This article originally appeared on BaseballMonkey.com
In baseball and softball, a glove is a tool that players spend exorbitant amounts of time breaking in, working on, using and protecting. But eventually, the time comes for every glove when a lace snaps or a ball breaks through the webbing, and the last thing any player wants to do is throw out his or her well-conditioned glove and start fresh.
Your fielding glove is, in a sense, an extension of you, but that inevitable time will come and your glove will need repair. Softball and baseball glove restoration is something any player can do by simply following the instructions in this guide.
What You Need: Tools For Re-Lacing
Re-lacing a glove is something that can be done in just a few hours. It's true that the first few times you do it, re-lacing can be one of the more complicated types of glove repair, but you'll become more comfortable with the process after having done it a time or two. You'll need the following tools to properly re-lace your glove:
- Laces—these usually come in lengths of 72 inches and a typical glove will require 3-4 laces. If you are re-lacing a trapeze glove, modified trapeze glove, catcher's glove or first basemen's mitt, you'll need more. Typically, six will be enough.
- U-wire or straight-lace grooved needle
You should be able find many of these items in the Glove Accessories section of BaseballMonkey.com's online store.
How to Lace a Softball or Baseball Glove
It's ok if you don't know how to repair a glove at first. Many people feel overwhelmed with the thought of re-lacing a glove on their own, but the process actually isn't as daunting as it seems. Follow these easy steps and you'll have your glove re-laced in no time:
- Before you remove the older laces that have broken down or ripped, draw a diagram or take pictures of the glove from multiple angles so you don't get lost in the process. If this is the first time you have re-laced a glove, you should immediately re-lace as you go so you don't get lost. You should do this by removing and replacing one lace, one hole at a time.
- Once the laces have been removed, apply conditioner to the glove, especially on the areas between the fingers and other areas that would otherwise be too difficult to get to when the laces are on. Make sure to work the conditioner into the entire glove, even on the inside, but be sure to use sparingly and don't over apply.
- Before you begin to re-lace, rub some conditioner on the laces to help make them go through the holes easier. This will also be easier on your fingers.
- On one end of the lace, take your punch and make a small hole. Stick one side of your u-wire needle through the hole and tie a knot at the opposite side of the lace. You should start with the toughest area to re-lace, which would be the palm.
- When you first start lacing, you should be sure that the smooth side of the lace is exposed. Start at the back side of the pinky finger and look for a hole that doesn't appear to belong. This is usually located on the right side of the pinky finger on a right hand throw glove, and on the opposite for a left hand throw glove. Feed the needle and lace through the hole and trace down the line to the palm. These first few holes will be the hardest to complete. Use your non-lacing hand to try and feel the holes through the underside of the glove. This will give you a more accurate judgment and allow you to feel your glove's pattern and how you need to lace.
- On most gloves, the pattern you will want to follow for these next series of holes would be: lace, lace, lace, space, lace, lace, lace. When you reach the area where the web should be, use the closest hole and tie off a knot, while leaving enough to be able to tie it up later.
- Complete the lacing around the rest of the glove using the same method, but you will need to re-lace the web before finishing. See below for detailed directions on how to replace your glove web.