Can You Cork a Softball Bat? [Dos and Don’ts]

Just a few days back, my dog Zuko somehow got a hold of my aluminum softball bat and decided to make it his chew toy. Needless to say, by the time I got to it, the handle was near unusable. Before I threw it away, however, I wanted to try corking it.

I have often heard about corking and how it can make your softball bat hit the ball further each swing, but I never tried it out myself. Strictly speaking, corking a softball bat is not exactly legal in competitive games.

Now, you should know that – yes, you can cork a softball bat, but it’s illegal in league matches. So, you can take your bat out to practice and have a few swings – that’s it.

Since I pride myself on following proper game rules and regulations, I never wanted to try it out with my game bat (I am a coach – so I can’t condone any illicit activities).

However, with such an opportunity at hand, I was not going to let it go to waste. I wanted to give it a shot and see how the corked bat changes the casual training sessions.

So, I started doing research, gathered my supplies, and went to town on my softball bat. And the result, to be honest, was quite amazing. With my experience to guide you, you can cork your softball bat within a couple of hours.

Disclaimer: As I said, corking your softball bat in a competitive match is illegal. I will never endorse such an act, and if you decide to use a corked bat in your game, it is entirely on you. It is not only illegal but is morally wrong as the bat might give you an unfair edge over your opponents.

How Do You Cork a Softball Bat?

Corking a bat, at least a decent aluminum softball bat, is quite easy. If you own an old aluminum bat with a slightly beat-up handle or other problems, you can cork it up to have some fun on your own. Now, I don’t support corking your bat for a competitive game, and I never will do it myself.

If you want to mess with your friends, or just have some fun, then it is completely fine to cork a softball bat that you are not planning on using again. Let me talk about how you can cork an aluminum softball bat in this segment. Don’t worry; if you have a wooden softball bat, I will talk about how to cork it later in this article.

Before you begin, though, there are a couple of items that you need to keep ready at hand.

Necessary Supplies:

  • A hammer and a flat-head screwdriver
  • Two or three tennis balls
  • A pack of gorilla glue
  • A wooden rod that is thinner than your bat’s barrel
  • A helping hand (makes it a lot easier)

Steps to corking your aluminum softball bat:

Step – 1: Remove the End Cap

The first step to corking your softball bat is also the hardest, to be honest. You need to pop open the end cap of your bat without damaging it too much. Now, the end cap is usually glued on pretty well if you have any high-end softball bat. But opening it up will let you access the hollow interior of the barrel.

Try to get the end of the flat-head screwdriver into the groove between the cap and the barrel and gently tap on the other end with the hammer. You need to be patient and gentle. You do not want to apply too much pressure and break the end cap, as you will need to glue it back on later.

Step – 2: Push Balls Through Barrel Opening

When you manage to remove the cap, you will have direct access inside the barrel. Most softball bats are large enough to accommodate a tennis ball. So, I chose that as my material to fill up its insides. Some people also use small bouncy balls, but I think they work better in wooden bats.

For the next step, you want to push the tennis balls through the opening of the barrel. Make sure you push it down as far as it goes down the barrel. The wooden rod will come in handy at this step. You want to get a tight fit so that the bat does not feel hollow anymore.

In my case, three balls were enough to fill up the barrel properly. If you have a shorter bat, two balls might suffice.

Step – 3: Attach the End Cap

With the barrel filled with tennis balls, you can glue the cap back on. Use high-quality glue that can handle the inevitable shock and vibrations that your bat will face. I went with an industrial-grade Gorilla glue that works well on metal. Apply your choice of glue both around the inner barrel and the bottom end of the cap.

For safety, you can also apply an extra bit of glue around the outer layer of the cap. You can sand it off later once the glue dries. My particular glue took around three days to cure properly. So, I left my bat alone in a well-ventilated area after clamping the end cap to the barrel.

That’s about all there’s to it. Once the glue dries, you can take your bat out to the ballpark and see the results yourself.

How Do You Cork a Wooden Softball Bat?

Cork a Wooden Softball Bat

If you have an old-school wooden softball bat and want to try corking it, you have your work cut out for you. Sure, it can be done, but it is not as easy as corking an aluminum bat. You need a lot of elbow grease and a lot of patience to make it work.

Here are the supplies you need to cork a wooden softball bat.

Necessary Supplies:

  • A power drill with a suitable bit
  • A couple of bouncy balls
  • A high-quality wood glue
  • A high-grit sandpaper
  • Wood chips to fill the top

The steps to corking a wooden softball bat are as follows:

Step – 1: Drill the Top of the Bat and Create a Barrel Hollow

The first step is to drill off the top of the barrel to create an opening inside the bat. You need a drill bit to make an initial incision and a spade bit to hollow out the barrel. This part is typically easy and should not take you more than a couple of minutes.

Make sure you do not drill too deep, though. Hollowing out 6 or 7 inches into the barrel should be enough for the job. If you drill too deep, you will mess up the balance and integrity of the bat, which will lead to poor performance and feel when you swing your softball bat.

Step – 2: Put Bouncy Balls Inside Barrel

With the barrel hollowed out, you can put a couple of bouncy balls inside it. These balls are usually smaller than tennis balls. I had to use about 5 to 6 balls to get it to fill up inside the barrel. However, if you make the hole too large, you can simply put tennis balls inside it.

There will naturally be a bit of space in between the balls, and that is completely fine. Once you pour the wood glue, the gap should get filled out on its own.

Step – 3: Close the Top

Once the barrel is filled with bouncy balls and you can’t fit any more of it, it is time to close the top. You need a lot of glue and wood chips to make sure the top looks smooth and polished.

Make sure you are using high-end adhesive and not cheap knock-offs that break apart after a couple of months. Fill the inside with glue and pour a modest amount of wood chips at the top. Let the glue dry thoroughly for a couple of days.

Any decent wood glue can take up to a week to cure fully. So, make sure you give it enough time to dry. Once it dries, you can try it out and see if it helps you hit with more power.

Why is it illegal to use a corked softball bat?

A corked bat, in simple terms, is a modified bat that has its barrel filled with light substances such as wood corks or tennis balls. The result is that the bat has a lower mass which allows for a quicker and more powerful swing.

By changing the performance of a bat, you can get a significant edge over your opponents. Corked bats will allow you to land a home run easier if you get a good hit on the ball.

Needless to say, modifying a bat in a professional or competitive game is considered strictly illegal. So, corking a bat in a professional game can lead to immediate disqualification.

A Few Final Words

Corking a softball bat can be fun if you are doing it for your own pleasure. Watching the ball fly to the stands when hit with a corked bat is definitely a sight to behold. But I urge you not to use a corked bat in a competitive match. It will leave a big stain on your credibility as a competitive player.

But if you are in it for the fun of it, my tips on corking your softball bat should help you understand how to go about it. Cheers!

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