Skip to Content

Do Bowling Pins Break? Do Bowling Pins Wear Out?

Plastic coated pin being destroyed by blue bowling ball that will be carried out in a bowling bag

Bowlers often wonder if bowling pins break. Do they shatter into pieces when you hit them hard enough, or do they simply bend and wobble? 

It’s a fair question – after all, those pins are taking a beating each time someone takes a swing at them. But does the force of the ball cause them to shatter into pieces, or is that just Hollywood magic? 

Let’s take a closer look at the science of bowling pin breaking and find out for sure.

Do Bowling Pins Break?

Bowling pins, whether ten or nine pins are designed to absorb the impact of a ball, but they’re not indestructible. In fact, plastic and wooden bowling pins are quite fragile and will break if they’re hit too hard or in the wrong place. The force of the impact shatters the pins, leaving a jagged edge.

While it’s possible for all of the pins to break in a single bowl, it’s much more common for only one or two to be damaged. In either case, broken pins must be replaced before the next game can begin.

Fortunately, most bowling alleys keep plenty of spare pins on hand so that games can continue uninterrupted.

How Do Bowling Pins Wear Out?

Over time, the bowling pins will become worn and eventually need to be replaced. The wear is caused by the repeated impact of the ball during games. The weight of the ball, combined with the high speeds at which it travels, can cause deep divots and cracks in the wood.

Eventually, these cracks will weaken the structure of the pin and make it more likely to break or splinter. In some cases, the pins may also become warped, making them more difficult to stand up. As a result, it is important to regularly inspect your pins for wear and replace them when necessary. 

It is difficult for a regular bowler to know whether a pin is broken or not by just looking at it. The best way to differentiate is to listen to the sound. A normal pin will produce a “ping” sound when a bowling ball hits it. On the other hand,  a worn-out or broken bowling pin will have a dull and cracked sound. 

Solid pins at the bowling alley with an automatic pin setter above it.

How Often Should Bowling Pins Be Replaced?

Over time, the repeated impact of bowling balls can take its toll on bowling pins, causing them to crack, splinter, and break. When this happens, it not only affects the game but can also pose a safety hazard. As a result, it’s important to know when to replace your bowling pins. 

Most bowling alleys will replace their pins every 1 to 2 years, but home lanes may need to be replaced in about 4 years because they are not subjected to frequent impact as pins in a commercial and popular alley do. 

To get the most out of your investment, it’s important to inspect your pins regularly and keep an eye out for any damage. If you notice any cracks or splits, it’s time to invest in a new set of pins. By paying close attention to your equipment, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone involved.

12 Things You Can Do With Broken or Old Bowling Pins?

When bowling pins eventually break or become too worn to use, what do you do with them? 

Here are 12 things you can do with broken or old bowling pins:

  1. Professionally, broken bowling pins can be used during warm-up for target practice.
  2. Use them as stakes in your garden.
  3. Create a Pin Flag to show your team spirit.
  4. Make a Bowling Pin Wreath for your front door.
  5. Use Bowling Pins as Yard Dice for a fun game night.
  6. Make a Candle Holder by wrapping the pins in twine or ribbon.
  7. Upcycle an old Bowling Pin into a unique Door Knocker!
  8. They can be repurposed as part of a piece of art or furniture.
  9. They can be used to make repairs to other objects, such as replacing a missing knob on a dresser drawer
  10. Worn-out bowling pins can be used to make a unique coffee table.
  11. They can also be used to create or design decorative shelf sitters.
  12. The pins can as well be used as camp firewood as maple wood burns for a long time producing powerful flames.

When it comes to reusing bowling pins, the sky’s the limit. With a little creativity, old bowling pins can be given new life and turned into something both functional and stylish.

What Makes a Bowling Pin So Durable?

When it comes to bowling, everyone knows that the goal is to knock down all ten pins. But have you ever wondered what makes a bowling pin so durable? It turns out that there is a lot of science behind the design of these simple objects. 

Bowling pins are made from hardwoods like maple or beech, which are then kiln-dried to remove moisture. This process makes the wood more stable and less likely to warp or crack. The wood is then turned on a lathe to create the smooth, cylindrical shape of the pin.

The final step is to coat the pin with a layer of liquid nylon, which not only protects the wood but also makes the pin more slippery, allowing it to slide down the lane more easily. That’s the engineering that goes into making those pins to make them last 2 to 3 years!

Does the Type of Game Affect a Pin’s Lifespan?

Whether you’re a recreational bowler or a professional, you probably have noticed that there are different types of bowling games. Some of the most common include ten-pin, nine-pin, and five-pin bowling. But have you ever wondered if the type of game you play affects the lifespan of your bowling pins?

The answer is yes! The type of game does influence how long your pins will last. Ten-pin bowling uses bowling balls that are approximately 4.5 times the weight of one pin; thus, the pins will wear out sooner than the five-pin, duckpin, and candlepin bowling pins, whose bowling balls are small and are usually made of or covered with rubber. 

Pins at the end of a bowling alley, no longer use pin boys but automatic pin setters

How Much Force Does It Take To Break a Bowling Pin?

Bowling pins are designed to withstand a lot of force, but they will eventually break if they’re hit with enough force. For that, it depends on the type of pin and how it’s hit. For example, a pin made of softwood will break more easily than a pin made of hard plastic.

And a pin hit directly in the center will break more easily than a pin that’s hit off-center. In general, it takes between 100 and 200 pounds of force to break a bowling pin. So if you’re looking to make a big impression at your next bowling outing, aim for the pins with all your might – just kidding!

Can You Fix a Broken Bowling Pin?

While it’s true that a broken pin won’t stand up on its own, it can be repaired so that it can be used again (but not in competitive sporting). The first step is to clean the pin and remove any splinters or sharp edges. Next, the pin is placed in a jig and glued back together.

Once the glue has dried, the pin is sanded down and given a new paint job. Sometimes, you can ship them back to the manufacturer for recycling or reuse or just be creative and come up with a unique piece of artwork.

How to Extend the Life of a Bowling Pin

A bowling pin is designed to withstand a great deal of force, but even the strongest pin will eventually succumb to wear and tear. Fortunately, there are a few simple steps that can be taken to extend the life of a bowling pin. 

First, it is important to inspect the pin regularly for any cracks or damage. If any damage is found, it is important to have the pin repaired or replaced as soon as possible. 

Second, it is important to keep the pin clean and dry. Bowling pins are often coated with a layer of liquid nylon, which helps to protect them from dirt and moisture. However, oil can also build up over time and cause the pin to become sticky. As a result, it is important to wipe down the pin with a clean cloth after each use. 

Finally, it is important to store the pin in a cool, dry place when not in use. Extreme temperatures can cause the wood to expand or contract, causing the pin to become warped or cracked.

Tips on painting bowling pins.

Are bowling pins bulletproof?

Tenpin bowling pins on background are breaking

The answer is both yes and no.

Standard bowling pins are made from hard maple, which is a very dense wood. This makes them tough enough to withstand the impact of a bowling ball, but not necessarily bullets. However, some bowling alleys use pins made from a material known as high-impact polystyrene, which is much harder and more resistant to breakage. This type of pin can indeed withstand being shot with a gun, making it technically bulletproof. Overall, whether or not bowling pins are bulletproof comes down to the materials they are made from.

What kind of wood is a bowling pin made of?

What type of wood are bowling pins made from

Bowling pins are made of hardwood, usually maple.

The wood is placed in a kiln and heated to around 1000 degrees Fahrenheit. This process, known as curing, helps to harden the wood and prevent warping. Once the wood has cooled, it is cut into the desired shape and sanded smoothly. A typical bowling pin is around 15 inches tall and weighs approximately 3 pounds.

How much does a bowling pin cost?

Red bowling ball and 3 bowling pin white background

Bowling pins can cost anywhere between $150 or more.

The cost of bowling pins depends on the material the pins are made of. Synthetic pins are the most expensive.

Related Articles

The results of the study showed that, in fact, bowling pins do break. However, it is not as simple as just throwing a ball at them. 

There are many factors that play into whether or not a pin will break, including the weight and speed of the ball, as well as the angle at which it is thrown. 

So the next time you’re at the bowling alley, experiment with different techniques to see what works best for you. And be sure to let us know how you do!

Just be sure not to get in trouble or make losses.