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So I came across 75 pieces of bowling alley lane (16' sections)

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Forum topic by Seenforever posted 06-30-2015 02:35 AM 1153 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Seenforever

6 posts in 522 days


06-30-2015 02:35 AM

Topic tags/keywords: bowling alley laminate pine maple bench top

Long time lurker, first time poster..

Long story short, I came across about 70+ 16’ sections of bowling alley floor (FREE!!) and I was thinking of making some pieces out of it, namely a workbench top, coffee table, etc..

My dilemma: the pieces (laminated with nails, no glue) are NOT even remotely flat.. likely from sitting for a year in a non-climate controlled alley and then being moved outside with a skid loader.

I do not have access to a plane that will fit something this wide and I would need to do it by hand. My (probably silly) idea is to start by placing a 6-8’ section on flat ground and trying to “beat” it flatter before screwing an aluminum or steel brace to the bottom and then sanding and/or hand planing the top flat before finishing it.

Does this sound even remotely possible, or does anyone have a better idea?

Any and all help is greatly appreciated. This is the only picture I currently have, but it gives you an idea of the type of un-level surface I’m talking about.


16 replies so far

View TheDane's profile

TheDane

4997 posts in 3123 days


#1 posted 06-30-2015 02:40 AM

Do you have a router? Quite a few folks here on LJ have flattened big surfaces with a router running in a sled on rails. Haven’t done it myself, but maybe somebody on here who has can chime in.

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

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Smitty_Cabinetshop

13713 posts in 2079 days


#2 posted 06-30-2015 02:43 AM

How thick are these sections?

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View firefighterontheside's profile

firefighterontheside

13444 posts in 1317 days


#3 posted 06-30-2015 02:50 AM

My kitchen island and my workbench are made from bowling lane. Mine were just as you described, nailed together from one into the next and so on. There was also angle iron lag bolted to the bottom about every 3’. Without the angle they are quite flimsy. I would think you could pull them back to flat. There are also pretty big gaps if you remove the finish. I think most bowling lanes are map,e for the first 10-12’ and then yellow pine after that. Mine were all yellow pine. I would try and get the first 10’ so you can get the little arrows on it.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

View rwe2156's profile

rwe2156

2190 posts in 941 days


#4 posted 06-30-2015 11:24 AM

It will make a fantastic workbench or assembly table.

I attached a 3 1/2” X 3” front and back rail
You have to putting end caps and make sure you’ve got them clamped flat with cauls before you do it (how do I know this ;-). I attached them with 5” lag bolts and plugged the holes.

I flattened it with a router and sled. Check out WoodWhisper video on this.

The nails were a BIG problem for me when drilling the dogholes 3 of them had nails imbedded.
Ruined my auger bit. Had to drill with a standard twist drill and the holes messed up a little.

In retrospect, I would have taken it apart, pulled the nails and glued it together.
That way I don’t play Russian roulette with drilling holds.
I would love to drill some more holes for bench dogs but I hesistate because of the nail issue.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View dhazelton's profile

dhazelton

2322 posts in 1757 days


#5 posted 06-30-2015 12:11 PM

How warped are they. And how much flex is there? If you build a bench with stiff rails will attaching the top form underneath pull it flat without cracking? Otherwise buying a wide belt sander or doing the sled route like above is you best bet.

View Seenforever's profile

Seenforever

6 posts in 522 days


#6 posted 06-30-2015 12:47 PM



How thick are these sections?

- Smitty_Cabinetshop

I havent measured them and Im currently at work but I would guess 2.5”


My kitchen island and my workbench are made from bowling lane. Mine were just as you described, nailed together from one into the next and so on. There was also angle iron lag bolted to the bottom about every 3 . Without the angle they are quite flimsy. I would think you could pull them back to flat. There are also pretty big gaps if you remove the finish. I think most bowling lanes are map,e for the first 10-12 and then yellow pine after that. Mine were all yellow pine. I would try and get the first 10 so you can get the little arrows on it.

- firefighterontheside

Yeah, these have the steel T posts holding them “flat” but they arent exactly snug what with all the skid loading and what not. I have access to so many of them that I plan on using the “arrowed” sections to do some projects with, namely my bench top and maybe a coffee table for now. The first 8-12’ (im guessing) is maple and the rest is yellow pine.


How warped are they. And how much flex is there? If you build a bench with stiff rails will attaching the top form underneath pull it flat without cracking? Otherwise buying a wide belt sander or doing the sled route like above is you best bet.

- dhazelton

If im not mistaken the laminate pieces are about 1” wide and throughout the laminate there might be between 1-2mm height difference between each piece.

Im probably going to try a little bit of everything and I would guess I’ll use the sled to smooth it all out.

Thanks guys!

View MNclone's profile

MNclone

187 posts in 1044 days


#7 posted 06-30-2015 12:48 PM

Where are you located? I want some of that!

View Seenforever's profile

Seenforever

6 posts in 522 days


#8 posted 06-30-2015 12:54 PM

I’m in Louisville, KY.

View joey502's profile

joey502

487 posts in 978 days


#9 posted 06-30-2015 02:19 PM

What part of Louisville are you in? I live a couple miles from Taylorsville lake. I also may be interested in buying one of them if you are selling.

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4448 posts in 3421 days


#10 posted 06-30-2015 02:46 PM

My bench is from alley material. I added angle iron strips to the underside to flatten the top. Been holding well for over 20 years. Those nails are hardened spiral steel. You can bet that they are a bear to remove.
Some holes are drilled through for the holdfasts, others a just deep enough for the dogs (the “plastic” ones from a B & D Workmate).
I’ll never wear this puppy out.
Bill

-- bill@magraphics.us

View Seenforever's profile

Seenforever

6 posts in 522 days


#11 posted 06-30-2015 02:58 PM

I hadn’t thought about selling them but after looking around I’ve seen shorter sections selling for $300.

Since ours are “weathered” a bit, how does $150 per 16’ slab sound?

I have read that the pine sections are heart pine, take that for whatever value you want. Google isn’t always right.

Also, we have them stored just off Taylorsville Lake rd, so we’re very close ;)

View AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

2406 posts in 1769 days


#12 posted 06-30-2015 05:32 PM



I hadn t thought about selling them but after looking around I ve seen shorter sections selling for $300.

Since ours are “weathered” a bit, how does $150 per 16 slab sound?

I have read that the pine sections are heart pine, take that for whatever value you want. Google isn t always right.

Also, we have them stored just off Taylorsville Lake rd, so we re very close ;)

- Seenforever


Does that include shipping?

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

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Seenforever

6 posts in 522 days


#13 posted 06-30-2015 05:33 PM


Does that include shipping?

- AlaskaGuy

Hahahahaha. Tell me another one ;)

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AlaskaGuy

2406 posts in 1769 days


#14 posted 06-30-2015 05:37 PM


Does that include shipping?

- AlaskaGuy

Hahahahaha. Tell me another one ;)

- Seenforever


Actually I’d never let something with that much metal in it near my tools.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

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Seenforever

6 posts in 522 days


#15 posted 06-30-2015 05:55 PM

Actually I d never let something with that much metal in it near my tools.

- AlaskaGuy

Duly noted

(also, my “haha” reply wasnt meant to be obnoxious, I just assumed you knew how improbable shipping was and you were being sarcastic)

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