Bat shaving and rolling has been around ever since the advent of the composite softball bat 10+ years ago. Back in the day, not everyone was aware bats were being altered nor did they know the performance gains a simple modification can do. I know when I first found out about it, I always wondered why my buddy’s bat hit better than my own when we had the same exact model. Baseball bat shaving services were only available through friends of friends who knew a bat doctor and who were open enough to talk about it. Many bat docs remained underground for some time, but over the years, this service has become marketed and much less taboo. You can do a Google search and see all kinds of bat shaving companies offering their service and experience. Needless to say, shaved bats are everywhere.
With this said, we feel it is important for you to know the truth behind this industry because there are a lot of companies out there advertising services they are not performing. It is amazing to see the level of creativity used to deceive the consumer. Pictures of scale weight, customer reviews, and compression tests are all ways inferior companies try to get around documenting what they use to shave your bat with. Truth be told, I can count on one hand (not all fingers) the number of bat shaving companies who own a bat shaving machine and do the work start to finish.
We are not in the bad mouthing business, but we know who the players and frauds are. The #1 way to prove a fraud is to ask for photos or video documentation of your bat being turned down in the lathe. If ANY excuse is given as to why this cannot be provided, we would respectively pass. There is no excuse worthy enough of not supplying the consumer what is being requested. Scale weight, before and after photos, and compression tests are absolutely worthless because they completely avoid the obvious...what are you shaving my bat with? We have personally called some of the front page Google search bat shaving companies and were given these stories as to why a video cannot be provided...no joke.
"the machine shop doesn't allow cameras inside"
"our process is proprietary and we cannot show our methods"
"my grandfather shaves the bats" (this is my favorite btw -- LOL)
Bottom line, before purchasing any shaved bat or sending one off for service, especially online, we highly suggest asking for pictures or video of the work being done if it is not already on display. It is very easy to hide behind a website and make claims of services not being performed. If any excuse or story is given as to why pictures and/or video cannot be provided of your bat or bats in general, they are not using a bat shaving machine or not shaving your bat simply put. We have heard countless stories from our customers who defected from these companies for similar reasons. We respect and appreciate all of the business given to us and will always ensure you are getting a top notch, quality bat shaving service. We have been burnt ourselves in the past, and that’s one of the driving principles as to why we entered into this business. We’re determined to become one of the best bat shaving companies to make up for the ones that don’t live up to their promises.
Bat Shaving Process
So what is bat shaving? And what do Homerun Derby’s baseball bat shaving services entail?
All bats are shaved to spec on our fully automated, precision lathe with digital 2-axis read out. aka DRO. The DRO tells us exactly how far into the wall we are and how far down the barrel we go. This is very important as it takes all the guess work out of the equation. Say your barrel is 12", you want to cut 12". Not 11.5" or 12.1", but 12". Our readout stops the machine at precisely the length of your barrel. Over cutting depth wise will either ruin your bat (too far in) and under cutting will not allow the walls to flex completely (not far enough in), depriving you of full performance. Another benefit to the DRO is that we know exactly how far into the wall we are. This is displayed to the thousandth of an inch. We pre-program our machine to cut out a precise amount of wall thickness out of every model bat we shave.
Once shaving is complete, we use an air hose and blow out all the residual dust and weigh it to ensure we have removed the desired amount of material. If we are satisfied the shaving process is complete. If poly was ordered, this is when the product is applied to your bat.
End Cap Installation
During re-assembly, we re-install the end cap and all counter weighting using an industrial strength urethane rubber compound with a high tensile / shear ratio. This basically means our urethane rubber compound is tough yet flexible. In addition to these properties, the product we use is also highly viscous which is important for completely sealing the cap to the bat. We have seen other bat docs that use putty like epoxies and the caps do not seat right. In most cases, you can twist the cap off with your hands!!! The last thing you need is to have the end cap fly off your bat.
Where end cap replacement is necessary, we use only the best end caps in the industry. Our replacement end caps cannot be differentiated from the factory cap, have the same wear patterns as a factory cap and are very tough and durable.
After the end cap is fully seated, we roll the bat. There are varying methods, techniques and all kinds of documentation out there on bat rolling. We have rolled thousands of bats and what we have found to work best is rolling the bat after the shaving service has been performed using a perpendicular then parallel method. We roll it to the point to where the bat is starting to break in, but is not broken in. Natural break in is best (physically hitting a ball) and over rolling a bat does nothing but leave waves, flat spots, pulling off / creasing decals. Worst of all, it can potentially break the bat in the process.
Distance Pick-up and Durability
The million dollar question is "how much more distance am I going to gain" and the answer is it all depends. All depends on how hard you swing, what ball is being used, and what the weather is like. It is not untypical to pick up 50, 60, 70ft + in the right conditions!!! On the flip side, shaving a bat does decrease the lifespan of your bat as the walls are thinner, HOWEVER, if shaved correctly AND properly used it should not diminish by much. Four main factors come into play for distance and diminishing the life span of your bat:
1) How aggressive the shave job is. Plain and simple, the more material that is removed, the thinner the walls are inside your bat.
2) How many people use your bat. It is highly recommended to keep these bats to yourself as this greatly lessens the number of swings being put on the bat.
3) Type of ball being hit. The harder the ball the further it travels, however, this also compresses the barrel more and is less forgiving thus running a chance of cracking the barrel.
4) Weather. These bats as well as any composite bat should NOT be used in cold weather. Composite bats are flexible and with cold weather, the bat stiffens up more than it would using it in normal conditions. In addition to, most balls firm up in cold weather as well which will also contributes to premature breakage.
What is bat shaving going to do to your bat’s durability? Depending on the specs, most shaved and rolled baseball bats remain very durable. We have had plenty of customers tell us they have put over a thousand swings on some bats and have personally seen our bats in rotation for years. If shaven correctly and with proper usage, there is no reason why your bat cannot be enjoyed for many hits to come.