Resin Balls: The Refreshing
So you bought that new, top-of-the-line, high performance bowling ball. For the first
20 or 30 games you were tearing up the lanes. Five baggers, six baggers, messengers flying
all over the place. You were flying high, putting up big scores. Then something happened.
You noticed the ball was not making the move off the oil like it had been resulting in flat tens:
and, where did the messengers go? So what do you do? Surface management is the key for
better ball reaction.
Today’s resin bowling ball absorbs oil as it travels down the lane. The formula and sanded
finish of the coverstock is designed for better traction (more hook). Under a microscope you
can see tiny pores covering the surface of the bowling ball. Over time, the ridges of the pores
get flattened or dulled.
It’s time to refresh the surface. It’s easy and quickly accomplished. After cleaning the surface
of the ball with a quality cleaner, all that is needed is a little sanding and a coat of polish
( if required). For refreshing most balls, start with an Abralon or SiaAir abrasive pad one grit
coarser than the final grit used by the manufacturer. Allow ten to fifteen seconds with each
grit pad, on each of the four sides.
When refreshing, always wet sand. The lubrication will extend the life of the sanding
pads and make for a more consistent scratch pattern. Always clean the ball when changing grits.
After the final sanding, clean the ball and if required, apply polish.
Not all bowling balls are created equal. If refreshing the ball’s surface to near factory
finish is your goal, check your ball manufacturer’s specifications. They vary widely, from
220 grit to 4000 grit. PYB Inc. has on file up-to-date specs for most bowling balls.
For more information, contact PYBTechSupport@aol.com.
Here in my shop I use two methods to refresh or resurface a ball. One is with the
SMarT Sun and a ball spinner. The other is the SMarT Star, my favorite. Both get the
job done. In my next column I will discuss resurfacing a bowling ball.
See you at the lanes,
Polish Your Ball Inc.
A long, long time ago (23 years), in a place far, far away (Wyoming), I operated a Pro Shop in a
Bowling Center. Urethane was just making the scene. Leverage weight, axis weight,
exotic weight blocks and reactive resin were things of the future.
After a move and a change of careers, I thought my bowling days were over. The bowling bags
and balls were put under the work bench in the garage, not to be touched until four years ago
when I pulled the bags out and threw the last four balls I owned in the trash. For some reason
I keep my old pair of shoes which, amazingly, still fit, despite a few extra pounds.
Then one day a year later a co-worker, who had bowled on the Pro Tour for five years, asked if I
would like to bowl with him and three others in a summer men’s handicap league. So,
I was off to the Pro Shop to replace what had just been thrown away. Or so I thought.
After meeting the shop operator and telling him what kind of equipment and drillings
I had used (3/4oz finger, 3/4oz side) and telling him I wanted one ball for dry lanes and
one for wet, he brought out two new colorful bowling balls. My first question was:
“Got anything in basic black?” I had no idea how much things had changed over the years
and my re-education was about to begin.
I learned ball maintenance was an issue with today’s reactive resin cover stocks.
With yesterday’s equipment, rubber and plastic, the oil stayed on the surface of the ball.
All you had to do was wipe the oil off with a towel. Today’s cover stocks are designed to
absorb lane oil to create friction (hook). Problem is, the more it absorbs, the less it reacts
until it won’t finish and hits the pocket flat. Ball manufacturers recommend cleaning your
equipment after three or four games with a quality ball cleaner.
With plastic and rubber, ball track was not a problem until it became too heavy and
caused the ball to overreact. Then you would have the ball resurfaced. Now manufacturers
recommend light resurfacing (refreshing) after 30 or 40 games. And total resurfacing after 60.Think of today’s bowling balls like a car. The weight block is the engine and the cover stock is
the tire. Just like a car tire, after a period of time, balls begin to lose traction. So either you
replace the tire or have it retread. And at $200.00 a pop, I think I’ll try retreads, thank you.
See you at the lanes,
Today’s game is more about surface management than ever before. Yesterday you
would sand the surface of a ball to get more hook, polish it for less. Current reactive resin
coverstocks used by ball manufacturers have various ingredients (a closely guarded secret),
such as mica and hydrogen peroxide, added to the urethane formula. This creates pores
in the surface. Resin has been added. This resin, like pine tree sap, is tacky.
Fill the pores and cover the resin with lane oil and the ball will lose traction, or power.
There are two very good reasons to resurface a bowling ball.
Foremost is simply economics. It saves you money. With the cost of new bowling balls
having gone up over 300 percent in the last 25 years, resurfacing is the logical thing to do.
Do you have a few balls that are gathering dust in a closet? By resurfacing these bowling balls,
you can increase the size of your arsenal without spending more money on new equipment.
The second reason is ball reaction. Do you want to restore lost reaction or get a
different look? Possibly to better match up to the different oil patterns faced today.
House shot, PBA Experience, USBC Red White and Blue and let’s not forget about the burned
up pattern on the late shift. Another thing to consider is the type of lane surface you will
be bowling on. What works on wood lanes may not work on synthetics.
Increase the effectiveness and life of your equipment by resurfacing. All it takes is a
little time and a few abrasive pads. Open up a new world of ball reactions and get the most
out of your game.
See you at the lanes,
Let’s Talk Scratch Patterns
Maintaining the texture or topography of the surface of a bowling ball is imperative.
The surface is not smooth. It is covered by peaks and valleys. It is described in terms of
‘Ra’ and ‘Rs’ values, where the Ra value is the height of the peaks or depth of the valleys
and of lesser importance Rs value being the distance between the peaks. This helps determine
how aggressive a bowling ball’s reaction will be, it’s hook potential. By manipulating the
surface you can change this reaction.
Look closely at the surface of a new bowling ball. In bright light you will see sanding lines
from the manufacturer’s finishing process that are circular in nature, like a spider web.
This is the scratch pattern. To resurface and reproduce this out-of-box finish, bowlers had one option.
Take the ball to a pro shop that is equipped with the right type of resurfacing equipment.
This equipment will do its work by rotating the ball as the abrasive is also rotating.
Another type of scratch pattern is produced by using a ball spinner. A ball spinner however
will not reproduce a factory-like-finish due to the fact that only the ball is turning.
The sanding abrasive is hand held and therefore somewhat stationary. Sanding the four sides
of a bowling ball; top (grip up), bottom (grip down) and the two sides (grip at 3:00 and 9:00)
will produce a waffle or crisscross scratch pattern.
Now a third option is available for resurfacing a bowling ball, the SMarT Ball Maintenance System
from Polish Your Ball Inc. As you sand with the SMarT Star, friction from the Star with a sanding pad will
cause the ball to rotate or spin while cradled in the rotating ball holder, duplicating the out-of-box finish.
By resurfacing you can recover lost ball reaction. You can adjust the surface and reaction to suit your
needs and style. The main thing here is you are in control of the finish. Think outside the box.
Don’t limit yourself and your equipment. Maximize the return on your investment.
See you at the lanes,