Hammer: Wrench

by Bob Johnson 0

48 Hook 16 Length 15.5 Breakpoint Shape

Manufacturer’s Intent: “The Wrench gives Hammer bowlers their first ball with the Taboo Jet Black [February 2012] coverstock at a lower price point,” says Jeff Ussery. “The Wrench has a stronger down-lane move than we have had at our upper-mid price point since the Epidemic [August 2011].”

Core Design: Hammer chose the M.P.A. (Mirror Plane Asymmetric) core shape to power the new Wrench. The mild asymmetric core shape promotes easy mid-lane length and plenty of back-end angularity. The RG is moderate at 2.50, the differential strong at .052 and the PSA low at .008. We saw close to 6 inches of track flare with our 4- and 5-inch pin distance layouts.

Coverstock: We classify the GTR III pearlized reactive cover as a quick-response cover with limited oil traction. Colors are a tri-blending of red, gold and purple. The factory surface is sanded with 800 Abranet and 1000 and 2000 Abralon pads, then shined with Ebonite’s high-grit (that is, very smooth) Powerhouse polish. The RA level is 1.35, which is perfect for added length and lighter oil.

Test Results: The Wrench reminded our test staff of the original red/black pearl Black Widow (June 2007), as it displayed easy length and a quick, strong move off friction. The overall total hook will likely match up best on light-medium to medium volumes for most bowler styles, with the factory finish. Players may notice slightly more down-lane continuation with the newer M.P.A. core compared to other symmetric designs, partially a result of the mild asymmetry. The Wrench will offer a few feet easier length with more angularity compared to the Ratchet (August 2012), which shares the same core, albeit with stronger numbers.

When to Use: Since the Wrench will fit neatly between the Taboo series and Arson series, it may play well as a benchmark ball for those with slower speeds and/or higher rev rates. With a 4000-grit finish, it would match up even better for firmer speeds as a benchmark ball. We really loved our looks on most medium volume patterns, especially after some early transition. On some fresh patterns, we saw a little too much mid-lane push and too much friction response when leaving the patterns. Players should use Ebonite’s Blueprint software to ensure achieving the motion shape they desire.

Bob Johnson

Bob Johnson has received more national writing awards than any other bowling writer — close to 70 over the course of his 40-year career. He began at age 16 as a staff writer and then assistant editor for the weekly Pacific Bowler newspaper in his native California, and within three years was writing feature stories for Bowlers Journal. He has written for the magazine ever since, except for a five-year span when he was hired as the founding editor of another magazine. He moved to Chicago in 2000 and spent 13 years in the Windy City, including five as Bowlers Journal’s Editor. In 1975, Johnson received the Robert E. Kennedy Award as California’s top undergraduate high school journalist. Five years earlier, on the lanes, he had shared the Bantam Division Doubles championship in the Orange County Junior Bowling Association Championships. Today, he continues to work full-time for Bowlers Journal as its Senior Editor, to write his popular “Strikes Me” column, and to edit Luby Publishing Inc.’s weekly business-to-business Cyber Report.