First Baseball Bat

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Project by dakremer posted 08-23-2011 03:45 AM 5028 views 1 time favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is my first baseball bat on the lathe. It was a lot of fun to make. I’m actually surprised it turned out this good for my first one. I sanded it up to 600 grit. It is smoother than a baby’s butt. It is made of walnut – which I know is not typically what bats are made of (maple, ash, or bamboo). Anyone think of a reason why walnut wouldnt be good for a bat? maybe cause its heavier?? The bat is 33” long. No finish. Might put some wax on the ends to protect the end grain at least. its already pretty slick – not sure if you’re supposed to put a finish on a bat?????

what I would do differently next time…..

1 – I should have put the thick part of the bat towards the tail stock of the lathe and the butt of the bat towards the head stock. I got a lot of wobble at the skinny end (by tail stock) which made it difficult to cut and make perfectly round.

2 – When I cut my initial depths at 3” increments along the length of the bat, I cut them to exact final thickness. DUH. I should have kept it an 1/8 or so above. Once I got everything smoothed out and sanded, the whole bat is about 1/4 under what the thickness is supposed to be. Boo :( oh well. I also worried to much about smoothing the transitions out with the chisels. I should have done that work with the sanding!

3 – I didn’t really look at a picture of a wooden bat when cutting the knob of the bat. Kinda just going off what i thought it should look like. The knob is not how a bat should be. The handle should taper out and meet the knob so there isn’t such a big transition. Next time I’ll actually look at a pic of a bat so I get it right! haha

All and all, i’m very happy with this! Sorry about the horrible pictures – I only have my iphone. I need to invest in a camera! oh but i forgot, i’m a poor college kid – probably not anytime soon.

Would any of you like to see a video HOW-TO? If I get enough people interested I’d be willing to do something like that. Now remember…I’m no expert on a lathe, and my technique would probably make a lot of wood turners cringe and/or cry, but I could at least show you guys how I did it!

Thanks for looking! Comments and advice and criticism, etc, etc is welcome

-- Hey you dang woodchucks, quit chucking my wood!!!!

14 comments so far

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

25177 posts in 3953 days

#1 posted 08-23-2011 04:23 AM

Hey Doug, good job on your first bat. I have often thought about making one, but I don’t know who would use it. The grand daughter all have to use aluminum bats for softball. But as to the one you mentioned lessons learned- like roughing the gauge areas a little bigger than finished size. You’ll do it next time. I had done it the first time too.
I guess if I was doing it, I’d copy an existing bat just because bat makers did the research on the shape. I’m not sure how the walnut will stand up compared to ash which is stronger and harder. As for the chatter, do you have a steady rest? If not make one. I did about a year ago and have just used it the other day for a long 3/4” diameter shafted shoe horn that I will post in a day or so. A steady rest is easy to make and you can use wheels from in line skates. They have some very good bearings. I found 3 pair on the curb on junk day and recycled all the wheels and bolts to my storage barn. I’ll bet you can find a pair at a resale shop cheap!! Make the arms long enough to go from the minimum dia to the max that will fit inside the steady rest ring. The one problem you might have is the slotting. I used steel because I have a milling machine, but I did not make my arms long enough and just had to add extensions to get my small dia job done.
The steady rest will keep the part on center to allow for even turning.

Good luck on the next one…................Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View peteg's profile


4436 posts in 3670 days

#2 posted 08-23-2011 04:54 AM

I like the way you analized the finished process, thats working smart, we dont play baseball down our way (only softball) but this one looks good for a home run I rekon :)))
nice job

-- Pete G: If you always do what you always did you'll always get what you always got

View Roger's profile


21030 posts in 3651 days

#3 posted 08-23-2011 01:43 PM

Ash is the main ingrediant for a baseball bat. (Hickory has been used also) being 40 miles from the factory where the Louisville Sluggers are made, I’ll say ya did a gr8 job. the only thing I would do, is, round out the end where you hold it. I don’t think you’d be hittin it outta the park because Walnut is not a hard/dense enough wood for that “crack”, there it goes. but, hey, that’s a nice project bat you’ve done. keep on makin dust

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View Tim Kindrick's profile

Tim Kindrick

369 posts in 3401 days

#4 posted 08-24-2011 12:09 AM

Nice bat!!!! Roger is right, MOST bats are made of Ash because of it’s resiliency. It has the right amount of hardness AND flexibility. Hard Maple has also been used and there is a lot of controversy because it splinters really bad when it breaks. Remember the news story a few years ago when that 3rd base coach got a piece of bat stuck in his chest from a shattered bat? It was made from Maple. I don’t think Walnut has the density to make a solid bat but it sure looks good!!!

If you plan on hitting a few balls with it, you should probably “fire treat” it and then “bone it” first. That will condense the wood fibers. I’m not sure what they use to finish bats but my guess would be BLO. Nice Job!!!!!

-- I have metal in my neck but wood in my blood!!

View BentheViking's profile


1782 posts in 3411 days

#5 posted 10-25-2011 12:10 AM

Nice job, have you hit with it yet?

-- It's made of wood. Real sturdy.--Chubbs Peterson

View dakremer's profile


2748 posts in 3939 days

#6 posted 10-25-2011 03:27 AM

Yeah I have – no finish on the bat so not sure how that effects it. A baseball actually dents the wood. I don’t think walnut is hard enough for it. It hits tennis balls really wel thol, and my dog is very good at bringing the ball back. So it’s now my “fetch” bat

-- Hey you dang woodchucks, quit chucking my wood!!!!

View BentheViking's profile


1782 posts in 3411 days

#7 posted 10-27-2011 06:46 AM

On sportscenter right now they are doing apiece where albert pujols goes to make a bat at wherever his signature bats are made…kinda cool and may give some insight for the next bat project.

-- It's made of wood. Real sturdy.--Chubbs Peterson

View Porchfish's profile


862 posts in 3380 days

#8 posted 11-03-2011 08:44 PM

Nice bat ! Having been a pitcher back in the day, I never had much love for bats (thought they always should have had holes in them), But I also remember that there are as many bat shapes as their are hitters (real ones) and differences in length and weight could be quite amazing. I used to say I couldn’t hit a bull in the ass with a base fiddle (or was that my coach talking) but then , I didn’t have to ! Also never had to face a hitter armed with those damned aluminum bats or shattering maple bats either ! Keep turning my friend, looks awesome !

your north florida friend, don s.

-- The pig caught under the fence is always the one doing all the squealing !

View grosa's profile


1016 posts in 3676 days

#9 posted 12-20-2011 03:23 PM

Really nice job on the bat. See, you have some talent on a lath. If you are limited on space you can always get a mini lath. That’s how I started.

-- Have a great day.

View chrisstef's profile


18100 posts in 3854 days

#10 posted 12-20-2011 03:40 PM

Rub that bad boy down with some pine tar and have it ! Now batting … nuuumbberrrr 22 …. DOOUGGGGG! (and the 4 man crowd goes wild)

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View dakremer's profile


2748 posts in 3939 days

#11 posted 12-21-2011 06:46 AM

hehe – thanks guys for the ego boosters!! I AM A BAT MAKING KING!! too far? :)

-- Hey you dang woodchucks, quit chucking my wood!!!!

View chrisstef's profile


18100 posts in 3854 days

#12 posted 12-22-2011 03:16 AM

never too far …. and ill take a 32” 29 oz. sluggin stick, man i miss playin baseball.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View MrFid's profile


906 posts in 2752 days

#13 posted 05-02-2013 06:02 PM

The only other thing about walnut is the allergic reactions to it. If someone were to hit with it for a while without taping up a grip, they may end up with a reaction. The bigger issue is that walnut is comparatively soft compared to ash or maple (why your tools like it more).

How heavy did it end up being? When I was in high school I used a 33 in/30 oz.

-- Bailey F - Eastern Mass.

View dakremer's profile


2748 posts in 3939 days

#14 posted 05-03-2013 11:24 PM

Not sure about the weight. I nevered measured it. I really didn’t make the bat to be used, as walnut is too soft. I made it just for the fun of it, and to see if I could. The walnut was the only big enough chunk I had. I ended up using it to hit tennis balls for my dog to go fetch. He loves it! :)

-- Hey you dang woodchucks, quit chucking my wood!!!!

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