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to david hendley: regarding bat pins (long)

updated fri 10 nov 06


Michael Wendt on thu 9 nov 06

I like David's idea. I wish I had thought
of it. Instead, I looked at why the bats
were loose and warped at the University
of Idaho and found an easy remedy that
has solved the loose bat pin problem
as well as being inexpensive.
If you only drill partly through the bat,
the holes stay the same size provided
they are drilled in the correct location.
To do this, get a 1" x 3/8" x 13" piece of
flat bar. Carefully mark 3 key points
along a scribed center line: pin... center.. pin.
use a fine point center punch
(called a prick punch), to make a small dent
at these key points. Now tap a standard
center punch at each to assure the drill will
stay on the spot selected. Drill the two pin
holes first exactly the size of the Allen head
cap screws on your wheel head.
Place the metal bar on the wheel head.
If it fits properly, you have made a good
drill guide. If not, get another piece of
bar stock and do it over until you get a
perfect slip fit without the need to enlarge
the holes at all. Now you can drill the center
hole the size of a sheet rock nail. This is
the center guide. After this , I add one more
hole the size of a sheet rock nail 1/2" in from the
bat pin so that I can keep the drill guide in
place while drilling. Set the drill press depth
stop just deep enough that the pins can go
all the way in with a little extra clearance.
By not drilling all the way through you
keep the pin holes clean and sound.
Keep this tool safe for later use.
3/4" thick particle board comes in an
oversize sheet form (97" x 49") so that
12" bats can be cut without dips where
the saw kerfs meet.
I started with a grid laid out for the centers
at 6 1/8" , 18 1/4", 30 3/8", ... etc.
A sheet rock nail is driven slightly into
the intersection. A piece of rebar tie
wire is wrapped around the nail, extending
long enough to reach the desired radius
after it is wrapped around a pencil.
This makes a compass if you don't have
one capable of drawing such large circles.
I made 96 bats from 3 sheets of particle
board 33 years ago. They are still in
great shape with tight bat pins because
I coated them top, bottom and side with
3 coats of urethane finish.
The face and back coatings are put on
while the sheets are uncut. The edges
and holes are finished after cutting and drilling.
I have lately adopted Vince's cloth bat
system for smaller items and especially
tile with good success.
I added sharpie circles a few years ago and
recoated to make plate bases more uniform
and to aid with the rod-restand method of
plate production.
Michael Wendt
Wendt Pottery
2729 Clearwater Ave
Lewiston, Idaho 83501