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Straightening a baseball bat...?

Discussion in 'Skills and Smarts' started by shadowrider, Feb 6, 2017.

  1. shadowrider

    shadowrider One of the Regulars

    Hey folks,
    I recently bought a 1970s wood baseball bat at a flea market, with stickers on it of the local baseball team (Parmalat). The bat is not straight any more: it is slightly curved.

    I am wondering what caused that: was it hard use? Or storing environment?
    Any ideas how I could go about attempting to straighten it out?
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2017
  2. It was probably made from unseasoned wood & with time, part of it has contracted as it dried. The only way to straighten curved wood is to steam it thoroughly, which softens the fibres & then clamp it in the position wanted until dry.. Not sure if it would work for something so thick as a bat though.
     
  3. emigran

    emigran Practically Family

    Great for pulling inside pitches to right field...
     
  4. It seems you would need a fairly large, pretty strong jig to pull that off, too.

    Then again, if you find one of these, call Cooperstown.
     
  5. basbol13

    basbol13 One of the Regulars

    IDK, I think I would probably keep it the way it is. The bend will give it some character. Also, think about it, it's like refinishing floors. Wooden floors pick up a patina over the years and in an older home, when you refinish the floor it takes away everything that gave the floor it's character in the first place and what you end up with is a new floor in an old house. So in reference to the bat, if the bat means that much to you, do you really want to screw up some other part of the bat just to make the bat straight? Unless you are actually going to use it, I would recommend mounting it on the wall as a curiosity piece. And if someone asks why the bend answer for opposite field hitting.
     
  6. If it is from the 1970s, it is almost certainly made of white ash. It can be straightened by the same method that one can straighten or bend wood for anything else, which is lots of water, lots of heat, and lots of pressure. Given that it's probably at least 3/4-inch diameter at its thinnest point, that would be quite a chore. I'd guess I'd ask *why* you want it straightened? The curve is a result of the way it was stored for a long period of time, not from use. If you just want a wall hanger or a conversation piece, a slight curve might actually add to the interest.

    BTW, there were experiments of curved bats going back to the 1890s. One was called a "banana bat", and it was purported to add spin to a batted ball, much like a jai alai cesta, making it more difficult to catch. It obviously never caught on:

    [​IMG]
     
    shadowrider likes this.

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