David Chandler custom makes wooden bats for major league baseball players like Phillies Shane Victorino from his shop in Norristown. A furniture maker, Chandler started RX Sport when he realized that he had the skill to make quality maple wood bats that wouldn't shatter and injure players and fans as some soft or silver maple bats had been doing. Watch video here.
Transcript of interview follows
>>DAVID CHANDLER: This is the VIC8 model. This is the bat that I make for Shane Victorino. We make this exact model. That’s why it’s named the VIC8 because it’s his personal model. We make in 34 inches 31 ounces, 34 inches 32 ounces for him. And this is the bat that he prefers to use, this particular model from the left side of the plate. There’s another model for him on the right side of the plate. Some players stick with one bat model. Some of them have three, four, five different models. It depends upon how they feel that day, what type of pitcher they’re facing. Personally, I love this model. It does an excellent job for younger players from high school level all the way up through college as well as the minor leagues.
[Chandler talking with customers and demonstrating with the small pink Mother’s Day bat model]
Many times you get a much better technique and much better form by swinging with a wood bat than you with a metal bat. Especially as you’re progressing and learning.
>>RUDNICK: Why is that?
>>CHANDLER: Again it comes down to the weight distribution. And also the fact that wood bats are not forgiving. The sweet spot on this bat as everyone refers to it or the center of percussion is going to be right around this area from here to here. So if you take it off the tip, you’ll have an odd shot. If you take it below, down closer to the hand you’ll have a bad shot. To maximize the performance of the ball off the barrel-
>> RUDNICK : What is the sweet spot?
>> CHANDLER The center of percussion where all the nodes, the vibration nodes converge at one spot
The primary wood we use in our shop is maple. We set out to prove out you can make a high quality wood bat that wouldn’t blow apart into multi-pieces putting both players, fans and officials at harm’s way. That barrel comes flying off the tip of this bat and the player is left with the handle and the barrel starts helicoptering into the field of play or worse yet into the stands and bad things can happen.
There’s a lot of injuries that were starting to amass year after year. Major League Baseball, much to their credit said,“ You know, we have to do an investigation and figure out whether or not it’s a viable species to use. And if so, let’s come up with some targeted measures for the manufacturing process to help us design and alleviate the amount of multi-piece breakdown
They really dumbed down the performance of the metal bat to the extent that our wood bats actually outperform the current metal bats.