What Are Bowling Pins Made of? [All You Need to Know]

Bowling is a widely popular game in North America and Europe. Of course, it is not that popular like football, but it has a decent audience. If you ever played this game, you may have noticed the bowling pins. The ball hits the pins so hard but those stay unbreakable. Do you ever ask yourself What Are Bowling Pins Made of?

Well, bowling pins are made of maple wood. Yes, you have heard it right. A few blocks of maple woods are glued together to make the pins.

Sounds crazy, right?

How the heck does these wooden pins handle such pressure of heavy balls?

Well, the construction matters more than the materials here. We will discuss that in the latter part. Let’s check.

What Are Bowling Pins Made of

Tell me honestly, what did you think bowling pins are made of? Is it Plastics, Metals, Stone, Aluminum, Wood, Latex, or Acrylic?

Well, the surprising fact is that none of the materials are used to make bowling pins. As we mentioned earlier, the pins are Made of Maple Wood. However, the process is what matters most. Also, the design and coating play a vital role to make the pins stronger.

What is Inside the Bowling Pins?

The core of the bowling pins is pure maple wood. However, there is a trick. A pin made of a solid piece of maple wood cannot withstand the impact of heavy-duty bowling balls. Back in the 1800s, people used to make pins out of solid maple wood pieces.

In the 1940s, pinsetter was invented. Then, the pins were broken and cracked easily. It required more frequent pin replacement. It was expensive and time-consuming. To solve the problem, Vulcan Manufacturing invented a new method in the 1950s to make pins.

What is Inside the Bowling Pins?

They used a few small blocks of maple wood and then glued them together. It helped to withstand the pressure of the heavy-weight ball. Consequently, the replacement cost decreased a lot. At the same time, it helped them to control the weight and shape precisely.


Some people had invented coating to bring a new look and more durability to the pins at that time. 

However, the coating increases the weight of the pins. But when Vulcan Manufacturing made lightweight pins, using coating became possible.


Now the core of the pins is made of small pieces of maple wood. However, you cannot use random maple wood. There are some restrictions, rules, and regulations as well. American bowling congress regulates the construction of bowling pins.

They allow only maple woods grown above the 45th parallel. Why? Well, the woods grown in this area consist of lower mineral concentrations.


In addition, not all parts of a maple tree are used to make pins. It must be lower in mineral concentration. Why? Well, the wood has to be brand new, sound, and hard. Lower mineral concentration ensures higher density wood. High-quality, high-density wood is used to make pins to handle the impact.

You will find some pins made of approved synthetic materials. They look good and sound good as well. However, the point making is not that good with the synthetic pins. So people avoid using synthetic pins.

What is Outside the Bowling Pins?

The glued pieces cannot bring the design you see in the game. It has to be modified. That is why a special coating is used to make the pins look nicer. In most cases, nylon and DuPont’s Surlyn coating are used. Why?

Well, these coatings help to keep the weight within the limit. Also, they help to enhance the outside durability of the pins. Since the pinsetter selects the pins thousands of times, the outer construction has to be durable to handle the pressure.

What is Outside the Bowling Pins?

When it comes to coating, manufacturers generally use 7 layers of coating. The first layer is used to seal the pores. After gluing the maple pieces, there will be lots of pores. A special coating is used just to fill those pores.

After completing the first coating, the second coating is used to ensure stronger adhesion. This layer of coating is important for keeping the pieces together. The rest of the 5 coatings are done for finishing.

The Design of Bowling Pins

The construction is not everything for bowling pins. Design plays an important role as well. When it comes to bowling pins, there are three things- durability, scoring, and sound.

The Durability of the Bowling Pins

Since the pins are handled by a pinsetter, durability is mandatory. The inner materials and outer paint determine durability. That is why multiple maple wood pieces are glued together to enhance durability. Nowadays, the synthetic core is being used as well to improve the durability of bowl pins. The outer coating is important as well. If the quality of the outer coating is not good, it cannot handle the pressure.

How the Pins Score

When it comes to scoring, design plays a vital role. If the design is heavy, the pins will not fall easily. Scoring will be tough. On the other hand, if the pins are too lightweight, they will fall easily and the game will not be competitive. A precise design is important for scoring.


You may wonder why sound is important for design. Well, you certainly do not like pins that make odd sounds. Everyone desires that swift sound. The design of the pins determines how the sound will be.


Now you know What Are Bowling Pins Made of. The question should not be about the materials, it should be about the process. Why? Well, the process determines how strong the pins will be. Only maple wood is not enough to withstand the pressure of heavyweight balls. It has to be blocks of maple wood with glue and coating.

The reasons for using maple wood are its durability, resistance, weight, and sound. No other woods or materials including plastic, metal, stones, or others can imitate it. That is why maple wood has been used to make bowling pins for 200 years.

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