Bowling Alley

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Forum topic by Bob42 posted 11-29-2010 02:48 PM 2146 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Bob42's profile


456 posts in 3208 days

11-29-2010 02:48 PM

Topic tags/keywords: maple miter saw ras finishing sanding refurbishing workbench

I was lucky enough this past Friday to look at Craigs list and find someone giving away a bowling alley floor and it was free. The size was 13’ long x 42” wide x 2 1/4” thick. So I called and the woman said someone else was taking it on Sat. morning. I was depressed. On Sat. morning I called her and the man never came so I said I would take it. I went with my utility trailer to pick it up but it was to heavy so we had to cut it into 1) 8’ and 1) 5’ piece.

I’m not using it for a while so it is stored in my shed for now. Sometime this winter I have to remodel my shop. I have said this for years, but I can’t move in there anymore. I am thinking of a work bench for the small piece and maybe using the large piece for a RAS table. I know that to take it apart is a horror but we’ll see.

-- Bob K. East Northport, NY

12 replies so far

View knotscott's profile


7145 posts in 2794 days

#1 posted 11-29-2010 03:12 PM

Nice gloat!. A friend of mine made his workbench from a similar alley piece…purchased out near Syracuse. I think his was trimmed in maple with hemlock or fir as the main section…much like yours. It’s certainly serviceable for many applications. It’ll be riddled with nails, so don’t use your best blades/cutters.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View Knothead62's profile


2581 posts in 2379 days

#2 posted 11-29-2010 03:13 PM

First, store it where it is dry! The alley is very smooth and level. The alleys make great workbenches as they are a hard maple. My father had one but gave it away when we moved to NYC. No room in an apartment.
Trivia- in the mid-50’s, Dad worked on a project for Brunswick, developing the automatic pin spotter. Put a lot of pin boys out of work. He got a 5 ft. section when the project was completed. Got paid to bowl all day!
Let us see your project when done. Thanks for sharing.

View rance's profile


4243 posts in 2578 days

#3 posted 11-29-2010 03:13 PM

I’ve heard disassembly is a bear. Maybe circular saw with a sacrificial carbide blade that can cut it and use it as is? Doooh, you’ve already cut it so I guess you figured that part out.

Sorry, I lost my notes on using these but there are memberson LJ that has first hand experience.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View TheFonz's profile


42 posts in 2198 days

#4 posted 11-29-2010 03:25 PM

Nice find Bob. Lookin forward to seeing how the bench tops turn out.

-- Jeff, Look with hope to the horizon of today, for today is all we truly have.

View TheDane's profile


4930 posts in 3081 days

#5 posted 11-29-2010 06:06 PM

I worked in a bowling alley (AMF-equipped) when I was in high school, including doing repair and resurfacing work on the lanes.

Rance is right … dis-assembly can be a bear. The laminated boards probably have long ring-shank nails driven through horizontally at fairly close intervals. Make sure that whatever blade you are cutting with is something you don’t intend to keep. My son-in-law made a similar score a couple of years ago. I helped him cut it down to a size that would fit his shop space. We used a metal detector to get approx location of the ring-shanks, then used a circular saw and straight edge to do most of the cutting. When we hit a ring-shank, we took care of it with a Sawzall.

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

View popsshop's profile


42 posts in 2393 days

#6 posted 11-29-2010 06:28 PM

I was able to aquire a 6’ length of alley several years ago and made it into a workbench. In my case, the piece did need disassembly due to all the years of wax, dust/debris finding a way of getting between the boards. However, upon removing the outer edge boards, I discovered that they were all held together with threaded rods (and some nails which were easily removed). To make this brief, after disassembly I cleaned and ran the boards through the planer, ensuring a snug fit with one another, then reassembled with the rods and some wood screws for good measure. For surfacing I used a belt sander diagonally and an RO for final cleanup. It turned out nice and has been a good addition to my shop. Hope this helps, and if I can be of assistance, just holler.

-- Drilling holes in wood is a boring job

View NBeener's profile


4808 posts in 2592 days

#7 posted 11-29-2010 06:34 PM

Great score !

IIRC, PurpLev (Sharon) put up a blog/tutorial on how HE disassembled HIS.

Good luck !

-- -- Neil

View Bob42's profile


456 posts in 3208 days

#8 posted 11-30-2010 12:06 AM

Thanks all, It was something I couldn’t pass up. I know the disassemble is a night mare but probably the way I will go. That’s to far off for now. I appreciate all the suggestions. I have so much to do with planing the remodel and it will take time, and after all I have the house to paint and some fixing up. Have to keep the wife happy.

NBeener, thanks, I have seen PurpLev’s blog, very helpful as well as Gary’s.

-- Bob K. East Northport, NY

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4403 posts in 3378 days

#9 posted 12-01-2010 08:59 PM

The section I used was nailed with spiral hardened nails. Once past this, the top was excellent. I also added sections of angle iron since the boards were not glued, and would have a chance of flexing.
This wood will make an excellent bench.


View Bob42's profile


456 posts in 3208 days

#10 posted 12-02-2010 12:22 AM

Thanks Bill, Someone already put some angle iron on the back. and it seems to be a good idea to leave it there and maybe add some. My wife is currently unemployed but searching so it may have to wait a while.

-- Bob K. East Northport, NY

View Fur_252's profile


10 posts in 999 days

#11 posted 01-26-2014 07:43 PM

Nice on scoring that piece!

View Nicholas Hall's profile

Nicholas Hall

350 posts in 1525 days

#12 posted 01-26-2014 07:48 PM

Looks like an old post that was brought back to life…

I’m sure I’m not alone in wondering how the project turned out Bob42!

-- Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read. -Groucho Marx

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