To resurface a bowling ball, you’ll need sanding discs, water, polisher, and polishing pads. You’ll use the pad in the palm of your hand to remove surface where needed. Red Label Abrasives sells theabrasive discs needed to resurface bowling balls.
How well your bowling ball performs depends a lot on its condition. When you roll it along the lane, its microscopic pores create friction that improves its hook potential. Over time, these pores accumulate dirt and oil, impacting a bowling ball’s performance and turning it into what’s known as a ‘dead ball.’
Resurfacing helps remove this buildup from the pores and restore the sharp edges that generate friction. Your bowling ball will grip the lane more firmly, have a better hook potential, and move down the lane faster than before. In this guide, the abrasive experts at Red Label Abrasives outline the steps for resurfacing your bowling ball and bringing it back to life!
When Should You Resurface a Bowling Ball?
As a general rule, you should resurface your bowling ball every 60 games. When it has been sanded so frequently that you can’t see the logo any more, it’s time to buy another ball.
Resurfacing a Bowling Ball – What You’ll Need
Many sports shops that sell bowling balls will also resurface them for you, but you can also manually resurface them at home if you have the necessary tools and materials.
You will need the following:
Bowling Ball Spinner:You can buy a bowling ball spinner to ensure a uniform sanding job, but if your local sports stores don’t carry them, you can order one online or evenmake one yourself.
Abrasive:At Red Label Abrasives, we sellAbrasilk hook and loop sanding discs that do an excellent job on bowling balls. The bonded aluminum oxide abrasives have a patented foam backing that reduces the risk of pressure marks, creating a uniform finish. You may need different levels of grit, so our packs contain one each of the following: 500, 800, 1000, 2000, 3000, 4000, 5000 grit discs.
Water:You’ll need a bowl of water for rinsing your sanding discs. The sanding process generates a lot of dust, so you’ll want to wash it off of the discs to facilitate a uniform finish. Water also keeps your ball cool when friction from the sanding process generates heat.
Pads, Polishers, and Cleaners:If you intend to apply a polish or compound after resurfacing the ball, stock up on polishing pads or towels. Be sure to use a different one for each product you apply to the bowl.
Once you’ve assembled all of the materials listed in the previous section, you’re ready to make your bowling ball as good as new!
During this step, you decide what you want to achieve by resurfacing the ball. Your choices will determine both the sanding technique and the grit you use.
Lower grits will leave your ball with more surface, helping it roll better on heavily oiled lanes. If you combine a lot of ball speed with a lower number of revolutions, you’ll see best results.
Higher grits remove more surface, which may be an advantage if you want more control, as the ball’s hook phase will be longer when you play.
Position the bowling ball on the spinner with the finger holes at the top. This is the starting point. When you finish sanding this exposed surface, you’ll rotate the ball 180 degrees and sand the bottom. Then you’ll rotate the ball 90 degrees to access the sides.
Spritz the ball with water to minimize dust spread and reduce heat from the friction between the sanding pad and spinning ball. Soak the pads you intend to use in a bowl of water. While they’re getting wet, set the spinner at the lowest speed setting- going too high can increase the risk of making a mistake.
Start sanding your bowling ball. After spraying it with water, cup the lowest-grit abrasive pad in your palm- using your fingers may result in serious injury if one gets stuck in a ball hole during movement- and run the pad over the ball in a back and forth motion at least five times. Then turn the spinner off, reposition the ball with the finger holes at the bottom, and repeat. Keep repositioning and sanding until you get the entire surface.
Once you’re finished, pick up the abrasive pad with the next grit level (e.g. 800 if you started off with 500), wet it, and repeat the above steps.
Tip:As a general rule, you’ll want to apply more pressure for a shorter period of time if you’re using lower-grit abrasives to do something like even out deep grooves. If you’re using higher-grit pads to carry a final smoothing and polishing, apply less pressure for longer periods.
After you’ve finished sanding the ball, wet it down to clear away any dust and wipe it clean. If you want, you can then apply a compound that gives the ball full contact with the lane during play. Set the spinner speed to high and use a cloth to evenly apply the compound as you rotate the ball in the same manner you used while sanding.
Once done, use a new cloth to apply a polishing agent that gives the ball a tacky finish and a sharp reaction on the backend. Put the spinner on its highest setting and spread the polish throughout the ball surface until it shines.
Take the ball off the spinner, spray some cleaner on it, and wipe it down with a fresh cloth. Remember to clean the finger holes as well. Now you’re ready for a new game!
Tip: Keep some pads in your sports bag to resurface your bowling ball at the lane as needed
Get Ready to Play Your Best Game Ever!
Surface condition plays a key role in ball reaction. With the wide range of lane conditions out there (oily vs. dry) and increased rate of transition, properly managing that surface is key to your success. By resurfacing your bowling ball when necessary, you’ll enjoy your best performance on the bowling lane every time.
David Kranker is a writer and creative maker who has been covering the abrasive and knife-making industries on the Red Label Abrasives Blog since 2020. David spends his time continually researching sanding and bladesmithing to provide readers with the latest and greatest information. In his free time, David utilizes abrasives for many different home and auto projects at his home in Delton, MI.