Making a Bowling Pin

This bowling trivia page outlines many of the basic steps that are involved in the manufacturing process of the typical modern day bowling pin. The basic wooden material building pieces, the lamination processes, the cutting, shaping, molding and finishing steps are all shown here in detail. Pins are made of Hard Rock Maple wood, Brunswick claims that they do not use wood that has been grown south of Indiana. This
is because of the winters, trees that are subjected to winter do not grow as fast as the trees that can grow all year long. The trees that have to shut down in the winter seem to be denser (it also takes twice as long to grow) and this makes the wood harder.
These two basic shapes of wood are the building blocks of the modern bowling pin. Using several of the larger pieces the center or core of the bowling pin is created. From the smaller piece and several laminations the bowling pin derives is girth, that unique hourglass bowling
pin shape
Here you see the larger piece of wood laying on it’s side laminated three layers thick. The formation of the pin’s core has begun and the process of thickening this basic product will continue until an entire pin can be cut from the formed wood.
The smaller pieces of wood stock are then laminated together to form a larger piece of stock that will then be milled to the correct thickness and the edges will be trimmed straight. This final piece will then be cut into four separate pieces that will be bonded to the pin core.
The previous piece of material is cut once length wise and once cross wise to form the four pieces that are shown here. These pieces will now be bonded to the core piece in two steps.
Here we see the two smaller pieces have been bonded to the side of the core piece. This is the beginning of the thickening process that will enable a bowling pin to be cut from the stock of laminated wood. The holes are for adjusting the weight of the pin.
The pin has now had all four of the body building pieces bonded to it. The wood now has enough material on it that the unique bowling pin shape can be cut from this piece of laminated stock.
The laminated piece of stock is then inserted into a lathe with a large blade in the shape of the bowling pin. The knife blade is pressed into the rotating piece of wood stock and the entire bowling pin is cut in one pass by the shaping knife blade.
The wooden pin blank is put into an injection molding machine that encases the wood with the plastic material. This material protects the wood of the pin and gives a surface for the manufacturers logos and decorations to be placed on.
Once the pin has been molded all of the flashing and injection points are removed from the pin. From here the pin will go into the finish preparation process where all surface irregularities and any left over flashing will be removed from the “almost” bowling pin.
Here we see the pin after it has been sanded. This process removes all of the surface imperfections. The process will also remove any of the remaining flashing from the molding process. From here this point the pin will be ready to receive all of the finishing touches.
The pin gets the wooden bottom cut off and the plastic bottom piece is bonded to the pin. Logo’s and decorations are added by the manufacturer and the glossy finish is added. The product is then inspected and finally packaged and shipped to distributors.