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Thread: Mini baseball bats?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    St. Louis
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    3,347

    Mini baseball bats?

    The people I work with know I'm a woodworker. I hope to buy a mini lathe this year (I'm thinking Jet VS). The marketing director just came by and asked me if I'd like to make about 125 mini baseball bats for a conference. Our slogan has a baseball theme, if you're wondering about the connection.

    I told her I didn't have a lathe yet, so I didn't think I could do it in time. She said she's found companies online that will charge $5 or $6 per bat (5 or 6" long, I believe).

    My question is does that seem like a good price (don't know what kind of wood will be used)? Do you have any suggestions for vendors and would any of them be able to engrave a company logo as well? I guess that would require a laser.

    If you're interested in the work (engraved or not) let me know via PM, and I can provide more detail if she is still shopping around.

    I am interested in your general thoughts about this as well. Given enough time, it could be a cool thing to do for my company in the future - altho making 125 of anything would probably get boring pretty quickly.

    Happy early Thanksgiving, btw.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Benton Falls, Maine
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    5,480
    Gary - Sent you a PM
    Only the Blue Roads

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Aurora, Co.
    Posts
    391
    Gary as you said in your posting making repeated copies of any item is daunting at best. Last summer another turner and I spent a weekend turning small tops for kids days in our community. We premade 500 of the tops and then finished turning the last 100 during the weekend. We allowed the kids to color the tops while they were on the lathe. I don't know who had the most fun, the kids or the two of working with them each day. We are planning on doing it again this year only this time we want to make about 1000 becasue we ran out of tops this year.

    The price seems to be in the ball park and I think that with that many items that need ingraving you should be able to get that done pretty cheaply.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Colorado Springs
    Posts
    306
    Gary,
    the finished size tells me you can start with pen blanks, and therefore save the labor of cutting the pieces from larger stock. If you check on ebay, you can probably find a large assortment for under fifty cents each.
    Personally, I would enjoy making 10 of these bats, and would plead insanity before 50.
    Figure out how long it would take to make one and then multiply that by the number they want. Do you really want to spend that much time on such drudgery?
    On the other hand, the money could be used for something interesting.
    I'm sure you have given thought to the tradeoffs here.
    Just my opinion.
    Joe

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Indiana, PA
    Posts
    287
    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Herrmann
    125 mini baseball bats for a conference. She said she's found companies online that will charge $5 or $6 per bat (5 or 6" long, I believe). My question is does that seem like a good price .

    It could be a cool thing to do for my company in the future - altho making 125 of anything would probably get boring pretty quickly.
    Hmmm.... Gary,
    Let's see. 125 bats @ $6 comes to $750. At $750, suppose you place your time at $30 an hour. Looking at it that way, at $30 an hour, it would take 25 hours of work. For 125 bats, that would mean you would need to make 5 bats an hour, this would include sanding but probably shouldn't take a whole lot of time. That surely sounds doable, looking at the entire picture. If you/I were to do it, you/I should be able to specify the type of wood. If it were me, I'd select 1" poplar dowels you get from one of the big box stores. Probably would pre cut all of them, or maybe try to do two or three in a line from one dowel, and probably turn them between centers, much faster than trying to use a chuck, no tenon to turn. Probably the first five or so, would be the slowest since you need to train your muscles to the task at hand. A word of caution, though, as everyone knows, the first one is the easiest, but each subsequent mate is a little harder, although turning a bat, I believe, never done it, is fairly straight forward.

    Another thought just came up. More than likely the online company that makes them, probably uses a duplicator or maybe even a CNC lathe. They could probably whip out 125 bats in an hour or so.
    Doable, probably, boring, without a doubt. Might be something you want to look into for next year. You could even get ahead of the game and start now for next year.

    As usualy, just MHO, take it with a grain of salt, or a spoonfull of sawdust.
    ______________________________
    Blake & Ruth Ann McCully
    Indiana Co. Woodturners Assn.
    *********

    The destination isn't nearly as exciting as the path used to get there.

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