Baseball Glove Lacing Tools Inquiry

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Baseball Glove Lacing Tools Inquiry

Postby sixpointone » April 10th, 2008, 12:03 am

Hi All,

I have a Rookie question as far as what Tools you might use to Relace Gloves and where you get them from.

I've seen Kits online such as the Wilson A2000 Baseball Glove Care Kit (which I recently ordered), the Rawlings Pro Glove Lacing Tool Kit and the Deluxe Professional Ball Glove Repair Kit by reLacer amongst others, but I was hoping to get any and all feedback from you on...
1) What you use
2) What you recommend
3) Where you Order from

Any and all insight would be much appreciated.

All My Best,
John
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Postby BretMan » April 10th, 2008, 2:36 am

For the vast majority of the lace work I do, I use a lacing needle that looks like this:

LACING NEEDLE

The end opposite the blunt-nosed end is hollow, with very fine threads on the inside diameter. You clip the end of your lace into a point and thread it up unto the hollow end of the needle. This creates a "locking" fit that is quite secure. Simply push the needle through the hole, pull it out the other side, and the lace will follow.

These needles are cheap, come in different lengths to fit into tight areas, very quick to get a lace locked into and make it simple to get the lace threaded into the glove.

Every once in awhile, I'll use the common lacing tool we've all seen- the long metal one with a hole in one end and a handle to pull on. I rarely use this because, if your threading the lace through a series of holes, you'll have to take the lace out of the end and reposition it for each individual hole. I use this only when I have a tight spot where the needle might not fit or maybe if I'm just pulling the lace through one or two holes.

Over the years I've picked up the relacing kits offered by Rawlings, the Relacer kit you mentioned and another one produced by Franklin. I haven't seen the contents of the Wilson kit, but might pick one up just for nice carrying case!

Each of the kits I have comes with a lacing tool that is essentially a long wire, bent into a "U" shape. You have to poke a hole through the lace, then thread the wire trhough the hole. Once you do all that, the "wire needles" work pretty well. Getting the lace on the wire is a little more time consuming that the "locking needle". I also found the wire needles to be far less durable, getting slightly bent aout of shape after repeated use. They also provide a less substantial tool to grab ahold of and provide leverage for pulling a lace through a tight hole. But they are a fair, inexpensive alternative.

Each of these kits came with a pair of wire cutters (diagonal pliers) for cutting lace. You can pick up a usable one of those for a buck at a discount store. A good pair of scissors can work equally well, but the small cutting area of the pliers fit into tight spaces better and you can also get more force with them.

Besides that, the kits had various combinations of the the long handle standard lacing tool, replacement laces, glove conditioner, glove oil and an awl for punching leather. And each contained a rudimentary set of basic instructions, each with the cautionary note that when pulling a lace through a hole with a metal tool to pull the lace away from your face or body! Good advice, as I've nicked myself a few times when a stubborn lace suddenly yanks free and the lacing tool was pointing toward me!

Of all the tools and gadgets in the three kits I own, I believe the only tool I'm still using is the wire cutters. I already had a good long handled lacing tool that was better that the ones in these kits. The ones in the kits were rather weak and either bent, broke around the hole where the lace goes through or came loose from the handle.

Besides the locking needle and wire cutters, the other tool I use the most is a small pair of needle nose pliers. These come in handy when removing old laces from a glove, getting ahold of a lace in tight place, or even prying under a lace when the pliers are closed. They can save a lot of wear and tear on your fingers a opposed to pulling out the old laces without a tool.

It's getting late and this is getting long, so if there's anything else you would like to know...ask me tomorrow!
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Postby wjr953 » April 10th, 2008, 9:23 am

To add to Bret's list, 5" curved locking hemostats with serrated jaws, not smooth (check eBay). Curved needle nose pliers with serrated jaws (Home Depot / Lowe's). I also use the "U" wire on occasion. Several different lengths of "locking" needles (longer one for the web "bridge"). Good quality rawhide from Tanner's or Tandy Leather, or any number of other suppliers. You also want to be sure to take the time to pre-condition older gloves before relacing. That's especially important if a glove is really, really dry. In the beginning, I trashed a couple of gloves by trying to re-lace before putting some kind of conditioner on them. (Accidentally ripped out lacing grommets and non-grommeted lacing holes) Also, pre-lubricate the new rawhide you're putting in so it slides through easier. I usually use Vaseline for this. Until you get more experience at it, re-lace with a new lace as you're removing the old lace. Don't make the mistake that I made with my first, that is taking out all the old rawhide from the glove first and then trying to figure out what goes where. Sounds like common sense, but I had no idea what I was doing when I first started. You're taking a step in the right direction by tapping into a great resource of knowledge and experience on this forum. As far as what is recommended, well that's up to the individual. As you spend more time on this forum, you'll find that there are many, many different opinions and ideas on products and methods. It comes down to trial and error and what works for you. As far as where to buy the things you'll need, the members here can give you lots of input, but you can also find any of these things on the Internet. You'll want to do this work in an area that you don't mind getting dirty, like a basement or work shed. I prefer to wear old ratty clothes when I do this, because it can get pretty messy. Oh yeah, keep lots and lots of paper towels or clean rags on hand, you'll need them. That's about all I can come up with. Don't be afraid to ask questions. This is the right place for that. Hope that this helps.

br
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Postby awarsoca » April 10th, 2008, 11:43 am

I'll second the hemostats. My grandfather was a docter so I have a couple of different styles. They are really handy to pull lacing through when you don't have the line of sight or room to maneuver.
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Postby wjr953 » April 10th, 2008, 2:12 pm

Clint,
I tried something that works even better, alligator forceps. Just the very tip of the end opens and closes. They work great but don't last very long. The stress that you put on them when you grab the end of the rawhide and then pull it through the lacing hole, causes them to split open after a while. They are by far, the best thing that I've ever used, but they just don't hold up. They're not all that expensive, I bought like 5 or 10 of them on eBay for short money. The 1st one I bought was from a medical tool website which was fairly expensive, but that one didn't hold up any longer than the less expensive ones that I got on eBay. The only problem I've found with hemostats is that they wreak havoc on my fat sausage-like fingers!! The other thing with hemostats is that the smooth ones don't work with a darn, the serrated jaws work soooo much better and if the tip is curved, it makes life that much easier! :lol:

br
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Postby awarsoca » April 10th, 2008, 3:36 pm

hmm
Will have to go see how many of them I can find in the bag
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Postby wjr953 » April 10th, 2008, 4:00 pm

Clint,
Here's what the alligator forceps look like. As soon as I saw the picture of one of these, I had an AHA moment! lol These also come with serrated, rather than smooth jaws. The smooth jaws just don't seem to hold onto slippery rawhide lacing.

http://cgi.ebay.com/Micro-Alligator-For ... otohosting

br
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Postby awarsoca » April 11th, 2008, 12:22 am

gotcha, and thanks
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Postby docglov » April 11th, 2008, 8:35 am

Ok here goes the the old world secret. For our production we buy a piece of steel wire about 12"long bend it into a 6" that looks like a hair pin. then we buy a paper punch knock out the tube and solder in a thumb tac. punch the lace end, thread the needle and it will follow you any where. want me to post a picture just let me know. I have had as many as 200 lacers using this high tec equipment
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Postby awarsoca » April 11th, 2008, 9:22 am

Bob,
Please, for the love of all that is good and right in the world, post those pictures.
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Postby wjr953 » April 11th, 2008, 9:36 am

Bob,
I would very much be interested in seeing those pictures too. Anything that helps to speed up the lacing process interests me very much. Especially this time of year when turnaround time is so important. Thanks for your input, it's appreciated.

br
wjr953
 

Postby BretMan » April 11th, 2008, 11:39 am

That would be exactly like the "U-wire" thing I described, and what came in my Rawlings relacing kit.

The idea with the paper punch and the thumb tack is an interesting one and something I can see someone in the plant coming up with when you have to lace hundreds of gloves a day. I was an engineer in a manufacturing plant for over twenty years and folks were always coming up with quicker, cheaper and easier ways to skin a cat.

Necessity truly is the mother of invention!

The reason I quit using the U-shaped wire was that to punch the hole in the lace I would have to use an awl, and to avoid punching a hole in my kitchen counter, or coffee table or wherever I was punching the hole, I would have use a small wooden block underneath the lace.

All that was just a little less easy for me than clipping off the end of the lace into a "V" and threading it up into a locking-type needle. Plus, the solid steel locking needle just seems to give me something a little more substantial to grab ahold of and work with when pulling a stubborn lace through a hole.

I suppose that you could punch the hole with a conventional leather punch and you can buy one of those pretty cheap. Might have to look into that!
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Postby candlestick » April 11th, 2008, 1:13 pm

I have been following this post with great interest. I too have a lacing needle and although I like the concept I cannot for the life of me get the lace to stay in the needle. I have tried blunt V, long V, long narrow ends, you name it but each time I can easily pull the lace out of the needle end. Granted I dont have a Tandy lacing needle but the one I do have does have the serrations on the inside. Is there a trick I am missing? Any suggestions would be appreciated.
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Postby BretMan » April 11th, 2008, 2:03 pm

I have a few of the locking needles and the lace seems to hold better in some of them than others. The threads up in the needle are really fine and I think that maybe on some needles they are not as well-formed, or that they are so fine they become damaged with use and lose their grip.

The ones that look like they are made out of brass (gold colored) are the ones I've had the most trouble with, and that might be because brass is softer. The ones that seem to be steel (silver colored), I haven't had as much of a problem.

I clip the end of the lace into a long "V" and that usually works. Keep twisting it up in the threads and you will eventually feel the threads "bite". It is a definite feeling that lets you know the lace is locked in. It even gets so tight that you can't turn the lace any further.

When you can't get the lace locked in, it is frustrating!
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Postby glovemedic » April 11th, 2008, 2:55 pm

BretMan wrote:I have a few of the locking needles and the lace seems to hold better in some of them than others. The threads up in the needle are really fine and I think that maybe on some needles they are not as well-formed, or that they are so fine they become damaged with use and lose their grip. The ones that look like they are made out of brass (gold colored) are the ones I've had the most trouble with, and that might be because brass is softer.


Yes, I have the same problem with a few of my needles. Fortunately they are cheap enough to replace with functional needles. I have it in my mind to buy a thread tap next time I am at Lowes or somewhere and cut new threads in the needle to see if it improves their use. Why do you try it first, and then I'll go buy a tap if it works for you.
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