How did I end up with a bowling lane in the living room?
Well, let’s back up a bit. Originally I planned to butcher block the kitchen island in the Pittsburgh house. I measured the existing granite and it was close to 3’x6’.
I started searching Facebook marketplace for a 3×6 piece of butcher block. Somewhere along the way reclaimed bowling lanes came up and I loved the idea so much!!!
I read a bunch of blogs and discovered that Home Town S1 E1 used a bowling lane on an island. The process wasn’t really explained but that told me it could be done!!
I found a alley lanes an hour from my house. The seller cut it for me to a 3×6 foot section. I measured my Honda Pilot and cargo fits up to 7’ with all the seats down. We were GOLDEN.
Alley lanes are 2-2.5 inches thick and quite heavy. I estimate that my piece weighs 100 pounds or so. My lane is from Washington, PA circa 1959. How cool is that???
3.5 hours later in travel time I had my alley. I paid $120 which is dirt cheap per linear foot per my Marketplace sources.
I busted out my electric palm sander and stripped a pad bare in no time.
I have a ryobi palm sander that’s easier to use. You can also buy precut sanding pads to Velcro to the base making it a breeze! My Amazon affiliate link for this sander is https://amzn.to/3inBNTc.
After sanding I scrubbed the boards with Murphy’s Oil Soap.
You can see the gorgeous grain coming through.
After only one hit with the sander you can see the original nail holes and it was significantly smoother.
Using wood plugs and wood glue I filled the large holes on the lane surface where pin markers were removed. I whacked them with a hammer then added wood filler.
I purchased a flexible double sided saw to make sure the wood plugs were flush. It was very easy to use and inexpensive at Lowe’s.
The wood filler takes 2-6 hours to dry. This photo shows how the wood filler appears after filling the holes. I did not fill between boards as I want to keep it authentic.
Once everything was flush, filled and sanded the lane was really for a sealer. I did use a tiny paint brush and added Golden Oak stain to all the wood plugs and filler to blend them better.
There was one pesky metal mail sticking out. Each board is nailed to the next and the person who separated the alley did a great job of keeping except this one remained.
Busted out my angle grinder and let the sparks fly!!! Nail is gone baby gone. I used the angle grinder to cut granite in the old house and it’s handy for cutting nails. Here’s my amazon affiliate link for this tool https://amzn.to/3D0vTPT
I applied only ONE thin coat per day of Helmsman Spar Urethane using a China bristle brush. My link for the sealer https://amzn.to/3zTrfkD and here’s the link for the brush https://amzn.to/2Y7TVtE.
After discussing this with the paint specialist at Ace Hardware I decided I will not stand between coats or use steel wool because by doing so I run the risk of trapping debris between the layers.
Each day I gave it a swipe with a clean microfiber cloth then used my leaf blower at 110 mph before applying the next coat.
**Stir the sealer well each time and never shake the can or you will get bubbles.
Bowling alley lanes are shiny so I chose a glossy sealer to keep my lane authentic.
I applied 5 coats of sealer over 5 days.
I enlisted help to flip the alley over. I bought 3 flat steel rods to attach to the middle and ends. I used a metal drill bit to predrill holes then attached the rod to the wood.
Alleys are flexible and only nailed together. Over time the table top would sag if not properly reinforced.
I had been hunting legs and fell in love with these. They are made of steel and can support up to 2,000 pounds so I’m more than covered. The price wasn’t too bad either! If you are making a table these are amazing https://amzn.to/3AvGyQQ.
We carried the alley lane inside then I attached the legs.
She’s so shiny and gorgeous!!!! I just love how this project turned out🖤.
If you need a table give this a try! It’s a fun conversation piece and very sturdy. This one will last a lifetime.