Friday, November 2, 2007

Ball Cleaning

Today's reactive and particle high-performance bowling balls have some unique characteristics that allow them to provide maximum performance. The most significant difference in today's coverstock technologies versus conventional urethane and polyester coverstocks is the ability to absorb lane oil into the pores of the ball. This phenomenon helps to keep a dry ball surface in contact with the lane for more friction creating added hook. Over a period of time, the bowling ball's performance will slowly deteriorate due to oil absorption and dirt build up on the ball's surface. As a result, we recommend the use of a dry towel to wipe oil and dirt off the ball during competition. This will maximize performance by keeping the pores from being blocked by dirt and limit the amount of oil that can be absorbed into the coverstock. In addition, it is highly recommend that a bowling ball cleaner be used immediately after competition to further clean the ball's coverstock. We recommend the use of Pro Grip Degree Dull for dull balls and Pro Grip Degree Shine for polished balls. These products are specially designed for use on the Columbia 300 line of reactive and particle bowling balls and will create a tacky feel for added friction.
Surface Roughness:
The ball surface roughness has a large influence in where on the lane your ball will hook and how sharply it will hook. A ball with a sanded surface will act like treads on a tire. The sanding grooves allow a place for oil to go into so that the sharp peaks can go through the oil and create some friction with the lane below to start hooking in the oil. After many games of bowling, the sharp sanded edges will wear and become rounded, which will reduce the friction in the oil and reduce the hook. Therefore, periodic sanding is required to maintain maximum hook in oil. Depending on the amount of oil on the lanes, the time between sanding may vary. It is recommended that the ball be sanded every 30-50 games. All Columbia 300 factory-dull bowling balls are finished with 600-grit sandpaper with this information printed on the new ball box for reference. However, please keep in mind that the surface can be adjusted with different grit sandpaper to alter the ball motion on the lane. Sanding with 320 or 400-grit will create a rougher surface for sooner hook in the oil. Too much friction between the ball and lane may cause the ball to react too early causing a significant loss in backend reaction. Sanding with 1200-grit will create a very smooth surface for more length down the lane with an arcing break point. It is extremely important to use a ball spinner to sand the ball's surface in order to achieve a uniform finish. However, small changes in surface finish may be achieved by altering the surface by hand with a Scotch-Brite pad. Note that this cannot be done during bowling as per the ABC/WIBC rules.
After about 60-80 games of bowling, the track of the balls will become scratched and will require resurfacing. The resurfacing process should only be done with the use of a ball spinner in order to achieve a uniform surface. This requires that the ball be sanded with 220 or 320 grit sandpaper to remove the deep scratches followed by the use of 400 and 600 grit sandpaper to return the ball to factory dull finish. Resurfacing is the same for a factory-polished ball. Except after sanding the ball, it needs to be polished. Start with a rubbing compound such as TRACK MAGIC CLEAN 'N SHEEN and then finish with DEGREE BALL POLISH. Again, refer to the box for the initial factory finish. Some balls are left with the compound finish and others have the DEGREE BALL POLISH 2000 for the final finish. Polish creates more skid in oil and more snap on dry backend. Compound leaves a little more texture on the surface for more hook in oil and more arc at the break point. Over time, the polish will wear off the surface of the ball and will need to be replaced every 20-30 games bowled. Again, this should be done with the aid of a ball spinner.
TEC & TEC2 covertocks:
To polish a Columbia ball with a TEC or TEC2 shell we recommend TEC SHINE BALL POLISH. These coverstocks have particles added into the reactive shell material to naturally create a textured surface and are difficult to polish with regular ball polishes. When sanding these particle bowling balls, there is no need to worry as the coverstock sands easily and the particles are evenly distributed throughout the entire shell thickness.
Why to Clean Reactive Resin/Particle bowling balls
Oil and Dirt gets absorbed and trapped in parts of the resin causing poor ball performance and a lack of hook. Power House Energizer Cleaner was developed by Ebonite to deal directly with bowling lane conditioners that attach to your ball when bowling. Ebonite’s Power House Energizer Cleaner breaks down the oil allowing a towel to wipe it away. Other cleaners only get the dirt, leaving the oil, which attracts dirt. Performing this process on a ball spinner allows for pressure and friction from your hand to produce heat. Heat opens up the pores on a ball for faster, more effective cleaning as well as reactivating the Reactive Resin at surface level for peak ball performance.
How to Easily Refresh Reactive Resin/Particle Bowling Balls
1. Clean entire ball on a ball spinner with Ebonite's Power House Energizer Cleaner.
2. Place the ball on the spinner with the grip facing the side and the fingers above the thumb. This places the bow tie
of the track flare at the top of the ball.
3. Polish the top half of ball with Ebonite's Power House Factory Finish Polish applied with a cloth rag.
4. Flip ball 180* and repeat step number 3.
5. With Ebonite's Power House Sand Blaster, repeat steps 3 & 4.
6. Clean entire ball with Ebonite's Power House Energizer Cleaner to clean away dust residue.
7. Ball is now ready for the final texture to be applied. For out of the box, use Power House Matte Finish.
Do not put the ball in an oven! The problem with ovens is that they heat the entire ball, inside and outside. When balls get hot they swell and in this case the inside core heats up and swells too. When the ball cools, the outside shell cools before the inside core does, and the shell cracks as a result.
Why is it important to clean my ball?
High performance balls, namely reactive resin and particle resin balls, absorb oil. This ability to displace oil is an integral part of the ball's hook potential. Lane oil also contains dust and dirt. This oil-soaked dirt clogs the pores on the ball's surface and impairs the ball's ability to absorb oil effectively.
How often should I clean my ball?
We recommend wiping your ball in between shots with a towel. The Powerhouse Oil-Free towel is a micro-fiber towel with maximum surface area contact and capillary action to draw away oil from the ball's surface and feed it into reservoirs within the towel's fibers. Cleaning your ball at the end of each league session with a strong degreasing solution will reduce the amount of oil that is absorbed into the ball, increasing its reactive life.
My friends tell me to use alcohol or windex to clean my ball. Is this effective?
Alcohol and windex do not penetrate oil and dirt effectively. They tend to lay on top of oil and dirt and, when wiped with a towel, smear along the ball's surface leaving behind residue that is absorbed into the surface pores.
What about acetone, denatured alcohol, lacquer thinner, etc?
Acetone and denatured alcohol are strong solvents. Prolonged contact with the ball's surface can weaken the structure of the coverstock, affecting long term durability. There are also health and flammability issues associated with acetone and denatured alcohol. Petroleum based cleaners, such as lacquer and paint thinners and mineral spirits, have limited solubility attributes. They are not extremely aggressive in breaking down lane oil.
Why are Ebonite's products effective?
Powerhouse Energizer Cleaner was developed expressly for Ebonite. The citrus-based cleaner is organic, making it easy to solubilize lane oil, rubber, dirt, and debris. It also has charged inorganic cleaning agents designed to dig deep under oil and dirt in the pores and agitate them loose, enabling the dirt and oil to be pushed to the surface where they can be removed with a towel. The Powerhouse Scrubs are pre-moistened with the Energizer Cleaner to provide a scrubbing towellette and cleaner all in one package. All Ebonite's cleaners and Oil-Free Towel are legal for use during ABC/WIBC competition, when it matters most.
Should I use cleaners that apply a tacky feeling to the ball's surface?
Cleaners that apply a tacky surface to the ball are a short-lived fix. They do not restore the ball's original surface. The tackiness comes from a deposit of ingredients designed to dry on top of the ball's surface with a sticky feel. Anything that coats the ball's surface will wear off quickly. It also will clog the pores over time, reducing the oil absorption capabilities of the ball.
My ball seems to have lost the amount of hook that it had when it was new.
There are three things that can cause loss of hook: 1) Accumulation of oil and dirt on the ball's surface, 2) Over-absorption of lane oil, and 3) surface texture change. Number one can be remedied by adhering to a surface-cleaning regimen. Number two can be delayed significantly by wiping your ball periodically while you bowl. You can reduce the amount of lane oil that is absorbed, extending the lifetime of your ball. While cleaning is very important, refreshing the ball's surface texture will also keep it acting "like new". Using Powerhouse Factory Finish Polish to reshine that polished surface will enable the ball to retain energy consistently. Or re-sanding the surface to its original grit will keep the traction at a premium. Whenever a worn out ball track appears, it is advisable to have the ball resurfaced to remove the excess scratches.
You mentioned resurfacing. What is involved in getting the ball resurfaced? Can I do it myself?
All pro shops will be equipped to resurface your ball. Unless you have a home spinner, we would recommend using the pro shop. Keeping the ball in round when resurfacing will ensure a consistent reaction. We recommend using a final sanding grit of 800 before applying Factory Finish Polish to smooth out some of the sanding lines. If your new ball came factory sanded, sand with the appropriate grit after Factory Finish Polish.
Does a particle ball soak more oil than a reactive ball?
Yes. Particle balls are reactive resin balls with microscopic particles suspended throughout. The particles are hollow in structure. This will create more oil displacing cavities than in reactive balls. You must pay even more attention to cleaning particle balls as you do with reactive balls.
What is the difference between particles?
There are 2 main beaded particles being used: ceramic and silica (glass). Ceramic particles have the highest hardness value and are more difficult to resurface and polish. Silica particles are easier to work with. The Ebonite particle coverstocks use silica particles and are the most versatile with regards to surface changes. Powerhouse Particle Polish can be used to provide the quickest, most effective polish on ALL particle balls, regardless of particle composition.
Will my particle ball have a shorter life?
Because of the particles, you will have to refresh the ball's surface more frequently. Through contact with the lane surface, the particles will fracture and be imbedded into the ball's surface, causing more lane contact with the particles. This will lead to an earlier breakpoint and a loss of backend reaction. Not being able to remove the particle fragments is the culprit for loss of ball reaction. Powerhouse Particle Polish has micro-fine cutting agents suspended within the polish that are designed to "scrub" those particle fragments out of the ball's surface, exposing the reactive resin surface to the lane. This will bring back the original hook characteristics. With excessive ball track wear, have your ball resurfaced.
Does Ebonite make any polishes that will restore the original grit to the ball?
Yes. The Powerhouse Matte Finish will replicate the surface texture of the 15 micron and 1200-grit sanded coverstocks. This can be done by hand as well as with a ball spinner. You may also use a gray Scotch BriteTM pad, using medium pressure to scuff the ball. Do the polishing or scuffing in a circular motion to produce a random pattern. For more traction, the Powerhouse Sandblaster Polish will produce a 400-500 grit surface on the ball, great if you are bowling on a very heavily oiled lane condition or happen to throw the ball with above average speed. The Sandblaster Polish also can be applied by hand as well as by ball spinner. For the balls that come factory sanded with 800-grit, we suggest using a burgundy Scotch BriteTM pad and using medium pressure to emulate the factory texture. The Scotch BriteTM pads provide a more even sanding texture and will last longer than traditional sandpaper.

MoRich Product Cleaning/Resurfacing (Updated March 3rd)
First and foremost, we at MoRich strongly believe that preventative maintenance is the key to a cover's longevity. Our recommendation is to clean your bowling equipment after every use (practice, league, or tournament session) with a quality ABC/WIBC approved cleaner. Some of the cleaners that we have used and had good success with are Track Inc's "Track Magic" line, Neo Tac products, and Ultimate Bowling products.
While we only suggested a few, please note that there are many, many cleaners on the market. If you choose to use another type of cleaner, we strongly recommend talking to your pro Shop operator and/or contacting the product's company. No matter which cleaner you choose to use, we urge you to follow the directions that come with the product. These companies specialize in cleaning products and have done extensive research in bringing their products to the marketplace.
We have received many inquires regarding the use of commercial cleaners such as 409, Simple-Green, and Windex, to list just a few, in cleaning our equipment. Though these products are specially formulated for removing grease and oil components from surfaces, we DO NOT recommend them as a cleaning product for our equipment. Our recommendation still stands with using only ABC/WIBC approved cleaning products. Please keep in mind that these manufacturers work with lane oil producers in determining how to formulate a good cleaning product. The commercial non-bowling related products are not targeted for lane oil removal.
The ONE cleaning method that we strongly oppose is "baking" (or using heat of any kind) a ball. Most of the methods that use "heat" as a cleaning method suggest that this is a way to "revive" the ball after it has lost an obvious amount of hook. For reviving a ball, we recommend checking into Ebonite's "Hook Again" system. While we at MoRich have not done much testing with it, we have heard many good things about it. Again, check with your Pro Shop operator or the company itself.
All MoRich equipment cover stocks can be easily altered to help you gain a competitive edge in matching the coverstock with an oil condition and/or pattern. Please keep in mind that your game, your style, and your specific drilling will also play a major role in how a particular ball will react.
As an example of ball comparisons, the Labyrinth was introduced in August 2000. At the time it was considered a very aggressive particle ball. Since then there has been many advancements made in particle covers and the Labyrinth would now be considered a mild to medium (at best) particle ball. To give you an example, our Colossus Supreme has about 4-5 times as much particle as the Labyrinth.
With that being said, it is very easy (sometimes very easy, depending on the cover material, i.e.: Reactive Resin, Mild Particle, etc.) to change the surface from dull to shiny, especially if you use a quality polish and a ball spinner (hand applications may require a bit more effort). We would also like to remind you that changing (altering) the surface of a ball during sanctioned league or tournament competition is prohibited by ABC WIBC, and YABA rules. You may alter the entire surface during practice, but once competition begins, you cannot.
We strongly recommend making small changes to the cover's surface, a little at a time. The core and cover (on all our products) are very well matched up to provide optimum performance and small changes can yield vast differences in reaction.
The total overall hook of any MoRich ball can be easily changed by altering the surface texture. To achieve the maximum overall hook, dull the surface with a burgundy scuff pad or 400-600 grit sandpaper. Smoothing the surface with a grey scuff pad or 800-1500 grit sandpaper will increase length (delay hook) while smoothing out the overall motion. Applying compound or polish will reduce the surface friction causing the ball to gain even more length, while retaining energy longer, and helping to produce a stronger backend reaction (providing there is enough friction on the backend to release this energy).
Surface Texture Adjustment Table

Wet sanded with 320 or 400 grit paper.


Scuffed with a good burgundy pad

Matte finish.

Scuffed with a grey pad.

Fine finish.

Wet sanded with 1500 grit paper.

Polished with compound.

Polished with ball polish.

Polished with ball polish containing a slip agent.


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