The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Sports

September 6, 2008

Baking ball removes excess oil

I really thought Steve Wiles was pulling my leg last week when he told me about “baking” his bowling ball to get the oil out of it.

Steve also said he sometimes stuck the ball in the dishwasher to get the same result.

I could almost picture Jean, Steve’s better half, cringing as Steve shoved the ball into the oven. I envisioned oil dripping onto the bottom of the oven, creating quite a mess.

On the chance that Steve was being truthful, I got on the bowl.com Web site and discovered that you can, indeed, bake a bowling ball, providing the ball is a reactive resin one.

According to the website provided by the United States Bowling Congress, one of the problems with reactive balls is the characteristic of the shell soaking up so much oil and dirt that the reactive characteristics seem to fade away.

Because reactives soak up so much oil, there comes a time where even surface cleaning and even sanding doesn’t affect the ball. The oil has soaked into the shell so deeply that none of the traditional cleaning methods have any effect.

Some experts believe that baking may actually prolong the life of the ball. Baking involves placing the ball in an aluminum pie plate in an oven on low heat (200 degrees) and wiping the oil off the ball as it oozes to the surface. This procedure can be time consuming depending on the amount of oil in the ball. Experts recommend having plenty of clean towels and rubbing alcohol handy.

After a minute, check the ball to see if it has a shiny or wet look. If it does, the oil is starting to bleed. Working quickly, remove the ball from the oven and wipe the surface with the alcohol. Repeat until the ball no longer bleeds oil.

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