Introduction: The Great American Past Time: Survival!

About: For want of a nail the shoe was lost. For want of a shoe the horse was lost. For want of a horse the rider was lost. For want of a rider the message was lost. For want of a message the battle was lost. For wan…

This instructable is actually inspired by another:

When I saw this I couldn't, for the life of me, figure as to why anyone in their right mind would expend the energy necessary to take apart a baseball? I mean, what the hell, right? Then it dawned on me: what if that was all you had?

Now, not to knock the author, but he/she didn't really expend the energy to dismantle so much as tear apart a baseball, leaving me with a lot of unanswered questions;

"How strong are the different types of cordage?"

"What are their properties?"

"What's their composition?"

"Are there several smaller lengths bound into homogenous layers? or continuous lengths spooled in different strata?"


Perplexed & bored...

Perplexed, bored and with entirely too much time on my hands, I choose to investigate. The following are my findings, enjoy!

Fast Fact: The Average MLB ball only remains in play for a total of 5 -7 pitches!

Step 1: Let's Crack This Chestnut!

While everything in the modern era seems predestine to fall apart: Bobby & Whitney, Sunny & Cher, NSYNC and The Backstreet Boys it was actually kinda difficult to slip a knife under those seams all things considered. But, once I'd gotten one, the rest popped like Pringles and the leathers slipped off like a prom dress.

I took my time, and unlaced the red thread (try saying that five times fast) rather then butchering it quick and dirty. I figured I'd probably find a use for it. *Spoiler alert: I was right!*. I also didn't want to damaged the leather in any way as I was working under the pretense that this was a survival situation. "Waste not, want not."

The red thread was actually incredibly strong and, not a singular thread at all, but two, laced as one, leaving you twice the cordage for the price of admission! I can't shake a stick at a good two-fer. Unless, you count a bat... But you don't so much shake a bat, as swing it. So, my argument's sound.

Fast Fact: There are 106 double stitches or, if you prefer, 216 individual stitches on all official MLB baseballs

Step 2: Possibilities Pouch? Yes, Please.

Now, once I'd gotten the nut out of it's shell, I was left with the shell, mostly intact. Here, if I'd chosen to, I could have used some pine-pitch (resin or sap from a pine tree) to seal the seams as to be water tight (mostly) and left it at that.

I needn't expound on the usefulness of a container in the wild: foraging, tinder collection, crude cup, yadda, yadda, yadda... If you really have to ask, you should probably take a moment and get your bearings in the world of survival/prepping/bushcraft in general, and come on back once your feet dry. Go on, I'll wait...

I didn't play too much with the container concept, as I was looking for a total break down and the *opportunity cost* of leaving the leathers as they were (mostly) was too high.

The crafting/cuteness factor didn't elude me however. The first person to make a handbag/slingshot ammo holster, pretty much anything cool/useful and more then simply cutting out a baseball's core and calling it something else with get a three month Pro-membership on me. Have at ye, cretins and crafters alike! Though not necessarily in that order : ) Post in the comments photos & description please

*Opportunity cost: The loss of potential gain from alternatives when one alternative is chosen. Basically: " You can't have your cake, and eat it too?

Fast fact: Before the standardization of baseballs pitchers/teams and even cobblers would make their own balls for use during the game. Sometimes right there on the sidelines!

Step 3: I'm Not the Only One Coming Unraveled.

Once I'd gotten the outer coverings off and had accounted for the thread with which they'd been bound. I moved on to the ball's innards and started the slow laborious task of unwinding it, all of it, layer by layer.

The good news: There's a lot of cordage in there

The great news: It's wound in one continuous strand per layer (though other balls may vary, not sure.)

The so-so news: The tensile strengths varied wildly from one layer to the next. Some I could break with my hands, others; not so much. What's that they say about variety? It's the spice of life,

In the photos above you'll see I've taken some backing boards from a previous 'ible:

and cut them to make some impromptu bobbins (which worked wonderfully I might add!).

The outermost layer was synthetic and quite strong. How do I know it was synthetic? It melted. Have I mentioned I like fire? Though I could snap it with a little bit of effort (think floss-lite), this stuff tripled up on itself (braided) could stand up to quite a bit of force, and would make decent fishing line in a pinch.

The next layer was cotton, presumably, not entirely sure to be honest but it was white and I doubt they're willing to go bleaching wool for the interior of a baseball; I could be wrong. This "thread" was really more like a thin yarn than thread and could easily be broken with almost no effort, believe me! It broke of it's own accord at least twice while I was spooling it. That last time, just to spite me, I'm sure of it!

Fast fact: There can be upwards of a mile of combined cordage in an average baseball

Step 4: Prettier Then a Christmas Sweater.

These next few layers were a little more beefy than their predecessors, however not by much. In the above pictures you can see that there were two layers of a similar material (like in color and tensile strength) with a third of a varying material.

The darker material is a wool yarn (research) that couldn't really hold it's own when given a good tug. Knowing that, and that it was organic (though how much so is entirely up in the air) I decided to braid it for any rough and tumble rowdiness and pill it for use as tinder!

The lighter (in color) of the two materials was quite strong, as such, I left it be as my primary cordage for use in shelter building, tool making, e.t.c. Granted, it doesn't hold a candle to 550 cord. But hey, beggars can't be choosers; unless of course, you choose what you're beg for...

The last layer in the mix was a solid rubber (ball). Being that it was rubber I thought that maybe it'd float... not so much, or at all actually. Who knew? I haven't devised any uses for it yet but I was pretty whiped from the other little projects this experiment entailed. Maybe later. Stay tuned!

Super Fast Fact: The fastest recored pitch to date was 105.1 Miles per hour!

Step 5: And the Crowd Goes WILD!

All of the above items were made with materials gleaned from a single baseball if you can believe it. You can also see how much I had left over.

The leather arm guard could be easily converted to Glacier goggles:

or pin-hole glasses:

But I wear RX glasses and sun glasses and I've got a bow so I figured "what the hey," ya know?

The "rope" is a small length fashioned with the more frail of the two interior woolen materials. It's 9 ply and I figure without crafting any of my other projects you could probably make about 5-7ft total. This small length was enough to support the full weight of my combined kits (approx. 45 lbs). I'm tempted to see if it'll support my weight, stay tuned.

The eye patch was mostly for giggles but fit comfortably and looked a heck of a lot more appealing then The Governer's... just saying...

The hunting sling works well. I used the stronger of the two cords, but choose to braid it for added strength due to brace it against centripetal force.

Beyond that, I think everything else is pretty self explanatory. I'm sure I could do a separate instructable on each creation, but really, this was meant to get your gears turning. Hopefully I'd done just that! Thanks for reading it through! As always take what you want, ditch the rest. Cheers!

Addendum: You could always use a baseball to... I don't know, Play baseball! You know, for when the world's not coming to an end... It also makes for one hell of a breaching tool, just ask "Dennis The Menace"

Fast Fact: The outer coverings of baseballs were once made of Horse hide! Poor ol' Mr. Ed....

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