Buying a new set of woods is always an exciting experience, however for most bowlers buying them brand new from a dedicated bowls shop isn’t possible. Unfortunately, woods are expensive! Thankfully gone are the days of asking around your local club to see who’s selling, as there are now many sites selling quality second hand and pre-loved bowls online.
In this guide we will be looking at the most popular sites, as well as what you should look for in your next purchase, what to expect from the process, and how to get the best deal. So, let’s jump in!
What you need to know
Before you get going it’s probably best to consider what you’ll want and what you need. We suggest asking the following questions:
What size woods do I need - let’s get the obvious one out the way first. Make sure you know your size! If you’re an experienced bowler this will be easy, however for newer bowlers it may be an idea to head to your local club. Most will have a variety of wood sizes to try out. What weight wood do I need never assume anything from a listing. If you need yours to be “Heavys” then check the listing or with the seller to check What is my maximum budget knowing what you can realistically afford is a good starting point when filtering down many options.
What to expect when buying pre-loved woods
Buying woods online is a safe, and simple process, once you have your list of answers. Most posts on the sites listed below should have enough information within them to check off your list, however if something is missing there is always a way to contact the seller.
Woods can be HEAVY and this can make postage quite expensive. You will find rates can vary a lot, so do be sure to include the P & P in your costs.
If you have a particular colour or pattern in mind, then you could find you are searching for some time, as there’s no guarantee that what you want is available. Sometimes this requires a bit of comprising over.
Finally, go out and have fun looking around! Deep down we all love a bit of window shopping and it can be fun to talk to the sellers to find out what their experiences have been.
eBay is the biggest second hand marketplace in the world, with hundreds of bowls listings available at any one point.
A great plus for eBay is you can easily contact sellers about the items they are selling, this is great if you need to know something specific, or if you just want to know more about what you’re buying. Many listings will have great photos of the items too which gives you a great idea of the condition of the woods.
There are also a fantastic array of filters available so you can get down to exactly what you need. Price, size, brand are all easily selectable which will make finding what you need super easy.
As the items are sold by individuals the price of P & P can vary, however eBay will show the full price with it included to make things easier.
Bowlsworld is a popular online shop for bowls equipment, and they also have a pretty handy second hand section. All items for sale are displayed in an easy to read format, and detailed descriptions make it easy to see what condition the set is in. Each description also has a handy outline of how the woods behave and what style of surface/bowler they would apply to.
Prices are displayed with P & P included, so there’s no surprises when you purchase. A phone number the store is also included in case you want to check on anything not mentioned.
This site takes a slightly different approach, instead of having many sellers, you can just contact Mike (who runs the site) on the phone numbers provided and you can have a chat about what you have in mind.
A list of all the woods he has available is shown in a table with an outline of brand, condition, size and price. Pictures aren’t included yet, but these can be arranged over the phone. Great site for those who like the personal touch.
Julian Haines Bowls forum
This might be very familiar to bowlers who spend time around bowls forums! Whilst Julian Haines doesn’t have a dedicated section for second hand woods, you will find plenty of threads from users selling their woods.
If you do plan on buying from forum users always ask them to add their items to a reselling site - such as eBay. This will make sure you are protected in case there is an issue with the purchase.
Classified Ads/your local club
Whilst there are many options for buying online, some of us just prefer to old fashioned way of just asking around other bowlers at our clubs! There is absolutely nothing wrong with this, and can have some pretty big benefits. The most obvious being you can “try before you buy”, see how it feels in your grip, and how they fit into your release.
Other options for those wanting the “real life” approach are classified ads, which you can find in local newsagents or supermarkets, or by going into local bowls shops - for those lucky enough to have one nearby!
Buying second hand woods online is safe and convenient, especially if you follow the guidelines we provide. There is a site for whatever style of buyer you are, from the massive marketplaces like ebay, to the hands on, personal approach of Mike at Secondhandbowls.co.uk.
Our recommendation would be to use eBay, as it combines an exhaustive selection, with easy to use filters, as well as the ability to chat with other bowlers about the items the are selling.