Turning a Bowling Ball into a Ring

by Patrick Adair on October 31, 2019

I'm actually a very serious and very talented bowler and so it's kind of like a rite of passage among super good bowlers to make a ring out of your first bowling ball.


No, but for real I got a piece of a bowling ball sent to me from Carl Jacobson. With the other half of it, he makes really cool bowls. 


We made some rings out of bowling balls. It’s gonna be tricky to cut ring blanks out of. Also, I don't know how thick the red material goes before it switches to the core material. So what I did was take it over to my diamond saw and chop them into more pieces that I could use. That gives us a better idea of where we want to cut ring blanks out of. It'll be cool to see what it looks like to chop these fingers holes in half. The pearl essence you can see on the ball translates to make some crazy galaxy looking water.


After we got the whole thing sliced up, the pieces were a lot easier to work with at this point and I learned a lot of cool stuff along the way. I just kept cutting because I kept seeing a lot of cool interesting things about the bowling ball. There's a cool cross-section where the finger hole is with all the different materials. Also, there's this slab on the bottom. I did one small little slice and after that, it revealed the fluorescent and neon yellow little dot. It's like abstract art or something, so we've got a lot of great material to pick from. After that, I went ahead and cut some blanks.


All of the colors were going everywhere, the water splashing it all over, and what's even better is that we got two wonderful blinks to work with. I just got a special radius turning tool for my lathe as well. Next, I gave these a curved profile to try to mimic the vibe of a bowling ball so let's take these over to the lathe and start machining them down.


Next, I got the ring mounted on the expanding ring mandrel in order to profile the outer diameter. We've got ourselves a nice little radius that it cut so we just set that where we want it, we just dial it in perfectly, and then we bring it over here to the ring. Then we just start shaving away at that outer diameter.


You should’ve seen the carnage. The shavings look amazing. I had all the different sandpapers laid out in front of me going from super gritty up to super fine. Also, I got my polish that we’ll finish the rings off with.  



After that, I focused on the inside of the rings. I rounded them out, made them comfortable to wear, and then polished them up. Then we'll switch to the outside. I got a carve to the shape that we want but they're not shiny so I just needed to polish those up at that point.


I took my jewelry bur and I drilled three little shallow holes into each of the rings and gave them finger holes just like a bowling ball would have. Then I dabbed a mixture of CA glue, as well as some pigment. Then I filled it in to give it some contrast to tie it all together and make it look like an actual bowling ball.


Here's how the rings turned out. I think they look fantastic. I love that we added the finger holes because that helps sell the effect of this being a bowling ball ring. Also, that curved radius and then the fact that they are literally made out of bowling ball makes them look a lot like a bowling ball. So this was a great project to be a part of. A big thank you to Carl Jacobson for sending the material. I'm not going to be selling these. It was just a fun project to do and show you guys. I just want to thank you again so much for reading!


Watch this video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Ap2fuZs-tA

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