Thursday, January 17, 2008

Getting Oil Out of a Bowling Ball

One of the easiest ways to get oil out is to not let lane conditioner (oil) get in. I'm a big fan of wiping the ball off before every shot. Microfiber towels help remove oil from the surface actively as you bowl. By keeping the surface clean, you don't get oil, all ready on the ball from the last shot, effecting ball reaction.

My store has halogen spot lights focused on the main counter and I noticed the sweating, years ago, in an oil soaked ball sitting on that counter.

The Ebonite company doesn't sanction any heating of the covers of their bowling balls (as in sun, oven, halogen spotlights, etc.) as a solution to oil absorption and reaction loss. But during a Visit a few National Tournaments ago to Las Vegas, bowling balls in the trunk of a rental car swaddled in Buff-a-Bags did have a tendancey to sweat oil in the 110 degree plus midday sun. But if you live in Vegas/Phoenix/the Dessert you all ready knew this. But Ebonite does have a system (called Hook Again) using dry chemicals to draw oil and unfortunately some of the plasticizers out of a bowling ball.

If you remove lane conditioner actively (while you bowl) and immediately after you complete your games, it has less time to soak in.

Warming the surface has some merit. Brunswick's research shows that a controlled system to sweat balls of oil has resulted in some benefits. But the other major companies (Storm/Roto Grip, Ebonite/Hammer/Columbia/Track), would point out that warming a ball to quickly creates problems (warm coverstock/surface and cool core occasionally split apart) , the least of which is a voided warrentee. Oil comes out but so does some of the chemical structure of the cover (plasticizers), causing (they feel) brittleness and loss of structural integrity.

Plain rubbing alcohol (70 to 90 percent, high percentages are not any more effective, but can be diluted with water) will help clean the ball (it's what we use by the gallon in the store, and I suspect it's an ingredient in several ball cleaning products). Anything added (fragrance, color) will leave a residue, which can lead to other problems. So, not any alcohol based solvent cleaner will do. The company manufactured cleaners and cleaner/polishes would always be the first choice in maintaining the surface of your favorite bowling balls. Homegrown shortcuts, family recipes and household miracle cleaners have been tried by many, but I've not heard of anything that is significantly better.

Controlling the heat source is the key to addressing the oil in the ball problem. Ebonite will tell you, hot tap water (usually 120 degrees or so, hotter is not better) will warm the surface and float the oil off the ball. You must soak the ball (submerge it in a bucket or container) for half an hour. Still oily, they suggest do it again. Dealing with slimy grips and soggy tape is a downside. Let the ball COMPLETELY dry, don't hurry the drying process, or rush to use the ball.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Which Ball is Better?

A ball must suit your game, allowing you to match up to the lane condition. If you don't average 170 or better (having some of the consistency and skill to deliver the hook potential of a performance or high performance ball) and need some of what follows, you may be looking for a MAGIC ball quick fix. Think about practice on a challenging lane condition like PBA Experience or Sport Conditions, some coaching, or ask some questions on the Forum at, or ask questions of your International Bowling Pro Shops and Instructors Association Pro Shop Operator (because making you a better bowler benefits you BOTH).

A bowling ball is a tool. What other tools (balls)do you own? What do you need the ball to do? Will this be your only ball (don't buy it, high performance balls are too strong to work well on spares, typically)? Do you throw hard? slow? hook it? throw straighter? roll on oily lanes or drier?

If you are speed dominant, consider a stronger core that can be drilled to roll earlier with a surface that can be made rougher.

Slower speed will allow you to use a smoother surface, possibly shined.

A higher rev rate will cause a center heavy (low RG - Radius of Gyration) ball to be potentially very strong off the end of the oil, creating more of a flip path to the pins (and you better want flip).

A weaker rev rate will be benefited by the stronger dynamics of an asymmetrical core with a capable ball driller able to provide more help from the core.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Ball Weight and a Bad Back

Question: I am a 56 yr old, with a bad back. I have a 6 lb. ball, but it is too light. I have an 8 lb. ball, but it is too heavy. I would like to buy a 7 lb. ball, I tried the Internet, but have not been able to find one. Do you know where I could get one? Or do you know if a someone at a pro shop could add weight to the 6 lb. ball?

Answer: While many balls are not made in 7 pounds, often a ball box marked 6 pounds or a ball box marked 8 pounds contain balls that are less or more. The weight discrepancy may have you throwing a significantly lighter 6 and heavier than normal 8.

Is there a bowling store (ideally an IBPSIA Pro Shop) where you bowl? If yes, ask the attendant to weigh both balls to make sure splitting the difference is what you need.

Lighter weight more basic polyester balls, typically, are NOT cheaper on the web. Where will you get it drilled? And at what price? The charge to drill it will make a web ball more expensive than just buying one at a bowling store? Just because some stuff seems inexpensive, doesn't mean, it all is, BE CAREFUL.

A store is invested in you doing well. While the websites could care less if you ever even roll the ball. They sell price advantages.

Do the balls you have feel about the same in terms of fit? An ill fitting ball feels heavy and hard to control.

Please tell me you don't get balls drilled from Internet Websites. It would be like someone guessing your prescription for a pair of glasses, but never seeing you!!!

You may want to try to make the 8 easier to hold onto. A grip adjustment should allow the ball to swing easier with less effort. I don't know the specifics of your back injury so you should seek advice from someone that can see you bowl. I'd be glad to consult with them, if it would help.

Making the 6lber heavier: Adding usable weight isn't possible. Nothing heavy enough would be legal.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Ball Choices

Ball choices should be driven by need. Why do you buy a specific ball? What weight is it?
Where does the ball track (where are the oil lines after your first shot)? How long have
you been bowling? Own any other balls? Do they work better or worse? How often do you bowl?
Practice? What kind of grip do you have (finger tip or conventional)?

New bowler more basic ball. Hard thrower, a ball to bite and slow down more quickly. Slower
player, shiny, hard, late breaking high radius of gyration ball will benefit.

Bowling balls are tools. If you you buy one then try to figure out how to use it, you've
made an ill advised choice.

Some balls are simple and traditionally formulated. Some balls are more complicated than ever.
Getting as much information as possible before a ball is drilled is almost mandatory for ball

Not knowing what ball, kind of core, or style of player that you are, your driller is working
with very little information. Using any ball can better be addressed by an instructor observing
and suggesting adjustments. You may want to seek out a local instructor, or check at the local
bowling center or pro shop, can someone observe and assist you?

Depending on your skill level, your ball speed, rev rate, axis tilt and rotation, your experience
(average and strengths-better spare shooter or striker with a weak spare game?), comfort zone
on the lane, and expectations, would be helpful.

You may just need some simple instruction to help control or create some ball reaction.
Bowl Great in 2008.