Replacing the Outer Leather Shell on a Baseball

Picture of Replacing the Outer Leather Shell on a Baseball
On my bike commute home a few weeks ago, I found a baseball that had burst its stitching. It seemed interesting enough of an object, so I through it in my bag and brought it home with me. After a little research, I could hardly find any information where anyone had discussed making a baseball, even just the outer layer, so I figured it was up to me. 

I spent about 3 hours total on this project - one making the materials and two putting it all together.

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Step 1: Materials Needed

Scrap Leather (I used a 10x6 scrap and had space leftover)

Waxed Thread (9 ft or so) - I got this from the leather section in Joann's

2 Upholstery Needles

Baseball That Needs a Makeover

Cup of Warm Water


Step 2: Remove the Insides

Picture of Remove the Insides
baseball cutaway.jpg
Baseballs are made up of many layers of rubber/cork, varying sizes and lengths of strings, coated in rubber cement, and finally stitched with two leather pieces that are connected in 108 places with a double stitch that has come to be known as the baseball stitch. 

I had no need to start from scratch since the insides were fine, but the leather shell on this ball had seen better days. I pulled out the trusty pocket knife and started opening it up a little more until I could pry the core from the leather.
Anndei 28 days ago
I really want to try this! How long do you soak the leather for? Thanks!
imamathguy (author)  Anndei 23 days ago

I used warm water and let it sit for maybe 15 or 20 minutes. Just enough for it to get a bit pliable. Thanks for checking it out, and please post a photo if you decide to do one.

My husband recovers baseballs and puts local high school names on them. He says that to finish them, you take the needles with the thread on them and run the threads back under the last 2 or 3 stitches and then cut them off. If you have a little tag, you can just push it under. This will lock your stitches in so they won't come loose.
I've seen video of the guys who lace baseballs and can appreciate the effort this took; looks great!
ggarnier1 year ago
I would probably follow NYDevastator's advice, but I love this because I've been fascinated by the question of how it's done. Still don't know about the final stitch, though.

My hypothesis: after the ball is completely stitched, but with last stitch not pulled tight, repeat it, so you have the thread passing through the last hole twice. Pull the next-to-last stitch tight, then the last. Now snip the thread as close as possible to the leather. (It could work!)
Thanks for these instructions. You just solved a problem for me in my next project!
Or you could just buy another baseball LOL but the ivory and black look really good and vintage nice :)
zomfibame1 year ago
Nice. ... I'd always wondered how the stitching on a baseball was done. it turned out nice.
Nice job, looks cool