The best way of removing oil and bringing life back to those reactive balls.
Just about everybody who’s
ever owned a reactive resin ball remembers the great pocket opening reaction
they got when the ball was new. We also remember that as the ball was used the
reaction and effectiveness diminished. So, what happens to these $200 marvels to
make them act like just another $85 urethane ball.
First we need to look at the
features that make for the great reaction. #1 these balls are very porous. To
look at a shiny ball we wouldn’t think that it could be very porous but under
magnification we see that it is so. Because they are so porous they tend to soak
up oil like a sponge. In a recent article by Billy Hall in Bowling This Month
magazine he states that it takes 40 to 50 games to saturate the average resin
ball to the point that the heat generated by the friction between the ball and
the lane surface will cause the oil in the ball to wick to the surface. Instead
of the nice dry ball track on a nice dry backend which causes a sharp entry
angle we end up with an oily surfaced ball that doesn’t recover at the hook
point like it used to.
Reactive resin balls are so
named because they have an extra chemical in the cover stock that makes the ball
sticky and thus higher friction. The warmer the ball gets the stickier it gets.
A strange phenomenon occurs with these balls aside from the fact that they soak
up oil. They tend to glaze in the track area with normal use especially on
synthetic surfaces. The effect is that the track self seals not allowing the
resin to bleed to the surface thereby making the ball progressively less
Since it isn’t too
feasible for most of us to go out and buy a new reactor every 40 to 50 games
what can we do to maintain this terrific ball we already own?
The oil can be removed by
applying heat to the ball. If you’ve ever left your ball in a hot car you know
about the puddle of oil left in your bag. Caution must be exercised in removing
the oil as many balls have been destroyed by using too much heat for too long a
duration. Cracked cases and core separations are too common when using ovens and
microwaves. It is recommended that this task be done by a pro shop with the