Sunday, October 7, 2012

Louisville Slugger

100_4118What is the first thing we did in Louisville?  The Louisville Slugger Museum and factory tour, of course.  The whole complex takes up just about half a block in downtown Louisville, just a couple blocks from the Ohio River.  Although a relatively small operation, they make 1.8 million bats a year there.  Today’s wooden bats are made of ash and maple.  The trees are grown in Pennsylvania and New York.  Round billets are cut out of the tree and then the billets are cut down into bats.  Back in the day, the billets were hand machined on a lathe.  Cut after cut was made with various chisels and the dimensions were checked with calipers measured against a model of the bat being cut.  Today the bats are cut on a numerically controlled lathe and only one pass is necessary to achieve a perfect shape in a mere 30 seconds per bat.  Unfortunately we could not take pictures in the factory, but at least we could in the museum -- and ham it up a bit.


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