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Wooden Baseball Bats

Page history last edited by Jonathan McKinley 11 years, 8 months ago

     I was originally inspired to make my own baseball bat when my baseball team entered a baseball tournament that didn't allow metal bats. I thought it wood be cool to make a custom bat that would suit my needs. I decided to make a 33 inch bat with a weight of 31 or 32 ounces. I then ordered a birch baseball bat blank on line for $25. I choose birch because I wanted to experiment with new materials instead of the traditional spruce or maple.




The birch baseball bat blank was 37 inches long and 2 and 5/8 inch in diameter. The package I received in the mall weighed 6 pounds.




          Before I started turning the baseball bat blank on my 1940's lathe I discovered the lathe could only handle a piece of material 30 inches in length. I decided to make a lathe bed extension to accommodate my 37 inch piece of wood. 


Typically lathe bed extension are made out of metal in order to handle loads placed on the tail-stock. In substitute of metal, I developed my bed extension by stacking and screwing together several pieces of three quarter inch plywood to create a base for the tail-stock to sit on. This base became incredibly stable once secured together by screws. In order to allow the tail-stock to sit flush, I carefully carved the top of the wooden stack to allow for a accurate fit. The tail-stock was perfectly aligned with the rest of the lathe by using a laser that was shot from the spur center on the headstock to the spur center on the tail-stock. After the lathe extension was calibrated it was bolted down.



1940's lathe with bed extension





Now I was ready to start turning the piece of birch.



I began by making ten depth cuts along the length of the baseball bat blank using the parting tool and a pair of calipers.



Then I removed the rest of the excess material using a large spindle gouge.



Next I sanded the bat extensively starting with 120 grit and working my way up to 600 grit. I removed the bat from the lathe and cut off the excess wood at both ends.



I painted the bat using matte black and glossy polyurethane. Lastly I put a label on the bat called "JP CLUBS".




The bat is a lot of fun to use and hits with nice power.



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