from all the research i’ve done before starting this project, i’ve come to realize that the bowling lane sections that i received are actually quite exceptional, mostly because they are the pin setting ends. i’ve googled ‘bowling alley table’ and most of what i’ve found are tables made from the section of lane with the directional arrow inlays. and while i think these tables are still sweet looking, i’m very happy to have encountered such a unique and exceptional piece of material.
furthermore, as i’ve read ‘how to’s’ and blogs of others, i have confirmed that, in fact, these sections of lane are exceptional. most, if not all folks reassured me that there would be TONS of spiral nails, which would make dismantling the lane section less than easy. yes, very much correct.
others who have embarked on a similar project noted that there was no glue or adhesives, or screws or bolts, used to hold the boards together. i guess this is where my lane sections begin to boast their exceptional qualities.
as i’ve started disassembling the sections, i’ve come in to a few surprises. first, there are many, MANY nails. i expected a lot, but even the cross braces on the back of the sections were laden with bent and counter sunk spiral nails. so much so, that just to begin disassembly, i had to chisel out and remove about 30 nails from a single 2×4.
after that, i began to remove the outermost pieces, and to my surprise, i found …
... a bolt! that’s right, a 1/2 inch thick bolt that runs the width of the lane. i had to sacrifice one board to get at the nut, which came off easily. the nut on the other side, however, was rusted on, and halted my progress for a few days. enter the die grinder:
the 2 or 3 outer boards are definitely the hardest to remove. there are probably 12 – 15 nails per board, and, the boards are glued together. about two-thirds of the length of the boards have what appears to be standard wood glue. though it is brittle now, the folks who assembled this lane section clearly did NOT want it coming apart. they even glued the hole that the bolt went through. this photo shows some glue (yellowish globs) and areas where the glue was removed from (lighter patches of wood):
the last surprise came when i discovered that there are heavy duty screws driven in from the back ends of the boards. they are sunken in so deep that i didn’t even notice them until i tried to remove the boards. the screw is probably a 1/4” thick, with deep threads. give the amount of nails, glue and 40”+/- bolt, i’m not sure what purpose these screws serve. oh well, i guess i’ll have to chisel them out.
to date, i’ve gotten about 11 boards (of the 39 in the first lane section) removed. by prying the individual boards up slightly, and hammering the nails back into the wood—hitting on the point, not the head—and using a nail set when necessary, the boards are coming off much easier and quicker. at my best, i’ve been able to get about 3 boards removed in 1.5 hours. that doesn’t include removing the nails from the boards.
so, let me get this straight:
- lots and lots of brittle, spiral nails : CHECK
- the boards are glued together : CHECK
- 1/2 bolt running the width of the lane section : CHECK
- bonus heavy duty mystery screws : CHECK
yup, all these bonus obstacles seem to make these lane sections truly exceptional.
next blog entry will show more photos of as i near completion of dismantling the first lane section and move on to the next.