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Old 23rd September 2017, 10:50 AM   #1
.Anon. Thread Starter
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Default anon makes a baseball bat

I've recently taken up baseball. one of my clients has generously donated me his auto lathe to make it.

Unfortunately I know sweet fuck all about timber. I want to make these bats for other players too.

With a distinctly australian take. Most bats are made out of Ash or Maple. So i'm looking for australian timbers with similar qualities. Does anyone know much about grades and things like that?

Also happy to take orders
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Old 23rd September 2017, 12:31 PM   #2
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I know nothing about timber other than jarrah and pine and what looks nice in furniture, and I know even less about baseball, but I'll be interested to see the outcome of your project.
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Old 25th September 2017, 8:40 AM   #3
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I would imagine whatever makes a good cricket bat should make a good baseball bat too? Those are made of Willow.
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Old 25th September 2017, 9:06 AM   #4
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You can get queensland maple, which is a native rather than imported or plantation timber. Gum looks like it would be far too hard to be suitable. Australian beech might be too soft. Vic Ash might be an option for you as well (probably going to be the easiest species for you to source as well)

The cost for some timber of appropriate size for a bat shoudln't cost you too much so grab a few species, make a template for your shape and make a few bats and test them out in the batting cages.
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Old 25th September 2017, 9:19 AM   #5
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i'd try spotted gum, no idea if the density is right but it makes good tool handles.
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Old 7th October 2017, 9:18 AM   #6
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I spoke to a guy today who's going to do some research for me. I should be able to have one knocked up in very little time at all. But i'm waiting for him to get back to me. Standard bats are made of Maple and Ash. I want something really left field, something quintessentially australian. Unfortunately wide ranging timber knowledge generally doesn't cross over to their use as a baseball bat.

Will keep updated when I get some more information.
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Old 7th October 2017, 10:46 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by oculi View Post
i'd try spotted gum, no idea if the density is right but it makes good tool handles.
I'd vote on this too, but yes, may be too light.
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Old 7th October 2017, 9:43 PM   #8
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I'd vote on this too, but yes, may be too light.
I was thinking it might be too dense, after looking it up it seems on par with maple/ash, so I'd say give it a go.
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Old 10th October 2017, 1:10 PM   #9
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Maybe you could see what Australian cricket bat makers are using. I think they use willow mostly.

No idea if that is suitable for baseball bats though.
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Old 13th October 2017, 1:52 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by .Anon. View Post
I spoke to a guy today who's going to do some research for me. I should be able to have one knocked up in very little time at all. But i'm waiting for him to get back to me. Standard bats are made of Maple and Ash. I want something really left field, something quintessentially australian. Unfortunately wide ranging timber knowledge generally doesn't cross over to their use as a baseball bat.

Will keep updated when I get some more information.
Seems like a chance for YOU to pioneer some testing. As you said making them isnt a problem, no doubt there are breaking tests documented you can try out for various woods, give a selection to a hitter to trial and give you feedback on. There will be heaps of Aussie woods suitable interesting looking bats rather than functional that could be used as trophy or decorations for clubs etc.

Test one: does it turn on the lathe without shattering? yes/no
proceed from there and you quickly have data that can rule in/out various woods. Only a good batter or two can help you pick the best of the bunch.
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Old 16th October 2017, 9:17 AM   #11
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Try the wood database. This is what it says about American White Ash. I am guessing that these parameters might be most important for a bat:

Average Dried Weight: 675 kg/m^3
Janka Hardness: 5870N
Elastic Modulus: 12.00 GPa

And this is Jarrah:

Average Dried Weight: 835 kg/m^3
Janka Hardness: 8270N
Elastic Modulus: 14.70 GPa

... so if you use Jarrah, you would have a heavier bat for the same shape because it is more dense. It would also be harder and have more elasticity.

As for Willow (suggested above):

Average Dried Weight: 400 kg/m^3
Janka Hardness: 2530N
Elastic Modulus: 7.76 GPa

... you would get a lighter bat, half as hard, and less elastic.
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Old 16th October 2017, 9:34 AM   #12
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Victorian ash?
Queensland maple?
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Old 18th October 2017, 9:41 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amfibius View Post
Try the wood database. This is what it says about American White Ash. I am guessing that these parameters might be most important for a bat:

Average Dried Weight: 675 kg/m^3
Janka Hardness: 5870N
Elastic Modulus: 12.00 GPa

And this is Jarrah:

Average Dried Weight: 835 kg/m^3
Janka Hardness: 8270N
Elastic Modulus: 14.70 GPa

... so if you use Jarrah, you would have a heavier bat for the same shape because it is more dense. It would also be harder and have more elasticity.

As for Willow (suggested above):

Average Dried Weight: 400 kg/m^3
Janka Hardness: 2530N
Elastic Modulus: 7.76 GPa

... you would get a lighter bat, half as hard, and less elastic.
I don't know what the finishing process of a baseball bat is, but I know with a cricket bat they are heavily oiled and 'knocked-in', which is a very similar process to the hardening of gun barrels. This results in the wood becoming much stronger and harder than in its raw state.
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Last edited by EvilGenius; 18th October 2017 at 9:43 AM.
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Old 18th October 2017, 11:37 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amfibius View Post
Try the wood database. This is what it says about American White Ash. I am guessing that these parameters might be most important for a bat:

Average Dried Weight: 675 kg/m^3
Janka Hardness: 5870N
Elastic Modulus: 12.00 GPa

And this is Jarrah:

Average Dried Weight: 835 kg/m^3
Janka Hardness: 8270N
Elastic Modulus: 14.70 GPa

... so if you use Jarrah, you would have a heavier bat for the same shape because it is more dense. It would also be harder and have more elasticity.

As for Willow (suggested above):

Average Dried Weight: 400 kg/m^3
Janka Hardness: 2530N
Elastic Modulus: 7.76 GPa

... you would get a lighter bat, half as hard, and less elastic.
You've got the elasticity the wrong way around, the higher the elastic modulus, the less deflection the material will experience for the same applied force. Probably a fair summation of the relative and obtainable material properties though. I'd say to Anon, keep a bit of an eye on the Modulus of Rupture (ultimate failure stress), they mostly seem to be about 100-120MPa but there are a few that are notably lower.

All these things might help as a guide, but as Pelman said, at the end of the day you're going to have to make a few up and give them a test and don't forget to tweak your design as needed to keep the weight/balance in check
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Old Yesterday, 5:33 AM   #15
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Ah, and interesting one. It's easy to make a bat but it's much harder to make one legal and similar to Ash (or Maple).

The baseball code just requires a diameter no more than 2.6 inch diameter and no more than 42" long, plus a drop value, which is easy enough, but getting the "feeling" of a bat will be much harder, even if you were to use ash or maple. Creating an approximate shape is one thing (even if you match the weight balance) but creating a great bat will be exceedingly hard (manufacturers have design shapes down to mm).

If you wanted a usable bat, rather than a good bat, that could certainly be done. However, as Australian timbers tend to have very coarse grain you may get a higher chance of shattering for the same bending strength. Baseball bats are also orientated so the hitting side is at the strongest grain.

Denser timbers can be used but generally not in favour with bat makers due to heavier mass meaning slower bat speed (I guess you could decrease the diameter but that has other downsides). They've used Oak and Hickory in the past

Ill see if I can find a list of timbers of approximate density of 700kg/m3 but the immediate one that springs to mind is "Tasmanian oak". Density of 680 but varies as there are 3 species under this name. Keep in mind, each piece of timber will have different densities depending on the tree (and vary with humidity but that is easier to determine)


http://www.woodbat.org

What is your location? May affect what timbers you can access
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