Can You Use Sandpaper on a Bowling Ball?

can you use sandpaper on a bowling ball

You can use sandpaper on your bowling ball to alter its surface so it’s more responsive on the lane. Though Abralon pads and sanding discs are more widely used these days, it’s still completely fine to use wet or dry sandpaper.

There aren’t any huge differences between using sandpaper or products like Abralon pads on your bowling ball. The main advantage of the latter is that they come in a variety of grits, giving you more control over how you sand your bowling ball.

In this article, we’re going to run through the reasons you should sand your bowling ball and explore the different ways of doing so.

Should I Sand My Bowling Ball?

A brand new bowling ball will come with the coverstock produced by its manufacturer, so if you want to ensure your ball suits your playing style, you should consider sanding it. A sanded ball will generally hook earlier in the lane, while a more polished one will hook further down.

Bowling balls will also absorb oil from lanes when they are used, which can affect the amount of control you might have with it. Sanding your bowling ball helps to resurface your ball and maximise its performance.

A bowling ball is covered in microscopic pores, which grab onto the lane and allow for hooking and more control. If left unattended, oil and dirt will soon clog these pores, meaning it won’t react as well.

Sanding your ball will clear and reinvigorate these pores, keeping it in great condition. This can extend the life of your bowling ball too, which will be music to the ears of those who have found the perfect ball for them and want to maintain it for as long as possible.

How Do You Dull/Sand a Bowling Ball?

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There are a few different ways you can dull a bowling ball, each with varying price points and results. They are:

  • Taking the ball to a shop to be professionally dulled with a ball spinner.
  • Using sanding agents like sandpaper to do it yourself at home.
  • Using a spinner at home.

If you plan on dulling your bowling ball at home, make sure you’ve got everything prepared beforehand. Here’s a list of everything you’ll need:

  • Sanding agent e.g. sandpaper.
  • Bowl of water.
  • Spray bottle of water.
  • Towels/cloths.
  • Polish (optional).

To dull the ball, first place it on a ball cup or a cloth laid on a flat surface. Then, with your sanding agent, begin sanding the ball in a circular motion, ensuring that you’re giving it an even spread all over.

Every so often, dip your sanding agent in the bowl of water to keep it clean. It also helps to spray the ball with water intermittently, as this can lower the heat caused from the friction and clean away some of the dust created.

Once you’re done, give your bowling ball a good wipe down with a clean towel or cloth to remove any excess dust. You can also use some sort of cleaning agent and polish here as well.

Dulling your bowling ball at home is more cost effective, as you’ll only need to pay for the sanding agent, and polish if you’re using it. Taking your ball to a shop will, naturally, be more expensive but is a lot less time-consuming, and will produce the best results.

How Do Polish a Bowling Ball?

First, make sure your ball is completely clean before you polish it. Apply the polish to both sides of the ball and then rub it in using your fingers, in a circular motion. Once it’s absorbed, use a microfiber towel to make sure the polish is fully absorbed.

To make the most of your polished bowling ball, wipe it down with a cloth after every throw, and give it a proper clean after each game. Note that a polished ball my perform differently to a stock or sanded bowling ball, and it’s performance is generally not as predictable on the lane. 

We recommend using a bowling ball resurfacing kit like this one. It comes with a total of 7 abralon pads with multiple different grits to give you the perfect sand and polish.

How Many Times Can You Sand a Bowling Ball?

There’s no definitive number for how many times you should sand your bowling ball, but there’s a general consensus that once the manufacturer’s logo has worn off, you should stop sanding and get a new ball.

If you’re bowling professionally, there are actually strict rules for the size of your bowling ball. Its circumference can be no more than 27.002 inches and no less than 26.704 inches. The more you sand a ball, the more you take off of its surface area, technically making it smaller. However, it’s going to take quite a few sandings to get it below the required circumference. 

In terms of how often you should sand your bowling ball, opinions vary, though it’s a good idea to dull your ball every 60 games or so with it. Some think you can go longer than this between sandings, but once you notice your ball is not as responsive, you should sand it.

Final Thoughts

Sanding your bowling ball is one of the best ways to maximize its performance and extend its usage, and sandpaper is a popular option to do this with. Dulling your ball will allow it to hook more and give you more control over it on the lane.

You can take your ball to a professional to have it sanded and dulled, though it’s a pretty simple process to do at home as well. As long as you sand its surface evenly and keep it clean, you’re on the right track.

Sanding your bowling ball with sandpaper won’t extend its life indefinitely, so pay attention to how it looks and performs. Once the manufacturer’s logo has been fully sanded away, it’s probably time for a new ball.

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