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How Lawn Bowls are Made

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OAKS NORTH LAWN BOWLING CLUB

How Lawn Bowls are Made

Back in the seventeen and eighteen hundreds the finest Lawn Bowls were made from a special timber named Lignum Vitae. Because of its denseness, fine grain and self lubricating quality, Lignum Vitae was also in demand for use as bearings for ship propellor shafts. For Lawn Bowls, select logs were prepared so that four bowls could be cut from one continuous section of a log, with the center of the log becoming the center of the bowls.

The objective was to create four identical bowls in size and shape with uniform density and weight. Lathes were used to cut the spherical shape, and then using hand tools and sand paper, skilled finishers gave each set of four bowls a consistent bias. Some bowls are still made from Lignum Vitae today, but the scarcity of the lumber and the costs involved restrict their manufacture.

Since the early 1900's the same objectives have been better achieved by the technically advanced methods of mixing and molding a special thermosetting granular composition material including Phenlformaldahyde. The mixture is injected into molds and submitted to controlled pressure and heat during which time it is transformed - producing a hard "blank" bowl. Matching blanks are then further shaped on computer controlled lathes. Quality control during the whole process assures the consistencies required by today's strict standards. Verification is made by physically testing the performance of each matched set of bowls in a simulation of actual use.

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