Author Topic: Reclaimed Bowling Alley Floor Source?  (Read 7585 times)

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Offline ear3

  • Posts: 3885
Reclaimed Bowling Alley Floor Source?
« on: January 10, 2016, 10:54 AM »
I'm spec-ing a job to build a large console table top for a Recording studio, and one idea I had was to use reclaimed bowling alley wood.  I'm wondering if anyone knows of a source for this in the New York area?

Failing that, then a good wource for butcher block tops?  The console is a weird shape -- basically made up of three trapezoids -- so I would have to buy a couple of sheets of the butcher block, and then piece it together with the angles.
« Last Edit: January 10, 2016, 10:56 AM by Edward A Reno III »
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Offline jdm5

  • Posts: 103
Re: Reclaimed Bowling Alley Floor Source?
« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2016, 11:28 AM »
Definitely interested in a source for bowling alley flooring - could do some interesting things with that.

As far as butcher block, I haven't used it but seen a number of people refer to Grizzly butcher block products - no idea how good they are / are not.  Perhaps someone who has can opine?

https://www.grizzly.com/products/category/360100
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Offline jdm5

  • Posts: 103
Re: Reclaimed Bowling Alley Floor Source?
« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2016, 11:37 AM »
I was curious so started looking and found some options:
http://planetreuse.com/collections/price-desc-wood has some, but not near me (Connecticut, USA)

Ebay actually has some in Brooklyn, NY (not far from me) that seems reasonable - I was considering building the Jack Bench and it looks like that might be a reasonable option for a workbench top - does anyone have any thoughts if that's good/bad vs. butcher block or making my own?
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Offline unityroad

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Re: Reclaimed Bowling Alley Floor Source?
« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2016, 11:38 AM »
Hi, You might try these people, bairdbros.com For the butcher block blanks if you will. Good luck
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Offline Don T

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  • Phoenix, Az
Re: Reclaimed Bowling Alley Floor Source?
« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2016, 12:03 PM »
Ikea has butcher block tops at a reasonable price.  I have heard that bowling lanes have a tremendous amount of nails in it but I don't know that first hand it is just something I remember reading.
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Offline jdm5

  • Posts: 103
Re: Reclaimed Bowling Alley Floor Source?
« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2016, 12:13 PM »
Ikea has butcher block tops at a reasonable price.  I have heard that bowling lanes have a tremendous amount of nails in it but I don't know that first hand it is just something I remember reading.

Yes, was doing more research, and a number of threads at Saw Mill Creek referenced this - tons of metal in it and frequently no glue.

Probably not worth it.
Drank the green Kool-Aid...gave up counting long ago.

Offline tjskinny

  • Posts: 82
Re: Reclaimed Bowling Alley Floor Source?
« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2016, 12:24 PM »
Well, if you were in the Seattle area, I would tell you to head to Second Use as I just saw somw there the other day.

http://www.seconduse.com/?s=Bowling+allEy

I see there is a place in Brookland similar to Second Use call
Bigreuse that might have something.

http://www.bigreuse.org/

Possibly Rehouse

http://www.rehouseny.com/products/index.html

Just some thoughts I am sure you aready thought of.

Offline w802h

  • Posts: 221
Re: Reclaimed Bowling Alley Floor Source?
« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2016, 12:37 PM »
I have reinstalled some 2.25" oak strip flooring.  Pulling L-cleats was a lot of work.  It was when I was only doing projects for myself and definitely wouldn't be as finished a product or cost effective as what I could build starting with rough stock.  I think the only reason I would go reclaimed would be if the client specifically wanted a post-consumer recycled product and I wouldn't do it bid either until you had the material in hand and knew what you were dealing with. 

I just installed some Boos Bros. maple butcher block tops last month.  The TS55 gave me nice, finished crosscuts.  My 36" slab had a pretty good bow out of the package even though I had it stickered off the floor.  Their instructions called for 3/8" holes for a #10 panhead screw with a washer minimally fastened to prevent the screws tearing apart the workpiece with seasonal movement.  Depending on your trapezoid shape, you'll want to be cautious about making very wide pieces that would increase the amount of expansion/contraction. 

It sounds like a project that would be great to see in pictures!

Offline JD2720

  • Posts: 1101
Re: Reclaimed Bowling Alley Floor Source?
« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2016, 12:39 PM »
Ikea has butcher block tops at a reasonable price.  I have heard that bowling lanes have a tremendous amount of nails in it but I don't know that first hand it is just something I remember reading.

Yes, was doing more research, and a number of threads at Saw Mill Creek referenced this - tons of metal in it and frequently no glue.

Probably not worth it.

I have seen the the wood from 3 different bowling alleys. All had lots of nails. 

Offline bigjonh

  • Posts: 128
Re: Reclaimed Bowling Alley Floor Source?
« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2016, 01:20 PM »
I've gotten some butcher block slabs for a job from these guys.
http://www.hardwood-lumber.com

Offline Untidy Shop

  • Posts: 2745
Re: Reclaimed Bowling Alley Floor Source?
« Reply #10 on: January 10, 2016, 01:46 PM »
Recycled Merbu decking.



As others have said, this is a time consuming process - is it a commercially viable option for you? This example, and another currently being constructed, was for myself.

I have installed two IKEA butcher block tops and both required sanding and 'encouragement' in the fastening process to be flat. Based on this limited experience, I would look elsewhere for ready made.
« Last Edit: January 10, 2016, 01:49 PM by Untidy Shop »
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Online deepcreek

  • Posts: 844
    • TimberFire Studio
Re: Reclaimed Bowling Alley Floor Source?
« Reply #11 on: January 10, 2016, 01:57 PM »
I have a section of lane (with the 10 pin markers) that was salvaged from an old bowling alley in Massachusetts.

I plan to use it for a table someday but it's going to take a lot of work.

As others have said, there is no glue between the strips.  They are held together by copious amounts of nails driven horizontally through the strips.
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Offline JSlovic

  • Posts: 104
Re: Reclaimed Bowling Alley Floor Source?
« Reply #12 on: January 10, 2016, 02:13 PM »
I've used butcher block table tops from WW Grainger for industrial workbenches. Nice product and as I recall reasonably priced.   
I've also see lots of Boos blocks in various sizes.
Finally craft-art (craft-art.com) in Atlanta made me a custom endgrain maple counter top. It was stunningly beautiful but pretty expensive. 

Offline Cheese

  • Posts: 6521
Re: Reclaimed Bowling Alley Floor Source?
« Reply #13 on: January 10, 2016, 02:48 PM »
Edward,
I've used the Ikea stuff a couple of times, pretty reasonably priced but there definitely is a good top surface and a bad bottom surface, and the bad surface is really bad!!! Divots, large scalloped areas and pockets up to 1/8" deep.

Woodcraft also has prefinished maple tops available and they periodically go on sale. I picked up one for my workbench at 40% off.

Boos makes some nice stuff too, maple, oak, walnut & cherry, just a bit spendy.

Offline Michael Kellough

  • Posts: 4264
Re: Reclaimed Bowling Alley Floor Source?
« Reply #14 on: January 10, 2016, 03:23 PM »
A large variety ready to go from McMaster-Carr. Here

Offline ear3

  • Posts: 3885
Re: Reclaimed Bowling Alley Floor Source?
« Reply #15 on: January 10, 2016, 07:49 PM »
Thanks for all the replies. I didn't realize the bowling alley wood was so metal embedded, so it looks like I should turn to one of the prefab options mentioned so far in the thread. My fallback option would be to use Baltic birch as a substrate then cover it with some wood flooring. I would just have to cover each section first and then cut the trapezoids to size with equal, mating angles so that the ends of the flooring lined up across the seams.
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Offline Cheese

  • Posts: 6521
Re: Reclaimed Bowling Alley Floor Source?
« Reply #16 on: January 10, 2016, 10:55 PM »
Edward,
My knee-jerk reaction is that in the process of purchasing Baltic birch, purchasing quality T&G flooring, purchasing fastners, installing all of the items mentioned and then remembering where the flooring nails are located because you need to cut these pieces into trapezoids and then piece them together, it may be a lot more cost effective to just purchase a commercially produced product and then cut & paste. [big grin]  Besides that'd be a great application for the Domino.

Just my  [2cents] and I've been known to be able to squeeze blood out of a turnip.  [thumbs up]

Offline Thunderchyld

  • Posts: 93
Re: Reclaimed Bowling Alley Floor Source?
« Reply #17 on: January 11, 2016, 11:04 AM »
Here's the best source I have for used bowling lanes.  http://www.repurposedmaterialsinc.com/store/categories/wood

Fun material to work with.  As has been said, nailed not glued.  In my experience, the nailing is confined to the lower 1" or so of the planks, which are usually at least 2 1/4" thick or more.  When I need to remove the nails, what I do is place the lane down on the floor and put 4x4" blocking under one long edge.  Walk down the middle and it flexes like a stiff tambour door.  At this point careful prying and hammer application gets the boards separated from each other.  Once the boards are separated it's easy enough to remove the nails with a nail kicker(punch nailer) and a set of dull nippers or something like the crescent nail puller pliers. 

If you've never heard of a nail kicker, it's essentially an air nailer without a magazine and a tube the drive pin rides in.  I'm familiar with two manufacturers, the original Nail Kicker made by reconnx, and a value brand version made by Air Locker.  Kind of surprised I haven't seen one at Harbor Freight yet, considering the Air Locker body is the same as HF's Central Pneumatic crown stapler.  Which one is for you depends on your use.  The AL only comes in one size, is non-adjustable and has no built in safety.  The NK has a press safety, drive pin and nose sets are available in 4 different sizes, and it has a depth of drive setting feature.  $55 and $350 respectively for the AL and NK.  I like and own both versions.  The AL size is approximately the same as NK's V20-40, their smallest size. 

I do find that the NK is worlds better when working from the front of the board and driving through.  The AL version doesn't extend the drive pin much more than 1/4" past the tip, whereas the NK can be set for .1", .41", .87" and drive sets can be custom ordered with more than an inch of travel.  To use an example, deconstructing pallets is a very common task for both of these units.  With the AL, I find the best approach is to pry the pallets apart and then kick the nails out of the boards.  With the NK, you can set the depth of drive to it's maximum and the kicker will push the nail head and all through the planking.  This does render the stringers less useful, as they become full of nails.  Nobody I know that reclaims pallets uses the stringers for anything but firewood, so it's a moot point to me. 

Offline Thunderchyld

  • Posts: 93
Re: Reclaimed Bowling Alley Floor Source?
« Reply #18 on: January 11, 2016, 11:51 AM »
Thinking about the connected trapezoid design, what's the angle of the join?  Would a completed circle desk made in the same style be a hexagon, an octagon, or something else?  If the desk is an octagon(my choice for simplicity), the miters would be cut at 22.5 degrees.  What I would do would be to get(probably make, long pieces are flippin expensive) one piece of butcher block top big enough for all three pieces.  Two oppsite-angle cuts with the T75, rotate the center section, and voila!


I tried to draw an example, no photoshop on this comp and F* paint.  Went out to the garage and tossed a scrap on the miter saw.  Probably spent less time, lol.




Offline ear3

  • Posts: 3885
Re: Reclaimed Bowling Alley Floor Source?
« Reply #19 on: January 11, 2016, 09:24 PM »
@Thunderchyld Here's a pic of the console.  The angles are not nearly as sharp as an octagon:

236390-0

236392-1

Theoretically I could do 4 pieces rather than 3 -- you'll see that the section in the middle is actually a pentagon, as the back edge is a straight line.  The length at the top end is 108" and the max width/depth is 33", so I would be hard pressed to make it out of a single butcher block, as opposed to two.
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