bowling alley wood - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 05-09-2016, 07:43 PM Thread Starter
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bowling alley wood

So i had the opportunity to get my hands on some bowling alley lane wood. It was much harder to collect than i anticipated.

Did you know that bowling alley lane wood is NOT 3.5 feet wide but pieces 1 1/16" to 1 1/8" slapped side by side to make 3.5' wide?

There are 30" long pieces of L-brackets under the boards going perpendicular to the wood attached in 4 places. And these are placed every 8' or so all the way down the lane. So if you don't have at least 2 of these L-brackets your "lane" will fall apart when you pick it up.

About every foot and a half of lane there is a cross 2x4 that rests on a 2x4 that runs the length of the lane and a concrete slab under that lane. On top of this cross 2x4 there is a fat piece of felt to cushion the lane. The top 2x4 is nailed into the lower 2x4.

We ended up cutting 7 long pieces of 2x4 that held the gutter up and placed them tight to the outside of the lane and screwed them into the cross 2x4s to support them and to prevent them from separating on their own.

Now we took a recip saw and cut the cross 2x4 outside of the 2x4 we just attached. Now we used a 4 wrecking bar to pry the cross 2x4 we just cut off the other 2x4. Remember I mentioned they were nailed together? Now comes the lifting.

Did you know the underside of the bowling lane has been painted black? Presumably to keep out moisture?

Did you know the first 19 or so is maple and then it becomes something else? I believe mine is pine and it runs down until the pin section where it becomes maple again.

Im probably not going to get to do anything with this wood for awhile and was wondering if I need to paint of coat the exposed ends to keep it from taking moisture.

When I am ready to make a table or something do I pull these apart and glue in between or should I try to drill a hole through the sides and run a threaded rod and bolt up the ends to hold it together?

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post #2 of 7 Old 05-09-2016, 08:12 PM
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This sounds like a lot of work to me.I would have to look at it my self to say what I might do.I know this does not help.But to me I would just buy new wood or get some other kind of wood to use.
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post #3 of 7 Old 05-09-2016, 11:18 PM
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The original wood bowling lanes were considered very good for making the tops of work benches.

Never heard of anyone trying to rip one apart. Why would you want to do so? If you want to make a top of something just use it as it was taken from the alley. Would not try to put humpty dumpty back together again.

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post #4 of 7 Old 05-10-2016, 08:00 AM
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you might want to find out what the top was treated with, usually oil. keep it stored where air can reach all sides. it was obviously stable in its past life. it is now out of its element.

like mentioned they are great workbench tops.
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post #5 of 7 Old 05-10-2016, 08:34 AM
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Yep! Seen it before. The wood is heavy!
Trivia- my father got a piece of alley for a work bench in the 50s. How did he score it? He worked for the company that developed the automatic pin spotter for Brunswick. Our neighbor kidded Dad about being paid to bowl for eight hours.

A diamond is how coal reacts under pressure.
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post #6 of 7 Old 05-10-2016, 09:15 AM
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makes a great shuffle board table also!
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post #7 of 7 Old 05-11-2016, 10:52 AM Thread Starter
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I'm not trying to rip it apart, its in pieces all on its own. I'm trying to figure the best way to keep it together. That and keeping it from possibly warping until I get a chance to do something with it.

I thought about a shuffle board table but I just don't see it getting used. My last child is going to fly the coop soon and i don't see me and the wife using it much.

A workbench is a possibility or a table of some kind. I'd try to make it a knock-down since it would be heavy to move in 1 piece


Last edited by DT125a; 05-11-2016 at 11:03 AM.
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