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Bowling Lane Table and planning for wood movement

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Forum topic by Matt posted 02-15-2017 05:20 PM 515 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Matt

2 posts in 330 days


02-15-2017 05:20 PM

Topic tags/keywords: bowling lane table top project from hell

Okay… Long time follower first time posting!

I am working on a table as a gift. Much to my chagrin, we purchased a section of a bowling lane to reclaim for the project. The edges are not very clean and have nails throughout. I was about to begin planing the surface when I began to rethink my plan altogether. First off the pine runners are not glued together, but rather nailed together. This creates a huge concern for sagging. Then the exposed end grain would allow for a lot of movement. I was planning on framing this with 6/4 walnut, biscuit or half lapped (and finger jointed to gain length needed) to the lane section with mitered corners to hide any end grain.Then a thick epoxy coat all the way around it. The base will be a pair of old cast iron sawhorses, and runners to keep the table from sagging.

This all sounded like a great plan… EXCEPT I am building in Oklahoma and the tables permanent residence is in Missouri… I figured if I could get a good seal around the wood, I could reduce the wood movement, and avoid the disaster that might come from transporting this thing 600 miles.

So, here are my questions: 1. How should I surface the edges without destroying my router bits? Recess, and angle grind any exposed metal? 2. Angle Iron Strapping sounds like a disaster as the wood moves. As you can see, the wood has already begun to crack around the old screw. Sdhould I just allow larger holes in the iron, allowing the screws to move along the angle iron? 3. Corner miters that allow for movement? or do I just leave the finger joints loose?

4. Any other suggestions?

I am no novice, but I prefer to use a 1/2 plywood substrate, and leave joints loose on the surface, then poly the hell out of the table top.



4 replies so far

View Lazyman's profile

Lazyman

1505 posts in 1225 days


#1 posted 02-21-2017 04:07 AM

Not sure that I can help much but here are few of thoughts. If nothing else, my response will push this back to top and maybe others will have better ideas.

While wood movement is something you normally have worry about on a table top, because the boards are not glued together, they may have enough gaps between them that they have enough room for wood movement, since most of the movement is across the grain not its length. The fact that the finish on the top looks crack free also indicates that this wood is pretty stable—its probably over 50 years old if it was removed from a bowling alley.

Is that angle iron in the 3rd picture from the original installation or something that was added later to hold it together while it was moved? The crack there was probably caused by driving the screw in without a proper pilot hole and if it is from the original installation has probably been there for over 50 years too and not from wood movement. I would replace the angle iron with wood, if for no other reason than to make sure that no one hits their knee on it. But, if you are still concerned with movement, making the holes oversized will give some protection. The nails that hold the boards together may also give the some flexibility to move a bit so that not all of the movement shows up along the sides are at individual points where it is attached to the supports.

It is not clear to me what your concern is with using a router bit on the edges. Are you worried about hitting hidden nails? A metal detector can help you locate them. I find the Zircon m40-FFP a pretty handy tool for locating hidden nails in wood ($30 at Amazon). If you can locate them, you may be able to remove them before using the router.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View Madmark2's profile

Madmark2

373 posts in 426 days


#2 posted 02-21-2017 04:27 AM

There is a stiffening channel & riser on each board that prevents shifting / sagging. The maple was kiln dried before it was assembled & finished. There is a good & bad side. All of the nails face the same way so the good side can be refinished many times. You shouldn’t have to worry about warpage since alleys are specifically designed not to. Alleys are nailed & not glued so they can be repaired.

My dad worked for AMF in the 60’s.

M

View MerylL's profile

MerylL

70 posts in 1209 days


#3 posted 02-21-2017 05:27 AM

Watching.

View Matt's profile

Matt

2 posts in 330 days


#4 posted 02-21-2017 02:14 PM

Thanks guys. My major concern with the nails on edges is that I want to join and spline the walnut frame onto the lane section without killing a bit or two. I’m definitely going to pick up a nail finder(thanks for the tip) after I test a stud finder to see if it would do the same trick. additionally, it appears there is some metal running the length of the lane section. I figure I will use an angle grinder to recess these pieces away from the edge, allowing a spline to run across the width of the end grain.

My major concern with movement is putting a frame around the edges. I have decided to not do mitersat the corners, but spline the edges and attach walnut frame the length of the slap, and to attach the walnut on the ends running the entire width.

I just got the fingers done for the frame last night, after building a coping sled, aligning my router table,then to have my 1617 crap out on me. The ‘ol dusty switch trick! So after disassembling it, cleaning the switch out, putting it back together, realizing I put the switch back in oriented backwards, fixing that, I was able to align the bit again and get these ready for glue up!

Up next. Router planning the surface, edge prep, walnut frame glue-up, stain, epoxy…

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