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How to Bone a Bat

How to Bone a Bat

What is boning a bat?  Boning baseball bats has been around for a long time.   The simple definition is to compress the wood on the barrel in order to make it more dense.

Players back in the day used a large dried out bone to compress their bats, hence the phrase “boning” their bats.  When a player uses a bat that is denser it will last longer (it won’t splinter or flake as quickly) and it will be a harder piece of wood making the ball come off the bat at a higher speed.

Is it against the rules to bone your bat?  There are no rules against boning a baseball bat.

How to bone a bat.  The original way is to take a large dried out bone and would push down on the barrel of the bat compressing the wood.

One technique would be to have the handle in between their knees on the ground with the barrel in front of you.  Have your hands on both ends of the bone and use your body weight to press it down onto the barrel.  Rub up it and down while making sure to spin it so you get the entire barrel.

How to bone a baseball bat

Image by Ed Wolfstein

Getting access to a large dried out bone can sometimes be a challenge.  Another method would be to find a porcelain counter top or sturdy bathroom appliance that is smooth.

Press the bat down on this object and rub back and forth. This will create the same effect and compress to compress the wood. This works pretty well so you don’t have to keep a large bone in your locker or at your house.

NOT recommended.  I have heard of players using a glass soft drink bottle. I say this because if anyone has heard of this I recommend to not use a glass bottle. You run a high risk of having the glass bottle break in your hands and cutting your hands badly. If you have ever seen the cutting effects from glass you know it is not pretty and can be quite dangerous. So make sure to try using an object that will be safe to use and will not break.

The technique of “boning” is used for wood bats. You will find better results on ash bats because they are naturally less dense than maple. However, this technique will work on any type of wood.  Also look around because I know some bat companies will offer to “bone” or compress the wood for you.

Mariucci bats are bone rubbed and Louisville slugger will do it if you order through them and ask for them to compress the wood. Other companies may do it as well.

The Bottom Line.  Giving your bats a little TLC will make the barrel a little more durable.  With the cost of wood bats getting more expensive, every little technique to help preserve the lifetime of the bat is useful.

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About the Author: Doug Bernier

Doug Bernier, founder of Pro Baseball Insider.com, debuted in the Major Leagues in 2008 with the Colorado Rockies, and has played professional baseball for 13 years. Most recently, Doug signed with the Minnesota Twins in 2013, where he logged time at every infield position except 1st base in 33 Major League games. Currently Doug is with the Twins' AAA team in Rochester, NY

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4 Comments

  1. Hey Doug, anywhere to buy a “bone” that you are aware of? any website or anything? Thanks so much!

  2. Do you recommend using an unfinished bat if you are going to bone it, and then finishing it, or does it not matter?

    • Steve,
      Thanks for your question. It doesn’t matter if your bat is finished or unfinished if you want to bone a bat. Just compress it using a large dry bone, or compressing it on porcelain, then its ready to go. I would recommend not finishing it yourself. I don’t know the exact rules on that and it may make the bat heavier than it was intended. Hope this helps.
      Doug Bernier

      • Thank you Doug!

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