How to Relace a Glove

CAUTION: Always keep relacing tools out of the reach of children. Do not pull a lacing needle toward your face or body. Relacers must understand that an improperly relaced glove can be a hazard to a ball player and may result in death or serious injury. Proceed cautiously and at your own risk.

The best way for a beginner to approach a glove-relacing project is to just jump in and give it a try. Take your time and be sure to repeat the glove manufacturer’s lacing patterns. Glove relacing speed comes with patience and practice.

The basic tools required are a 6″ eye-type lacing needle, scissors, and a pair of needle-nose pliers.

A typical fielder’s glove is divided into separate lacing sections. The lacing sections for catcher’s mitts and first basemen’s mitts vary slightly, and specific relacing instructions for these gloves are not specifically covered here.

lacingchartSee chart describing the length of lace needed for each section to be laced. This is a guide only as specific lengths vary by glove maker and model. It is always best to begin with an extra-long length of lace to avoid running short before a section is complete – you can always cut off any excess lace after the section is done.

Standard 3/16″ width lace is preferred on virtually every section of every glove. The wider 1/4″ width lace is only used as needed for extra strength, perhaps on the glove’s webbing and/or top-of-fingers on some catcher’s mitts, first basement’s mitts, and larger outfielder’s gloves. Try to match the lace width of the new lace to the lace the manufacturer put in the glove. The lace color is a matter of personal choice.

Using a pair of scissors, make a small point on one end of a new lace. Cut only enough so that the end of the lace fits into the hole at the end of the 6″ eye-type lacing needle. Insert the pointed end of the new lace into the open end of the needle. Push and twist the end of the lace clockwise and screw about 1″ of lace into the threaded open end of the needle or until it is secure. Tug on the lace to make sure that the needle is gripping it tightly.

Inspect and identify the section of lace you plan to remove and replace. Try to find each end of the old lace section. Note the pattern and how it was laced at the factory and how the lace is knotted at each end.

Begin by untying one of the knots to reveal the end of the old lace. With your fingers or needle-nose pliers, reverse the end of the old lace back through just the first hold. Then, feed the pointed end of the needle right behind the old lace immediately after it is removed. It is strongly recommended that beginners remove-and-relace a little at a time like this – if you remove too much you forget the lace pattern used by the glove manufacturer.

A relaced glove looks and performs better if the lacing is not twisted. The lacing should always lay flat – pull the needle and lace through the hole with the lace laying flat. Typically the smooth finished side of the lace faces up. The new lace should be tightened as you go. Some stretching will occur during play. A newly relaced glove will be tight and stiff like a new glove, so some glove break-in will be necessary.

To remove the lacing needle after your section is complete, pull and twist the lace counter-clockwise out of the needle. Cut off excess lace after knots are tied.

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