Baseball Bats | Handcrafted America


♪ ♪[HIT][BASEBALL FANFARE]I LOVE THE SOUND OF THE CRACK
OF THE BAT AGAINST THE BASEBALL. AND WITH THIS SLUGGER,
YOU CAN’T MISS!♪ ♪JESSE LaCASSE IS
A BOY OF SUMMER.
HE LOVED PLAYING BASEBALL
HIS ENTIRE LIFE.
HE GOT TIRED OF BREAKING BATS
AT THE PLATE,
SO HE STARTED MAKING THEM
HIMSELF,
AND HE HIT THE BALL
OUT OF THE PARK!
SO MUCH SO THAT IN 2012,
JESSE AND HIS COMPANY
WERE OFFICIALLY RECOGNIZED
BY THE U.S. CONGRESS FOR HIS
COMMITMENT TO QUALITY
AND INCREDIBLE SUCCESS.
IN HIS SHOP IN SKOWHEGAN, MAINEJESSE TURNS NATIVE HARDWOODTREES INTO CUSTOM BATS FOR
HITTERS OF ALL AGES.
JESSE: HERE AT LaCASSE BATS,
WE SPECIALIZE IN GIVING A PLAYER EXACTLY WHAT
HE NEEDS FOR A MODEL. YOU KNOW, WITH A BAT YOU CAN
TAKE ANY POSSIBLE HANDLE STYLE AND MIX IT WITH A LARGE BARREL,
A SMALL BARREL, A SHORT BARREL. UH-HUH.[CHAINSAW]JILL, V/O: HE STARTS
BY CHOPPING DOWN A TREE.
[CHAINSAW]READY TO HEAD OFF TO THE SAW
MILL AND IT’LL BE SAWN UP INTO THREE BY THREE SQUARES BEFORE
IT’S READY TO TURN INTO BATS.JILL, V/O: THE LOGS ARE
CUT AT THE MILL, AND THEN
THEY’RE DRIED IN A KILN
THAT JESSE MADE HIMSELF.
JESSE: IT’S BASED OFF A
DEHUMIDIFIER FAN AND A HEAT SOURCE THAT’S CIRCULATING
THE AIR AROUND THE WOOD. IT TAKES ABOUT SIX TO EIGHT
WEEKS; IT’S A SLOW DRY PROCESS, WHICH IS PREFERRED
FOR BASEBALL BATS. WHY NEW ENGLAND
WOOD FOR BATS? WELL, ALL BAT WOOD
COMES OUT OF NEW ENGLAND. BUT THE MAIN
REASON FOR THAT- WHAT DO YOU
MEAN ALL? PRETTY MUCH ALL BAT WOOD
THAT THE PROS AND THE AMATEURS ARE USING ALL AROUND THE WORLD
IS COMING FROM NEW ENGLAND. NEW ENGLAND IS LOADED
WITH HARDWOODS. BUT ALSO, THE CLIMATE
THAT WE HAVE HERE IS AN EXTREME COLD IN THE WINTER,
AND EXTREME WARM IN THE SUMMER WHICH MAKES — JUST
MAKES TREES HARDER. WHEN DID YOU MAKE
YOUR FIRST BAT? JESSE: 10 YEARS
AGO THIS YEAR. AND I JUST REALLY WANTED
TO TURN MY OWN BAT, AND IDEALLY HIT A
HOMERUN WITH IT. IT TOOK ME TWO AND A HALF
HOURS, I THINK, TO TURN THE FIRST BAT. JILL: HOW LONG DOES
IT TAKE YOU NOW? JESSE: UH, I CAN HAND-TURN
ONE IN ABOUT 15 MINUTES.♪ WE NEED TO FIND
THE CENTER, BECAUSE WE’RE GONNA
TURN THIS THING. WE’RE GONNA PULL THE
BAT OUT OF THIS. AND THE OTHER END. OKAY, WE’RE GONNA GO FIND
THE BAT INSIDE THIS WOOD. OKAY JESSE, WHAT IS THIS THING? IT’S A ROUGHING
GOUGE IT’S CALLED. IT’S A
ROUGHING GOUGE. WHICH IS USED TO INITIALLY
GO FROM SQUARE TO ROUND. IT’S GOOD FOR KNOCKING
THE CORNERS OFF.♪ ♪JILL, V/O: NEXT JESSE
MEASURES THE ROUGHED-OUT BAT
TO 34 INCHES.AND WE USE A PARTING TOOL TO
CUT GROOVES INTO THE ENDS.
JESSE: NOW WE JUST HAVE THE
BASIC LAYOUT OF OUR BAT IN BETWEEN THESE TWO POINTS. THEN WE SWITCH OVER TO… HERE IS CALLED A SPINDLE GOUGE. IT’S SIMILAR TO THE ROUGHING
GOUGE, BUT MADE MORE FOR THESE TIGHT AREAS.JILL, V/O:
JESSE ADJUSTS THE BARREL SIZE
TO FIT THE PLAYER SO HE’LL
KEEP TURNING THE BARREL
TO THE PROPER MEASUREMENTS.JESSE: IF YOU WERE MY CUSTOMER,
YOU WOULD COME OVER HERE AND PUT YOUR HANDS ON HERE
AND KIND OF GIVE IT THAT- JUST GIVE IT A TRY. LET ME JUST TEST
THIS ONE OUT. RIGHT? YEAH. OH, THAT IS PERFECT. PERFECT. OH, YEAH. BUT IT’S A LITTLE PRICKLY. YOU’RE GONNA HAVE
TO SAND IT THEN.♪ ♪JILL: SANDING,
SANDING. JESSE: SANDING,
SANDING. PUT A LITTLE MORE PRESSURE
UNDER HERE WITH YOUR HANDS. YEAH, IT STARTS GETTING
HOT AFTER A WHILE. WHEN YOU SAND WOOD ON A LATHE,
YOU’RE SANDING AGAINST THE GRAIN BECAUSE THE GRAINS ARE GOING
THIS WAY, SO IT’S GOOD TO JUST…JILL, V/O: JESSE CUTS
THE TURNED ENDS OFF OF THE BAT
BEFORE WE MOVE ON.NEXT, WE’LL BE CREATING
A KIND OF CUP ON THE
TOP OF THE BARREL.I’VE SEEN THIS
DONE BEFORE ON BATS,
BUT I’VE ALWAYS WONDERED WHY.JESSE: AS MAPLE BATS CAME
INTO THE MARKET, THEY NEEDED A WAY TO MAKE THEM LIGHTER,
SO WE TAKE ABOUT A ONE-INCH CUT OUT OF THE END OF
THE BAT WHICH TAKES ABOUT AN OUNCE OF WEIGHT
OFF OUR BAT. AND MAKES IT FEEL A LITTLE
MORE BALANCED BECAUSE YOU’RE TAKING IT OUT OF THE BARREL. JILL: THIS IS
A CUPPER. THIS IS A CUSTOM
CUPPING MACHINE. A CUSTOM CUPPING
MACHINE. JESSE: CUSTOM MADE
CUPPING MACHINE. OKAY. ONE OF A KIND. PUSH IT DOWN IN THERE AT
THE SAME TIME THAT YOU TIGHTEN THAT TOGETHER. AND NOW GET THE LEVERAGE
ON THAT. JILL: ALL RIGHT. AS MUCH LEVERAGE
AS YOU CAN, YUP. OKAY. NOW FLIP HER ON.[CUTTING]
OH, SHEISA PRO!♪ ♪JILL, V/O: JESSE’S BATS
START AT $25 FOR A KID’S FIRST
BAT, AND GO UP TO $75 FOR AN
ADULT BAT WITH A CUSTOM LOGO.
JESSE: I’M READY TO PUT
THE LaCASSE BAT LOGO ON HERE.♪ AND THEN IT WOULD BE READY
FOR THE PAINTING ROOM TO PUT A CLEAR COAT OVER THIS. JILL: WHAT ARE PEOPLE SAYING
ABOUT YOUR BATS? WHAT’S IN THE FEEDBACK
THAT YOU GET? JESSE: I’LL GET
LETTERS FROM DADS. “HEY, MY KID JUST
GOT A DOUBLE, OR RIPPED A TRIPLE
WITH YOUR BAT.” AND THAT IS REWARDING.♪ ♪

1 thought on “Baseball Bats | Handcrafted America

  1. 🏆 ⚾💨
    I love this Series –
    all the Episodes are super interesting and so well made .
    The Presenter's Hands On,totally unpretentious Enthusiasm and Charm is highly infectious.
    Thank Y'all Very Much 🌺

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