How to Turn Baseball Bats with a Wood Lathe
A wood lathe has traditionally been used to turn leisure items as well as useful pieces, from chess pieces and cricket bats to the traditional American baseball bat. Turning the latter is almost a hobby in itself, separate from any other wood turning projects, or even those who are fans of baseball. Getting a good turn on your lathe can really help you to get the most out of your baseball bat. In order to get the best start at molding your bat from scratch, it is a good idea to get hold of some bat 'blanks', which are the basic wood shape from which bats are made. Making a wooden baseball bat using a wood lathe can be a very rewarding experience, and by following some advice, you should be able to complete this woodworking project easily.
Step 1 - Find the Middle
Take your bat blank, and find the middle of the bat using the model bat as your basis. You may also decide to measure the length of the bat, or do other things which will help you to find the middle of the blank. This can include using a center marker on the end of the bat, tapping the marker to produce a small cut, and then rotating the bat 90 degrees so that you can tap the marker again. This should leave a clear X where the center of the bat is to be found.
Step 2 - Cut the Bat
Line up your bat blank with the center of the lathe's drive, so that the wood is directly in the middle of the drive. This will help to give you an even cut. You should use your model bat as a guide, in order to avoid removing too much wood from the bat. Keep the bat moving in even circles, in order to avoid taking all of the wood off of one side.
Step 3 - Cut the Handle
Use the lathe to remove wood from your bat until it has the right thickness, then move on to the handle, making sure that the bat curves nicely around to the grip. Again, rotate the bat evenly to avoid over balancing the bat on one side. Once you have the right thickness of bat, you can remove it from the wood lathe.
Step 4 - Refine the Bat
Now you have the basic cut-out of your bat, you should use the sandpaper to make a smooth down all of the marks you have made in the bat. Hold the bat out at arms length to ensure that you have made even cuts into the wood, and smooth down any lumps that you have left in the fabric.
Step 5 - Varnish the Bat
Once you are happy that you have made a good baseball bat, you can use a coat of varnish to give your bat the finished look. Varathane spray is a good way to get the finished gloss on a bat, so use this and then smooth over the surface with some sandpaper.