Condutor's Baton

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Project by Brett posted 11-30-2015 06:04 PM 549 views 2 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My oldest daughter is taking choir at a local community college. Recently, during a practice session, the choir director was using his baton and it split! Well, unannounced, my daughter was thinking that she would like me to make a conductor’s baton for him and then his split so, that seemed like a good opportunity to see if dad would make one. Of course she needed some backup to make sure that the plan was a success so, when my wife was informed of the split conductor’s baton, I was solidly booked to be the craftsman of a new baton by the two ladies! Funny, because I thought of it too but didn’t want them to think that I was too excited about it. ;^)

I have made one baton previously but I didn’t know what to make in a baton so I just went with what I thought that it should be. The first was for my oldest son but he had no idea what specs a baton should be but this second one was going to be used by a “real” director so I headed to the internet to try and find some specs on how a proper baton should be.

Balance and length seemed to be two important features along with weight so I proceeded to make a “bulb” (handle) out of some beautiful Spalted Sycamore but I didn’t realize that the hole to receive the shaft was drilled off center until I had completed the piece! Ahrrg! I quickly mounted another piece to turn but that one had a punky spot on it and tore beyond repair. Add one more to make it three and that last one was too punky too!

I was about to give up on the project but, since the conductor was informed that I was now making him a new baton, I have to perservere!

I decided to abandon the cool Spalted Sycamore wood for a stable acrylic blank that was really too small for anything else so, on the lathe it went. Not too long after the elegant black bulb emerged, ready to be paired with a shaft.

The shaft wasn’t without it’s difficulties either! The first shaft that I was turning out of a curly piece of maple split when I had a small catch. Then I resorted to only the best of materials for the shaft, a 2×4! Yep, a very clear and straight piece of 2×4 (spruce or fir not sure which) was resawed down and turned to make a light, responsive shaft to pair up with the bulb. To bring the baton into balance, I used a stainless steel bolt, cut and polished and inserted into the bulb to bring the balance of the baton to just in front of the bulb where the shaft is. This seemed to be the general placement of the balance point on most batons with variations from that point being of the conductor’s personal preference.

The overall length is 14.25”. I used natural Watco Danish Oil for finish on the shaft with some wax over the top of that.

Thanks for looking!

-- Hand Crafted by Brett Peterson John 3:16

5 comments so far

View majuvla's profile (online now)


8664 posts in 2284 days

#1 posted 11-30-2015 06:11 PM

Realy profesional work,nice whit lines on black background.

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View racerglen's profile


3112 posts in 2197 days

#2 posted 11-30-2015 06:24 PM

Now that’s fine in very fine to get the shaft that small and smooth and ballanced, hope the conductor is appreciative of your labours ;-)

-- Glen, B.C. Canada

View Dart610's profile


1 post in 343 days

#3 posted 11-30-2015 09:03 PM

As a band director, I was intrigued when I saw the project picture on the main page. I’ve had a few parents make me batons over the years. I have always used them for their child’s concert, then have to retire them after. The first picture showing the baton being balanced in the hand sold me. Bravo!

Yours would make any director proud!

-- Dart, Woodstock, Ga

View Ken90712's profile


16862 posts in 2606 days

#4 posted 12-01-2015 10:13 AM

Well done, I’m sure it was a big hit.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View Roger's profile


19706 posts in 2221 days

#5 posted 12-25-2015 05:47 PM

Jam on. Nice one

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

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