Handcrafted America: Season 2
Season 2 Premieres Oct. 21st at 9:30p ET

Baseball Bats

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Jesse LaCasse  ♦  LaCasse Bats

baseball batsSkowhegan, ME  |  Baseball Bats  |  Website

When Jesse LaCasse says he makes baseball bats, he’s not just talking about spinning a piece of wood on a lathe. Jesse is involved in the entire process, from tree to baseball field. He begins by cutting down an ash tree in his backyard. Then he hand fires them in a kiln. Finally, he selects a section of the dried wood and brings it to life on his lathe, shaping the log as it spins into the perfect hand-made bat.


What drew you to your chosen craft?
I have swung a bat since I was two and I’ve never missed a season since then as a player, coach or both. Making my own bats was a way to design the perfect bat for me.

What do you enjoy most about your craft?
Every bat I make is unique, right down to the weight, feel, model and type of wood. I still feel every bat and pull out the bats that feel perfect to me. Every player has a unique preference.

Why is it important for people to make things with their own hands?
I believe producing products by hand is the only true way to learn the profession. Hand turning bats, combined with automation in time will give the craftsman full knowledge of the process.

In what ways are handmade goods better than those that are mass-produced?
In the baseball world, hand turning is not superior, and machines offer the ability to produce the exact same bat every time without human error, and that’s what players demand, hand turning a player’s first bat is the best way to get a model unique to them.

What does the future hold for your type of work?
Since high school and college introduced the BB core metal bat, a bat designed to perform like wood, most players have started to switch back to wood. Wood bats make players better by forcing them to be more selective or they may break their bat. Wood bats have made a huge comeback in the last 10 years, and will continue to rise. A lathe is an opportunity for every player to make is own bat.

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