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how do i remove the plastic cover from a bowling pin?


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removing the coating on bowling pins is easier than one might think.

tools needed:
hand held propane torch
vise
razor knife
stiff scraper.

put the pins in the vise with the seam facing up. use the torch and go along the seam from the base to the head. only let the heat of the torch just warm up the seam. you should see the very slight bubbling. The idea is to soften the outside of the pin, not to melt it.
use the razor knife and cut from the base to the top of the head.
use the scraper to pry the seam from the wood. go from middle to base, then from middle to head.
flip the pin over and repeat the above on the other side.

after all that, turn the pin in the vise so that one side is free. take the torch and go over that half of the pin to soften the coating.
using pliers or your hand, grab the plastic coating and peel off the facing. it should pop right off. if the coating doesn't come free from the pin, reheat the trouble spot with the torch.

repeat on the other side.

the base of the pin will be able to be pulled right off.

all in all it should take you about 3-5 minutes to get the coating off the pin.

the pins smell great when you don't have the coating on it. :-)

dhinton6 years ago
I have had success with a dremel tool (wear goggles!) and slicing the plastic from end to end in several places. I have also utilized a hair dryer to heat the glue once I was able to breach the surface, lets say if it had a tear in it from regular hits from a bowling ball. This time around I am using my stove at a temp of 350 to soften the plastic. I have been able to cut it with an x-acto and a utility knife and then peel it with the locking pliers so I keep a good grip on it. Using a hot pad is recommended to handle it, because it does get hot and keeps the heat in. It's a slow go, because I actually want to reuse the plastic strips so I am trying not to tear them up.
Your oven technique worked wonderfully! Thank you for posting this!
I had it peeled and beautiful within an hour :)
https://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Peel-a-Bowling-pin/

I know its old, but its still not answered..
:)
Gorfram8 years ago
Bowling pins are usually wood covered with nylon plastic and coated with polyurethane. The plastic is injection molded to the wood from the base of the pin.

I've never done it, but your best bet might be to try to cut/scrape/peel the plastic off, starting at the base. The plastic will be extra thick there, but you'll have a nice flat surface to get a start on. Once you have a cut started, you may be able to peel/scrape the plastic away in strips heading up the side of the pin, kind of like peeling a(n upside-down) banana (but not nearly so easy).

You might be able to use a carpenter's plane for some of this, but you'll probably wind up using a utility/carpet/Stanley knife and needing to *damned* careful not to cut yourself.

Nylon transforms to a much more rubbery, pliable state at about 105 -115 F, so you might try heating it and see it that helps. (Don't go much hotter, though - you don't want to breathe polyurethane fumes.) The properties of nylon change when it absorbs water, too; so, once you've breached the polyurethane coating, you could investigate what a soak in a 115 F or so water bath will do for you.

Sulphuric acid is very bad for nylon, but it's not real good for people, either - you probably don't want to mess with it.

Hope some of this is helpful.

Gorfram Gorfram8 years ago
Thinking further about this today, I wnodered if it mght not be easier just to check eBay or something for wooden bowling pins you could buy already plastic-less....?