In baseball, the most important piece of equipment is a baseball bat. In my recent article, I went through how to break in a composite bat, but that’s not the only thing you can do to a baseball bat. Boning a wooden baseball bat is also used to enhance the bat. That being said, how do you bone a bat?
You will need a large dried bone and a wooden baseball bat of any wood species to bone a baseball bat. Lay down your bat against the floor and start rubbing the bone against the bat’s barrel while applying as much pressure as possible. Cover the whole area of the barrel to complete the boning.
That being said, boning a baseball bat means the method of rubbing the barrel of a bat against a dried-up bone to compress the barrels’ wooden particles.
Typically, a large bone is bolted to a table in the baseball clubhouse, where the players can rub the wooden barrel against it with as much power as they can, compressing the wooden fibers/grains and making it denser.
Alternatively, you can also lay the bat against the floor and use a bare bone in your hands to bone the barrel. The chances are that you won’t have a large bone bolted on a table at home.
Bat boning has various benefits such as increased durability and improved performance, and the element of superstition, but more on the benefits later.
How to Bone a Baseball Bat?
Now, as promised, the full how-to guide on boning a baseball bat. It’s really simple, but you need to know the tips and tricks to make it effective.
Here’s how to do it;
- Preparations: To bone a baseball bat, you will need a wooden bat and preferably a large dried-up bone. Depending on whether the bone is bolted on something or a bare bone that you can hold on to, you will set up the bat. If the bone is bolted as a workstation, you will rub the bat on the bone. If you will be holding the bone in your hand, lay down the bat on the floor and rub the bone on the bat. However, if you don’t have a bone at home, which isn’t uncommon, you can bone the bat against anything hard that won’t damage your bat, for example, on the side of a sink.
- Keep In mind: Balance is of the essence when bone rubbing your wooden bat. Try to keep the same pressure during the whole boning process, and rub the bat the same amount of time from each side so that the density will become even.
- Process: Take a hold of your bat and place it against the bone (sink or an alternative). Start applying a lot of pressure while slowly rubbing it back and forth against the bone. Repeat this desired amount of time before slightly turning the bat to cover each area of the barrel. Rub from the start of the barrel to the very end to cover all the areas that can contact the baseball. Repeat the boning process as long as the whole barrel is boned.
That’s pretty much it.
For you visual learners, check out how Rawlings does it with an automated process! By looking at the video, you should know how it’s done and how to do it yourself by hand.
You should know that you can bone every species of wooden bats, but the most effective wood to bone is ash, then birch, and then maple. That’s because ash has the lowest density of the main bat wood types, whereas maple is the densest. Birch is between ash and maple in terms of density.
When you think about it, it’s much easier to compress the wood grains with your physical power against a bone when the density isn’t already very dense.
Benefits of Boning a Baseball Bat?
It’s equally important to know why you should bone your bat and how to do it. Generally, there are two actual benefits and a third one that can be used for many baseball people as it’s part of the tradition. Let’s take a closer look at the advantages of boning a bat.
The biggest reason people bone their bats is that it increases durability.
The bone used for the process is extremely hard and dense. When you rub the wooden baseball against bone (usually ash wood), the wooden grains/fibers will be pushed closer, making the barrel denser.
With increased density and hardness, the barrel is less likely to get broken caused by an impact with a powerful pitch.
In addition, moisture won’t penetrate the wood fibers as easily, which will decrease the damage and softening effect that moisture will do. The bat doesen’t need to become wet, as there is moisture in the air always. The amount depends on the current weather.
This is partly why over 70% of MLB players prefer maple bats, as they are the hardest and densest of all bat wood options.
The second practical reason to bone wooden bats is performance. Even when the performance benefit isn’t astronomical after the boning process, it’s certainly worth mentioning and doing.
As you have completed the boning process and the wood fibers are closer together, creating a harder and denser barrier, the power is also increased.
See, when you maintain the same bat swing speed with a heavier bat, the heavier bat will produce a higher ball velocity speed when batting, which will increase its distance and traveling speed, as physics proves.
However, this is easier said than done, so a heavy bat (maple wood) is favored by bigger players, and smaller ones favor a light bat (ash wood).
This is where boning the bat will come in. When you bone a baseball bat, the density will get harder without increasing weight, making it more powerful!
Still, this reason is also why over 70% of MLB players use maple bats, as all of them are more strong than weak. Thus, they are capable of gaining the full benefit of a heavy bat.
The superstitious belief goes as follows; As bone and hide go together, meaning bone attracts hide, it’s believed that a boned baseball bat will attract the baseball as they are covered in hide.
Regardless of whether people believe it or not (the majority don’t), it does give a magical boost and confidence on the swings, which can improve performance, as research has proven.
Is Boning a Bat Legal?
I have heard the question many times considering bat boning and its legality. As you might know, any altering (doctoring) the bat and ball is prohibited in baseball rules. So, is boning a bat allowed?
Boning a baseball bat is allowed and legal under the rules of baseball. Unlike other alterations such as corking, boning a bat isn’t considered doctoring as you simply compress the wooden fibers closer together, without any construction modification or adding any external substance.
That being said, you can bone your bat with peace of mind as it’s completely allowed in all levels of play.
My Favorite Baseball Equipment
Thanks for reading this article. I hope it brought you great value that you can implement into your own life! Below you can find my favorite baseball bat, baseballs, and a glove that I think will take your game to the next level!
- Bat: My favorite baseball bat is the Easton Project 3 Fuze. This bat has a composite end cap, reduced post-impact vibrations, balanced swing weight for the fastest swing speed, and a carbon core that makes this bat perform very well! As I’m not a professional baseball player, I like to use alloy bats as you can swing faster and hit further.
- Baseballs: Rawlings Competition Grade Practice Balls are my choice for something to hit. I love these balls because they fit all levels of play, so regardless of who you are playing with, you can use them. They come in a 6 or 12 balls box, and you can choose between raised or flat seams! I prefer flat seams as the balls tend to fly further!
- Glove: When it comes to the glove, my choice is the Rawlings Sandlot Glove. This glove is available for both lefties and righties. The same glove is also available for infielders, outfielders, pitchers, catchers, and 1B mitt. This glove has a nice vintage look, and it’s made from oiled leather. It has palm pads that protect your hand from impact, and it is pre-broken-in, so you are good to go as soon as you have it! A glove I’m proud to recommend.
- Fan Equipment: If you’re a fan more than a player, you don’t want to miss Fan Equipment by Fanatics. You can find items from various sports that bear your favorite team’s logo, such as jerseys, gift ideas, or other surprising things.