You might need to remove the end cap on your softball bat for a variety of reasons. Fiber can loosen within a bat and rattle around, which is distracting. Cap removal is sometimes needed to determine how deep a surface crack is. Another reason to remove the cap is to shave the bat, a process that thins the bat's inner walls to increase how far a ball will go when hit. Bat shaving is generally performed for home run derbies, tournaments and practice purposes, and is illegal in most league play.
Boil about a quart of water and use a cooking thermometer to test the temperature. Water temperature should be between 50 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit to cause the bat's fibers to expand. Pour the water into a bucket and place the bat in the water, bat cap side down, for about 1 minute. You do not have to submerge the entire bat, just the end with the cap.
Place the barrel of the bat in a standard industrial vice and turn the crank as needed until the bat is firmly locked into the vice. You should be able to see the seal between the bat cap and the rest of the bat. Avoid over-tightening the vice, as this can squeeze and deform the bat.
Place a thin pry bar in the sealed area and hit the other end of the bar with your hammer. The applied heat should make the cap come off with one or two hits. Apply the pry bar to the bat on an angle rather than straight through to avoid injuring the bat cap.
Try this method on cheap bats first to avoid ruining quality bats. Professional bat shavers generally use a proprietary process to remove the cap without injuring the bat.
You can also opt to put on a pair of safety goggles and work gloves, and apply heat to the bat cap seal using a blow torch. Allow the heat to engulf the entire cap for about 30 to 45 seconds. Keep a fire extinguisher close by while working with the blow torch in case of small fires, and only use a blow torch if you have experience working with this tool.
Use a screwdriver, knife or putty knife instead of a pry bar and hammer to remove the cap. The putty knife will not upset the bat's paint job.
A bat that has been tampered with generally cannot be used in league play, whether professional or amateur. If you decide remove the cap, note that you will probably only be able to use it for practice, though you can check your league's rules about using altered bats during games.
Kent Page McGroarty has worked as a writer since 2006, contributing numerous articles to various websites. She is a frequent contributor to the health and fitness sections of the online magazine EDGE Publications and holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Saint Joseph's University.