|Project by USCJeff||posted 04-03-2014 12:44 PM||785 views||0 times favorited||1 comment|
It’s been a while since posting to the site, but as usual I still like to find new ways of woodworking or alternate methods to see hands on what works for me personally. To date (as far as lathe projects), the bat would be my longest turning. 12” pepper mills I believe held that spot prior. I learned about my lathe as well. No issues with pens, tool handles, or mills at all. My Shop Fox mini with extension gives me about 36” between centers depending on the mounting scheme. The original lumber was from an old kitchen table leg that hasn’t seen use in years. My lathe was BARELY adequate. Initially the lathe walked itself and cause some things here and there to fall with the crazy amount of vibration. I had to clamp it to the table and it made it easier. It was smooth going once the it was rounded. My tail stock needs some work as it would move in the locked position with pressure. I put a clamp directly behind it for a quick fix.
As for the actual project, I have used the blue fungo bat for a few years with older players. I’m working with 7 and 8 year olds on a 150 foot field this season and the bat hits it a bit too hard for the skill level and field size. The purchased one is made of ash which is fine, but not the best. Ash compresses and creates a spring like bounce on contact. Maple is solid and hits the ball a bit harder and has a much smaller chance of breaking. Birch is the go to wood currently. It is a compromise between the two and is now nearly the material for 50% of major league bats.
The turned one is maple, but only b/c I didn’t have the right dimensions of birch on hand. I followed the limits of Dixie Baseball dimensions even though it isn’t for the players to use. It’s 27 inches long (same as son’s aluminum bat) and has the standard 1 1/4” barrel. Haven ‘t weighed it, but it is lighter than 15 ounces as I compared a 15 ounce bat with it and it was easily lighter. Lot of fun to make and it works for me at practice.
NOTE: Several online suppliers (Rockler, Penn State, etc. . ., now sell blanks for bat projects. They are listed as 3” widths. These are really nominal 2.5” widths. Older player bats are typically 2 and 3/4 inch barrels which can’t be made from the blank.
-- Jeff, South Carolina