials and supplies:
- Wood (baseball bat blank)
- Circular saw
- Center marker
- Large lathe
- Roughing gouge
- Spindle gouge
- Electric sander
- Steel wool
- Clear polyurethane spray
- Safety goggles
- Hand gloves
- Purchase the Wood. Purchase a baseball bat blank or wood block from a store that sells specialty woods. For a strong bat, choose wood with a close grain. White ash, maple, hickory and bamboo are four popular wood choices. White ash is ideal because it is strong and light.
- Determine the Size. Before constructing your wooden baseball bat, determine its size. Standard-size bats are no more than 2 ¾ inches in diameter at the thickest part of the bat. Standard bat lengths cannot exceed 42 inches.
- Cut the Wood. Before you can construct the bat, you must cut the wood to size. Use a circular saw to cut the wood to your predetermined size.
- Mark the Center. For a balanced bat, hold one end of the bat wood against the edge of a center marker. Strike the wood blank with another piece of wood. Rotate 90 degrees, and strike the wood again. Indentations in the wood will serve as centering marks. Repeat this process on the other end of the wood.
- Test the Balance. Use a large lathe (a machine that spins wood) to test the bat’s balance. Align the center of the bat blank with the drive center on the lathe. The bat should spin smoothly. If it spins out of control, the bat is out of balance and you must repeat step four.
- Sculpt the Bat. During step two, you determined a size for your baseball bat. Spin the bat wood on the lathe. Use a 1 ½ inch rouging gouge to sculpt the bat to its predetermined size.
- The Shape. This step requires the use of a skew, a finishing tool for cutting and smoothing wood. Define the shape of your baseball bat with the skew. If necessary, use another baseball bat for an example. Compare the two bats to refine the shape.
- Shape the Ends. Use a sharp spindle gouge to shape the bat’s handle as well as its top. Turn the edges of the bat handle and top against the spindle gouge slowly and carefully.
- Smooth the Bat. Smooth the baseball bat and you’re almost done. Use an electric sander to completely smooth the bat. Sand the bat as it spins on the lathe.
- Finish the Bat. Finish the bat with a clear polyurethane spray. Coat the entire bat and allow it to thoroughly dry. Gently sand the bat with steel wool and finish with another coat of polyurethane spray. Wait at least 48 hours before use before using your new wooden baseball bat.
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