Instructables

How to Make a Conductor's Baton

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Starting in 8th grade (when I first got my lathe), I've made my band teacher (whoever that might be at the time) a baton every year. This would be pretty unexciting, except for the fact that I have the power of different materials on my side! So I decided to make an oak handled one the first year, cocobolo the second, and acrylic acetate the third. But what about the fourth year you ask? Well, my first teacher retired after freshman year, so the new guy's only gonna have me for three years. Which is lucky, because I don't have a fourth material lined up :P

WARNING: Please use any and all precautions necessary when working with power tools. There is a significant amount of sanding involved in this project, so please make sure you have access to a dust mask or filter of some sort. Also, if you choose to replicate this project using cocobolo, be aware that many people are allergic to its dust and you might be one of them. If in doubt, go with a wood you've worked with and know is safe.
 
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tsttechgeek4 months ago
Thanks
tsttechgeek4 months ago
Wow this looks amazing I'm in 8th grade and I was looking for something I could get my band teachers now I know! Batons and matching pens I'll turn!
gg1220 (author)  tsttechgeek4 months ago
Fantastic! I made my first baton in 8th grade too :) Have fun!
iceng1 year ago
A very excellent baton job you should have asked to be Featured.
The first lighted baton I made used a smaller El_driver and coin battery.
Here is the one made for Halloween .

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gg1220 (author)  iceng8 months ago
Wow, it's lovely! For some reason I never thought of using EL wire, even though I've been trying to make a lit baton for years. Thanks for the idea!
im making a brass one for my girlfriend and the angle feature of a metal lathe comes in handy here but i still need to smooth it out with a file
gg1220 (author)  robotmastern8 months ago
Oh cool! How'd it turn out? I've actually been able to turn brass and other metals on a good ol' wood lathe, the tools just need more frequent sharpening.
thats a purdy chuck you got there
Any way to do this without a lathe..................... we dont have a woodturning club or anything like that around here..... i actually dont even have any idea how to use a lathe but this looks like an awesome gift for my my band director..........
gg1220 (author)  LexiLovesPie2 years ago
Do you have access to a hand drill (or, even better, a drill press)? If you do, you can definitely make the shaft, the handle's a bit harder. Try drilling a 1/2" diameter hole 1" or so deep in one end of a piece of wood (enough to be secure) and glue in a dowel or metal rod. With the drill clamped in a vice, securely strapped to a table, or what have you, put the dowel in the drill chuck and tighten it down. Since you won't have a tool rest, I'd recommend using various rasps, files, etc. to get it down to the shape you want, and then proceeding from there with sandpaper.
When drilling the hole that connects the handle to the shaft, you should probably start with a small bit (1/16" or so) just to get the hole started, then move up to 1/8" and finally 3/16". This should make your life easier because each bit is only removing a small amount of wood at a time, thus requiring less force each time you drill. First, make a dimple in the surface of the wood with your files to help guide the drill bit. Now, using a pair of pliers or vice grips or something that's not your fingers, get a firm grip on the drill bit and push it into the spinning wood. This will require a fair amount of pressure, but if you do it in steps you should be fine. Drill to the depth you want, repeat with the other two bits, and you're done! 
Finish sanding through the grits, add a finish if you want to, part it off, and glue the two pieces together.

Also, if your school (I'm assuming you're still in school, sorry if I'm wrong) has a shop, talk to the teacher there and see if they have any suggestions. They might even have a lathe :)

Hope this helps!
thanks for replying i could talk to the shop teacher for sure maybe borrow some tools or get on the lathe. I appreciate all the help i will be sure to try that!
gg1220 (author)  LexiLovesPie2 years ago
Sure, anytime. Good luck!
FrozenIce2 years ago
u mean thats how to make the thingy the fancy crazy guy waves around during an orchestra?? cool :)
gg1220 (author)  FrozenIce2 years ago
Heh, sure is. Nice description btw ;)
singerguy742 years ago
What a great gift! As a (former) music teacher this would be something I'd be proud to get. One of these days I'll get around to playing with a lathe.
gg1220 (author)  singerguy742 years ago
Glad you like it :)

Heck, when you get your lathe we could start our own baton business to rival Mollard! :P
Sounds good to me. I've been looking for a new line of work anyway! We'll definitely have to get that balance down. Conductors are picky about that. :)
gg1220 (author)  singerguy742 years ago
Awesome! Heh, I always over sand the shaft and end up with batons that are just barely too heavy in the handle. 
friger2 years ago
Nice work, sweet lathe, having some tool envy here.
gg1220 (author)  friger2 years ago
Thanks! Maybe it's time to add a lathe to your tool collection ;)
friger gg12202 years ago
I've got a 47" mono rail lathe, but I really want a jet like yours.
gg1220 (author)  friger2 years ago
See, you've got a nice long bed though :)
I got mine when jet was having that promotion a while back for $100 off or something, it's a 1220vs. But it looks like a bunch of other companies have raised the bar for their lathes too (notably psi's turncrafters, and I hear the deltas are pretty good too)
I have chuck envy. I have a 60" craftsman with a 20" turning capacity, but no chuck...
gg1220 (author)  snowluck23452 years ago
Aw :(
Well, congrats on your awesome lathe first of all. If you look around ebay and stuff you'll probably find a nice chuck for fairly cheap. If not, psi has some nice looking ones here and here, and if you scroll through here you might find something that catches your eye as well :)
friger gg12202 years ago
I do have a lot of delta tools and I always liked the look of the midi they make, but hey, you got a Jet....need I say more?
gg1220 (author)  friger2 years ago
Haha, good point :)
rimar20002 years ago
Very nice and well done!
gg1220 (author)  rimar20002 years ago
Thank you very much! It's an honor to hear that from you :)
facklere2 years ago
I've been looking for good instructions to make one of these! Now if we only had a lathe... Nice job.
gg1220 (author)  facklere2 years ago
Thanks! Glad I could help :)

You might be able to find a local woodturning club and see what their policy is on shop time (for the one near me, they have "skill enhancement" sessions twice a month where you pay a $5 shop fee and get to use all the tools, and there're experienced members there that are more than happy to help out), or you could go to your local wood store (woodcraft, rockler's, etc.) and take a woodturning class.
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