Bowling Alley Workbench #1: Disassembly

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Blog entry by YooperCasey posted 05-28-2008 12:51 AM 1970 reads 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Bowling Alley Workbench series no next part

Hello folks,

I figure everyone should get a bit of a chuckle out of this project. My sister recently moved into a new apartment and for whatever strange reason she had somehow acquired a six foot long piece of bowling alley. Normally I would have just pitched it in the trash, but the grain caught my eye, birdseye! Upon further inspection it was a mix of birdseye, curly maple, regular maple and white oak. So it was acquired, and quickly moved home.

Upon closer inspection I notice a few things…

First off it is nailed, and screwed through with stretchers going across. Hmm, this may be interesting. Well, nothing to do but dive in!

It worked, if by diving in I meant smashing a gasket scraper in with a hammer. The first three are horrible, very tight, each squeaking and squawking as it is removed. I have to hammer a small block in between each, then slowly expand it out. After one hour…

And suddenly it hits me, they are threaded rod...

Yup, that’s right. My 19.2 volt craftsman drill is about to get the workout of a lifetime! I have to say I didn’t expect it to work, but it did! I had to spray each rod with a teflon lubricant otherwise it was burning when it finally threaded out. Ten minutes later…

All apart! It made the loudest most horrible screech, but damn it worked well. One battery too, I figured I’d have burned through both spares. The chuck jaws held up great, good thing it was hardened drill rod.

They seem to be random thicknesses so I will rip them down and try to get a common size. After that I’m not sure… anyone have any thoughts on the best way to go about sticking them back together? I’d like to avoid the threaded rod if possible.

-- Casey, Engineer, Escanaba, MI

6 comments so far

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 4012 days

#1 posted 05-28-2008 01:07 AM

I made my workbench from an old bowling alley. No threaded rods but hundreds of hardened twist nails.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View RobS's profile


1334 posts in 4330 days

#2 posted 05-28-2008 01:11 AM

I don’t understand the want to take it apart? won’t you be putting them all together again?

-- Rob (A) Waxahachie,TX

View YooperCasey's profile


58 posts in 3857 days

#3 posted 05-28-2008 01:21 AM

Gotta love those hardened nails, I only had about a dozen. I couldn’t imagine hundreds of them.

I would have left it together Rob but I think that it had been dropped at one time as it was warped, twisted, cupped and bent all at once. The threaded rod came out quite bent. The under sides of it are glue covered also, so I want to get a fresh start.

It’s strange with the glue, there wasn’t any glue in the joints so I’m not sure what it was doing on the bottom of the alley.

-- Casey, Engineer, Escanaba, MI

View teenagewoodworker's profile


2727 posts in 3792 days

#4 posted 05-28-2008 03:53 AM

thats like what i see in my school. we have maple flooring and in every room i see at least a couple boards of Birdseye, and tiger maple. it always hurts me as i think that that should be in a woodworkers hands not in a floor, lol! thanks for the post.

View gator9t9's profile


331 posts in 3728 days

#5 posted 05-28-2008 08:41 AM

That is great ….I always wanted a Bowling alley as a workbench ….or the floor from a Gymnasium….yeah …The one thing nice about walking on maple is it just feels so good …
good luck

-- Mike in Bonney Lake " If you are real real real good your whole life, You 'll be buried in a curly maple coffin when you die."

View Brad_Nailor's profile


2539 posts in 3981 days

#6 posted 05-28-2008 01:43 PM

My cabinetmaker buddy salvaged a ton of bowling alley from a demo job. It’s stacked up in his storage garage. Your post has inspired me…I think I will get a section from him and make a real bench!


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