Here’s the Breakdown
1. How this all started
2. Bat to Mallet conversion
3. Final Thoughts
How This All Started
Paul, a good friend of mine, asked if I wanted a broken wood bat. He just said that someone had thrown it away. So, I said sure. I find it hard to say no to an offer of free wood. You know how that goes, right.
Where the bat broke is shown in the Photo below.
Bat to Mallet Conversion
What follows is a step-by-step description of the bat to mallet conversion.
Step 1 — For starters, I cut out the broken section of the bat, shown in the Photo above.
A Photo of the bat cut into three pieces, to remove the broken section, is shown
in the following Photo.
Since the bat is tapered, the safest way to cut the bat is to clamp it and use a handsaw.
Step 2 — With the overall length of the cut off bat handle being 8-1/4″, shown in the
Photo below, I’ve decided to insert the mallet handle (cut off bat handle) 3″ into
the mallet head. This will be shown shortly, but first I need to do some sanding
on the mallet handle.
I would have liked to have inserted the mallet handle deeper into the mallet
head. However, the 8-1/4″ overall length of the mallet handle didn’t make this
possible and still have a reasonable length for the mallet handle. You work with
the hand your dealt.
For the mallet handle shown above, the diameter of the handle over the 3″ length at the left end of the handle varied from approx. 1/32″ above to 1/32″ below 7/8″.
In the above Photo, I used a 7/8″ open-end wrench to mark where the handle diameter was exactly 7/8″. To the left of the wrench, the diameter exceeded 7/8″. And, to the right of the wrench, the diameter varied down to 1/32″ less than 7/8″.
To mark the left end of the handle that’s above 7/8″ in diameter, I marked where the handle was exactly 7/8″ in diameter with blue painters’ tape. And as shown in the Photo above, the 7/8″ wrench indicates where the handle is 7/8″ in diameter.
The Photo below shows the handle being turned down to a 7/8″ diameter. The handle to the right of the blue tape is the area that is above 7/8″ in diameter.
As I turned the handle shown in the Photo above, I would frequently check the turned dia.
The Photo below shows the handle resting on a scrap piece of 2 x 4. The hole shown thru
the 2 x 4 is 7/8″ in diameter. I used this hole to determine when I had turned the handle down to a 7/8″ diameter.
Step 3 — With the handle turned down to a 7/8″ diameter, the next step is to drill a 7/8″
diameter hole, in the mallet head. Before drilling the hole, the center of the
mallet head needs to be determined. This is shown in the following Photo.
The Photo above shows a combination square with a center-head, being used to determine
the center of the mallet head. The above Photo shows the mallet head end that the mallet
handle will be fastened to.
Step 4 — Round the heel end of the mallet. First, I measured in 1/4″ from the perimeter
of the heel end of the mallet. Next, I used the 1/4″ dimension to draw a circle, as
shown in the following Photo.
After drawing the circle, I used my 1″ belt sander to round over the heel end of the mallet.
This is shown in the Photo below.
Step 5 — Almost ready to drill the hole for the mallet handle. However since the mallet
head is tapered, holding it square to the drill bit is complicated. My answer
to this dilemma was to build the following jig, for holding the mallet head square
to the drill bit.
In what follows, I basically built a box with square openings (centered) at the bottom and top of the box. Each opening will be sized to cradle the mallet head securely. This is
expanded on in the following verbiage and photos.
But first let me just say, I am cutting square openings instead of drilling circular holds, because I do not own any forstner bits over 2-1/8″ in diameter. And the holds I will need are over 2-1/8″ in diameter, but the square holes will work.
To start the building of the box, the following steps are taken:
1) I cut two pieces of 3/4″ OSB. Each piece of OSB is 6-1/2″ x 6-1/2″ x 3/4″.
2) I found the center of one OSB piece by drawing diagonal lines. The diagonal lines are
shown in the Photo below.
3) I squared the two OSB pieces up relative to one another, and then clamped them
together as shown below.
4) Using a 1/4″ Forstner bit, I drilled a hole where the diagonal lines crossed one another.
This hole is drilled thru both lined-up pieces of OSB.
In this next Photo, I used a vernier caliper to take a diameter measurement. The measurement was taken at 3/4″ above the toe end of the mallet head. The toe end is the end resting on the workbench. The diameter measured was 2-1/4″. This diameter value will be used to draw and cut a square hole, in the OSB member shown below.
The 2-1/4″ diameter measurement taken above is shown being used below to mark out a
2-1/4″ x 2-1/4″ square. The square is centered as shown on the OSB member, in the
Also shown in the Photo below are two holes that I drilled. These two holes I will use for
starting my jig saw cuts, for cutting out the req’d square hole.
The square hole referred to above is shown in the following Photo. Also shown is the rasp I
used, for fine tuning the hole size. I used the coarse rasp shown. It’s the coarsest rasp I own.
I know, using a coarse rasp for fine tuning is an oxymoron. But, it worked just fine.
Shown below is a measurement being taken approx. 1″ below the top of the mallet head.
The diameter measured was 2-3/16″.
The 2-3/16″ diameter measurement taken above is shown being used below to mark out a
2-3/16″ x 2-3/16″ square. The square is centered as shown on the OSB member, in the
Again, shown in the Photo below are two holes that I drilled. These two holes I will use for
starting my jig saw cuts, for cutting out the square hole req’d.
Bear with me here. In the Photo below, brad nail the 15-1/2″ x 8-1/4″ x 3/4″ OSB to the
6-1/2″ x 6-1/2″ x 3/4″ OSB. Center the 6-1/2″ x 6-1/2″ OSB as shown on the
15-1/2″ x 8-1/4″ OSB. However although this is not shown in the Photo below, I spaced the 6-1/2″ x 6-1/2″ OSB off of the drill press fence by 3/4″. The 3/4″ spacing just makes
assembling the box walls (this will be discussed shortly) easier, I feel.
I used 1-3/16″ length brad nails, for the brads mentioned above.
In the Photo below, the box walls have been positioned and clamped lightly in place. Note
the triangle for squaring the box sides relative to my table saw (the flattest surface I have
in my shop). But, no brad nailing of box boards yet.
Dimensions of the box side boards are shown also in the Photo below. Box side wall boards
opposite one another have identical dimensions.
A combination square head is shown perched on top of the box, in the Photo below. I used
the bubble level built into the combination square head, to check and insure that the box top was level. I used the small hammer shown to tap the box top, as req’d to adjust and level the top. I fussed with making the top-level. My reasoning here was to try to insure that the mallet head major axis would be parallel with the forstner bit, when it comes time to drill into the heel of the mallet head.
Step 6 — In the following Photo, the box is shown clamped to the drill press table. A 7/8″
diameter forstner drill bit is shown ready to drill a 3″ deep hole into the heel end
of the mallet head.
Step 7 — Below is shown the mallet handle inserted into the heel end of the mallet head.
No glue at this point, just checking to make sure I have a good fit.
Step 8 — For fastening the mallet head and mallet handle together, I plan to use Gorilla
Glue. It’s messy, but it is gorilla-proof. Plus, it will expand to fill any voids
present between the two parts being joined together.
To combat the messiness issue, the following shot shows electrical tape wrapped around the heel end of the mallet head. Why electrical tape ? It just happened to be what I had
I should also make note that no part of the mallet head hole was covered with electrical tape. Since the glue does need a vent route (so to speak) for glue expansion. According to Gorilla Glue, their glue will expand 3 – 4 times while curing.
Step 9 — For some additional glue overflow protection, I fastened a plastic bag around the mallet head with electrical tape. This is shown in the following Photo.
Step 10 — It’s Gorilla Glue time. Per Gorilla Glue instructions, I dampen it, applied the
glue, and clamped the glued parts together. The clamping scheme I used is
shown in the above Photo.
Regarding the clamping scheme, I brad nailed the two 11″ x 1-3/8″ x 3/4″ boards to the box (now covered for the most part with the white plastic bag), as shown in the above Photo.
Next I nailed the 19″ x 1-3/8″ x 1/8″ strip of wood to the two 11″ x 1-3/8″ x 3/4″ boards.
This is shown in the above Photo. Since the height of the two 11″ boards is shorter than the height of the mallet head and handle, the 19″ wood strip presses down on the top of the
mallet handle. This keeps the glued up mallet head and handle clamped together, while I
wait for this assembly to cure. I was in no hurry, so I let it cure for 48 hours.
Step 11 — Final step, disassemble the clamping assembly and dismantle the box. Now
shown below is the final product, a broken wood bat that has been converted to
a wood mallet.
Making the mallet head box, for holding the mallet head upright for drilling, was the biggest time consumer. But, it worked out well. The mallet also turned out well. However, I still need to give it a couple of coats of paint.
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Until Next Time, Take Care