Record Keeping & Making Old New Again
One thing I have noticed reading various publications and forums, when people or manufacturers
talk about resurfacing bowling balls, there is not much text devoted to how long one should sand with the
various abrasives or compounds. Each ball is different and there are too many variables for this to be an
exact science. Consistency is the key. Sand one side longer than the others and you could end up with an
inconsistent surface and reaction. For time keeping, a clock or egg timer works. I use a stop watch.
A little geeky, but it works for me.
Another forgotten area is record keeping. If you don’t keep track of how you finished a bowling ball;
what grits and brand of abrasives, how long each was used, what polish was applied, etc., if you like or
dislike the reaction, you won’t know how to repeat the finish or what to change.
In the development of the Ball Maintenance System, SMarT Sun and Polish Your Ball Inc.,
for the purpose of continuity, we used the same bowling ball for all photos and videos on our website.
This ball, a Hammer Razor Blade (particle ball, circa 2005), has been sanded and polished numerous times.
That is all this ball had been used for over the last two years, until now.
Encountering long and heavy oil in a Sunday afternoon Adult/Junior league with my son and with
all the open play before the league, the shot is usually… shot. Having trouble matching up, it was time to
practice what I preach. To the shop I went, armed with my SmarT Star and Abralon pads in grits
360 and 1000 and the Razor Blade.
Needing to restore surface texture and wet sanding all the way, I started with the 360 grit for
one minute per side. Then one and one half minutes per side with the 1000 grit.
The results; 269, 202 (operator error here) and 299. Yea, I’m human, pulled the last shot for a nine count.
The idea here is you can take old equipment, make it work again and save some money.
With record keeping, you can repeat the finish. Just refer to your notes when it comes time to refresh or resurface.
To see an example of PYB's Ball Maintenance Log <Click here
The TOC and ME
Living in Las Vegas, I had the opportunity to go out to Red Rock Bowling Center and watch
the pros. With 72 lanes, it’s one of the largest centers in Las Vegas. Red Rock reminds me of the
National Bowling Stadium in Reno. It was the perfect setting for the 2011 PBA Tournament of Champions.
With a $1,000,000 total purse, $250,000 for first place and almost 200 of the world’s best pros,
the TOC was living up to its name.
Having arrived at the bowling center, I was expecting to pay to get in the door. No problem.
Ten dollars seemed a reasonable guess to me. At the door I was met by a very gracious lady who
asked me the usual questions. Do I have credentials? No. Am I a PBA member? No. Am I over 60?
Not yet. Am I going to be there a half day or a whole day? Maybe 30 or 45 minutes was my response
to that question (I was there to hopefully make contact with representatives of Storm). What a shock
when she told me the price of admission: $20.00. For a half day pass. I’m glad I did not have the
wife and kids with me. Welcome to Wally World. There goes a“C” note. Like a lot of people these days,
at times it’s a struggle to make ends meet. Being frugal with finances is a must.
The bowling industry is taking a hit with lower participation in leagues. Just 30 years ago
there were over 9,000,000 certified bowlers. Today that number is down to just over 2,000,000.
Certified bowling center numbers have gone from a high of 11,000 to just 5,400 in 2010.
In this country bowling centers are closing at a rate of 200 a year. This is staggering. Each year
the numbers keep getting smaller.
I don’t know but it’s my opinion that maybe bowling missed the mark with this grandest
of all tournaments this year. It was the perfect time to promote bowling to a great number of
bowlers as well as recruiting new bowlers. Being held in Las Vegas, where plane loads of people
arrive 24/7, just think of the exposure. But for the price of admission.
As I left, I never made it inside, I felt like the guy that shows up at a $20.00 party with a
$10.00 ticket. Disappointed. All I could do was shake my head and think about the missed
opportunities to promote our sport. I’m sure I’m not the only person that said no thanks and
walked away. There was not a long line to get in. I was number one in a line of one.
Maybe it’s time for bowling to take a clue from grocery stores. Get the people in the door
with low prices in hopes of selling the larger package inside.
See you at the lanes,
Polish Your Ball Inc.
One Size Fits All
The statement “out-of-box-finish” reminds me of “one-size-fits-all.” If only this was the case.
With new ball purchases comes the excitement and visions of high scores and averages on the rise.
Sometimes these results are a reality, but sometimes not. If not, now what do we do? We can have the
ball plugged and try a different drilling (pin up to pin down for example).
Or we can try a different surface finish.
We’re in luck; it doesn’t take much change to a ball’s surface to have an effect on its reaction.
The ‘Ra’ and ‘Rs’ valves that measure surface variations may have readable numbers associated
with them but, without special equipment or eyes like Superman, you cannot see the texture that
produces these numbers. But really, do you and I need to know this information?
Recently I bought a ball with a pearl coverstock. I wanted the ball to read the mid-lane and
still have power on the backend, so I had it drilled with the pin under the ring finger. But it did not
fit as planned into my game. So I had it plugged and re-drilled with the pin over the ring finger.
Now the backend was killing me.
The ball had an OOB finish of 4000 Abralon and polish. One step at a time, so the first
thing I tried (we’re talking surface finish) was to remove the polish. I sanded the ball with 4000 Abralon
and the SMarT Star. Better but still not what I was looking for. So 2000 Abralon was next.
Too much mid-lane read was the result. Added some polish and Bingo! Notice here that I worked
backwards in the beginning till I got it close and then tweaked it with the polish. In this case
“one-size-fits-all” did not fit. Sometimes the OOB finish is not right the right finish.
I want to share with you a super story that came to us in a recent email:
“I just wanted to let you know how happy I have been with your products. I have used the Star to
sand/polish my own and league mates bowling balls. Just before league on Sunday I resurfaced and
polished my old, second-hand Hammer and bowled my first 300 game with it! It could not have been
done without your sanding/polishing systems. Thanks a lot, I have spread the word. Best of wishes,
Antti-Matti, Finland.” 12/15/2010
Congratulations to Antti-Matti.
Using the SMarT Sun and Sanding / Polishing Compounds
How do you resurface a bowling ball using sanding and polishing compounds?
Resurfacing with these compounds might seem time consuming and a messy proposition.
Not with the SMarT Sun. The SMarT Sun makes sanding and polishing with a ball spinner and
your favorite sanding/polishing compounds faster and cleaner, uses less of your costly
compounds and yields more consistent results.
When doing a complete resurfacing of a bowling ball and finishing with sanding/polishing
compounds, you would want to start with an abrasive pad such as 240, 360 or 500 grit.
Sand 30 to 90 seconds per side, sanding four sides of the ball. Wet sanding is the preferred method.
A spray bottle works best for this. Apply two or three sprays of water directly to the abrasive pad,
not the ball. Reapply water as needed and always to the pad.
Having completed sanding and arriving at the desired underlying grit surface, clean the ball
with a ball cleaner and clean towel to remove the sanding residue. As with the abrasive pads, you
will again do four sides of the ball when using sanding/polishing compounds. Place a used abrasive
pad in the Sun for padding and slip on a terry cloth polishing bonnet. Apply the compound evenly
over the surface. Turn on your ball spinner and polish. 30 to 90 seconds should be sufficient.
The more gloss you desire, the more time you would spend polishing. After doing two sides of the ball,
remove the terry cloth bonnet, reverse it and reposition the bonnet over the Sun to have a fresh surface
and finish the last two sides.
If you have a high speed ball spinner and the polish wants to dry to fast as a result of friction,
spray a small amount of water directly to the terry cloth bonnet, not the ball. With the SMarT Sun,
a small amount of water is all that is necessary, reducing splatter and cleanup time.
The SMartT Sun is a multi-purpose tool, four tools in one. Using your ball spinner and
the SMart Sun, you can sand with Abralon and SiaAir abrasive pads, polish with a terry cloth bonnet
and finish with sanding/polishing compounds.
Plus it is a great tool for making fast surface adjustments at the lanes during practice.
USBC requires the whole surface of the ball to be sanded equally and the SMarT Sun makes this
a fast and easy job, giving you more time to fine tune your game.
See you at the lanes,