It's an awful experience for any bowler. You reach into\ntheir bag, draw out your favorite ball, and see a crack running down the side\nof it. Now you have to use your backup - or worse, one of your partner's balls.\nThat's going to throw your game off for sure! A cracked ball will be imbalanced\nnot follow its path properly and can be completely unpredictable. Even a chip\ncan make your bowling ball harder to accurately throw, adding extra hook or\notherwise making it inaccurate. But can you fix that crack when you get home?\nThe answer is more complicated than you might think.\n\n\n\nWhy Do Bowling Balls Crack?\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\nBowling balls can crack for any number of reasons. The good\nnews is, you have control over most of them.\n\n\n\nThe most common reason bowling balls crack is the environment\nthey are in. Bowling balls are usually made of three distinct layers, and these\nlayers expand and contract at different rates because they are made of\ndifferent materials. Exposing a bowling ball to sudden, drastic changes in\nthings such as temperature or humidity can cause these layers to expand or\ncontract in great contrast with each other, which will cause the ball to crack.\n\n\n\nMishandling or poor storage of a bowling ball can lead to\ncracking too. Make sure you are careful with your balls, and, if drilling your\nown holes, that you do so properly. Make sure the holes are at least one inch\nfrom the pin, that you are not using dull bits or drilling too fast, and that\nyou bevel all of the holes.\n\n\n\nCan You Repair A Cracked Bowling Ball?\n\n\n\nThe short answer to this question is: maybe. Many factors\nplay into whether the bowling ball can be fixed or not, including the materials\nused to make it and the size of the crack. For instance, a small cosmetic chip,\nscrape, or crack can easily be repaired at home. Even a small crack surface\ncrack can be repaired in your garage with the proper equipment and materials.\n\n\n\nHowever, a bowling ball with a large or deep crack is probably better being replaced than trying to repair it. These kinds of cracks are less common, but still, do happen. When they do, it is likely that a home or garage repair will still leave it with imperfections and imbalances, rendering it a little better than it was with the crack in its side. Plus, repairing a large crack is likely to render a bowling ball illegal if you compete in a league.\n\n\n\nAdditionally, repairs should only be attempted on bowling\nballs made of resin or urethane. Plastic balls will not repair evenly and are\nalmost always better off being replaced rather than repaired.\n\n\n\nBefore attempting any repairs, it is best to find out if\nyour ball is still under warranty. Provided it is, the manufacturer will likely\neither replace or fix it for you at little to no cost. This is almost always\ngoing to be your best course of action if this option is available.\n\n\n\nRepairing Cosmetic Damage\n\n\n\nCosmetic damage might not be the end-all of your game, but it can still put a damper on your spirits. Everyone likes their bowling balls to be as pristine as they were the day they got them, especially if you are competing. Luckily, repairing cosmetic damage like small chips and scrapes is a pretty easy process.\n\n\n\n1.) Sanding\n\n\n\n In this step, you will sand the whole bowling ball to restore its even surface. During this process, make sure to keep the ball sprayed down with water. This will help to cut down on dust as well as make it easier for the sandpaper to stay even on the surface without jumping, skipping, or otherwise not making full contact with the surface of the ball. \n\n\n\n The sandpaper grit you choose will also have an effect on the ball's quality at the end of the repair. Lower grit sandpapers will provide more of a hook to the ball as it moves. Higher grit will allow for a snap or skip in the ball's movement. No matter what you decide on, however, it is best to cross-sand at a ninety-degree angle to the original sanding direction to allow for more consistent play after the initial sanding is complete.\n\n\n\n2.) Polishing\n\n\n\n This step\nis going to seem obvious to anyone who has sanded before, but it bears saying.\nAfter the sanding is finished, and you have cleaned up any excess dust, you\nwill want to apply a polish to the now-repaired ball. This will both restore\nthe finish on the outside, allowing for consistent play with no damage to the\nlane, and restore that shine that bowlers love to have on their balls. The\npolish can be applied either by hand or using a spinner. No matter what you\nchoose to use, however, make sure that the entire ball gets covered in polish\nor it will create an imbalance in the ball.\n\n\n\nRepairing Small Cracks\n\n\n\nSmall cracks can really throw a wrench into your game. It\nwill cause balls to roll poorly, inaccurately, or possibly not roll at all. For\nthese types of repairs, you will need some materials you might not have at your\nhome. A bowling ball repair kit can be purchased for relatively inexpensive,\nwhich will have most of the materials you will need to complete your repair.\n\n\n\n1.) Sealing\n\n\n\n Small cracks must be sealed before any other repairs can be done to the ball. Bowling ball repair kits will come with a (usually liquid) sealer and an accelerator that is formulated to match and allow the repair to complete and remain together. Mix the sealer and accelerator according to the directions, and apply it to the bowling ball.\n\n\n\n When\napplying the sealant mixture, make sure to completely fill the crack. In some\nkits, the accelerator will be applied as a spray after the sealant has been\nintroduced to the crack rather than mixed in. No matter what, make sure to\nfollow the directions featured with your kit of choice. Allow the sealant to\ndry completely before moving on to the next step.\n\n\n\n It is also important to note that woodworking or automotive resin sealer is formulated very differently from bowling ball sealer. Make sure that you are purchasing a sealer kit designed specifically with bowling in mind, rather than some kit that claims to be able to "do every job with ease."\n\n\n\n 2.) Sanding\n\n\n\n Like\nwith cosmetic damages, the next step in repairing a small crack on a bowling\nball is to sand the whole ball. Take great care to make sure you are still\ncareful around the repaired crack, as sealants from some manufacturers can take\nas long as three or more days to set fully depending on the environment they\nare in. Always check your kit's sealant instructions to verify your curing and\nsetting time.\n\n\n\n When sanding, make sure the ball stays wet. It is best to sand a repaired ball by hand, rather than with a belt sander or orbital sander. This will make it take more time, but you will also end up being happier with the results and you lower your risk of accidentally sanding through the sealant and reopening the crack.\n\n\n\n All of the same precautions and general guidelines as sanding cosmetic damage still apply when sanding a cracked ball. This includes choosing your appropriate grit sandpaper and making sure to cross-sand to achieve a consistent finish.\n\n\n\n3.) Polishing\n\n\n\n As\nwith repairing cosmetic damage, the final step in repairing your cracked\nbowling ball is polishing and finishing the ball appropriately. This can still\nbe done with either a spinner or by hand. Polishing a bowling ball is almost\nalways going to be the same process, but, as mentioned before, it is best to\ntake care around the area where the crack happened in order to avoid\naccidentally reopening it or damaging the sealant before it has the opportunity\nto fully cure.\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\nClosing Thoughts\n\n\n\nRepairing a bowling ball can be as simple as buffing out a\nscratch, but it can also become a complex or length battle depending on the\nsize of the crack and where it is located. Any crack that goes through your pin\nor into the track area is probably not worth trying to repair, as the repair is\nmore likely to fail in these areas and leave you with wasted time and a bowling\nball that is still unusable. \n\n\n\nBefore attempting repairs on a bowling ball, check and make sure it is not covered by manufacturers. Any attempt to repair the damage takes a chance on voiding the manufacturer's warranty. That means that if your repair fails and you are unable to fix your ball, then you are also stuck footing the bill for a new one!\n\n\n\nFinally, this is not a comprehensive guide to repairing a\nbowling ball. There are many manufacturers, specifications, and different\nmaterial requirements that may arise depending on your area, your bowling balls\nof choice, and even your weight preference. Especially when dealing with repair\nkits, always carefully read manufacturer instructions and follow them as\nclosely as possible. This will ensure the best possible repair for your ball,\nand keep you sending strikes down the lane!