Find Out Why Bowling Balls Crack – Read This Now!

Why bowling balls crack frequently between the fingers. Often you hear people say, that their reasoning is because one thing or another happened. It is odd that the most common spot is between or around one of the finger holes. I wanted to you what I found out about why bowling balls crack.

Well, the most common theory is always, because bowling balls are weakened with two holes drilled close together like the fingers. That does make sense, but then why do others say that more bowling balls crack that have finger inserts in them? 

Could this be the culprit? When you have a ball drilled for finger inserts, the holes are drilled bigger to allow for the insert. This in turn places the holes closer together, and removes more structural strength from the ball.

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Why Bowling Balls Crack – Read This Post And Find Out!

I have heard that the drilling causes the ball to crack. Is seems they are trying to say is that when the ball is drilled in the shop, the holes get angled towards each other. This theory is because of the round nature of the ball.

When using a drill press and jig that a slight reverse angle of drilling is required. This keeps the finger holes from pointing in towards each other and reducing the strength of the ball by a wrong angle. Then, the holes will be closer together deep inside the ball, and a crack would develop down deep and work out.

Now to me, that theory sounds pretty darn reasonable, if in fact that is true. Then this goes hand in hand with inserts again, because once again the bigger hole would magnify the problem.

Why Bowling Balls Crack – Because The Finger Holes Are Angled Towards Each Other, Making The Bottom Too Weak

Why Bowling Balls Crack
Holes Angled Towards Each Other

Combine a bigger size hole along with an angle of drilling, putting the bottom of the holes even closer together.

I do remember some finger holes that were drilled to close together and didn’t have inserts that did crack between the fingers.

It was very obvious and you could see they were too close together within 1/8″ and are normally no closer than 1/4″.

Bowling Balls Crack Because of Quick Curing of the Core

Bowling balls are comprised of several different layers nowadays. A cover stock which is the outermost covering, a composite material inner core, and a block weight. 

The block weight in the center helps compensate for the drilling of the holes in the ball, and controls the hook of the ball. Because of the different materials used, the curing process is different for each material.

In order to compensate for this, the inner parts or core and block are allowed to cure before the cover stock is applied. In the process today, heat is used to speed up the process and is one possible cause of bowling balls crack. Why?

It is believed by some that because the core has not cured completely. It continues to cure and shrink, and  eventually separates and results in a cracking of the cover stock, or bowling ball cracking.

And I have actually witnessed a brand new ball thrown 2 games on the alley right beside me, and the bowling ball crack appeared the whole way around the ball. Now that would tend to lean toward the core situation, don’t you think?

Why Bowling Balls Crack? Too Much Heat!

A time honored method from years past was to put the bowling ball into the stove oven and heat the ball to remove oil. This had to be a controlled situation, because at temperatures above 150º f  the ball will start to melt.

What is melting is the plasticizers that the ball is constructed from. Removing a small amount of plasticizer would likely not hurt, and in fact brings fresh plasticizer up. But, any amount of time say longer than 20 mins above 150º would do more damage than good.

It is also possible for bowling balls to crack from extreme temperatures. A hot water bath is the safest way to deep clean the ball to remove oil.

Here Is Chris Barnes Giving His Quick Temperature Change Reason – So, what about the balls just sitting in a warm house and cracking?

Why Bowling Balls Crack – They Are Continually Curing!

I believe Curing is the reason based upon the composition of the balls. The core is softer than the cover. The cover is more brittle, so after time any ball might just crack. They shrink at different rates. 

If you leave a new ball sit unused for any period of time, it may crack from the curing effect. This tends to make sense. If you used the ball and hit pins, you are actually relieving some of the internal stress buildup.

That’s what I think. I have also heard stories of balls sitting in the pro shop on the shelf never even drilled, cracking! No structural or temperature change there!

Whatever the reason, I sure hope they get it figured out. Because today’s bowling balls cost from $100 to $300 and are not what you would consider cheap. And with the newer cover stocks the durability has also come into question.

These balls are losing their hooking ability after fewer and fewer games, but that is another discussion for another time. And, they make money selling us new balls!

If you like what you read, or have any questions, please leave a comment below. If you have had a cracked ball experience, please share it in the comments below.

Thank You, and please stop back!


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6 thoughts on “Find Out Why Bowling Balls Crack – Read This Now!”

  1. It’s good to learn that bowling balls should have finger holes that aren’t drilled too close together. My brother is wanting to get into bowling and he was wondering what he should consider when choosing a balling ball. I’ll be sure to tell him that he should look for a ball that doesn’t have finger holes that are too close together.

    • HI David,
      The article is intended for a ball you have drilled for yourself. If he is getting his first ball, he should talk to the people in the bowling center pro shop to get the ball properly fitted. He can mention he would like to keep a wider bridge between the fingers to help keep the ball from cracking between the fingers.
      However, it is becoming more and more common to have balls crack all the way around just sitting around. It is a theory that the outer shell is curing at a different rate than the core. This eventually causes balls to crack. It seems that if the ball is kept in use, it helps to avoid this from happening.

    • Hi AnnA,
      Thanks for taking the time to comment and ask such a good question. You don’t have any control over how your ball is drilled, unless you specifically tell the driller to be careful not to get them to close or angle the holes towards each other, but he should already know this.I can tell you a few pointers to protect your ball from cracking. First of all,keep you ball in a controlled environment and avoid drastic changes in temperature.Sometimes high temperatures can cause a ball to crack, such as leaving a ball in the car trunk in the heat of summer.However, some balls have been reported to crack while sitting in a controlled environment without any drastic heat change.So sometimes they crack all by themselves, and their is nothing that anyone has done to cause it.then, I believe it falls back on to the manufacturing process.Thank you for asking such a good question, and I hope you continue to visit my website.

  2. This is a very informational website! It really drew me in. Your layout, content, and framework is all very well made. You are on a very good track and your website is coming along very well. I enjoyed your content a lot and I’m looking forward to reading more articles in the future. Thank you and keep up the great work!

    • Hi Hagop,
      Thanks for taking the time to leave a reply. I am glad you like the content, as bowling is my passion. I hope to get a few more visuals and links to make things more enjoyable for the readers time spent here.I have learned a lot over the years, and hope to inspire younger players to try different things to improve their games. Please stop back soon as I have some great ideas that should make for interesting and informative reading.Thanks again,


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