All Replies on Bowling Lane Table and planning for wood movement

  • Advertise with us
View Matt's profile

Bowling Lane Table and planning for wood movement

by Matt
posted 02-15-2017 05:20 PM

4 replies so far

View Lazyman's profile


5973 posts in 2308 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


1829 posts in 1508 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.


-- The hump with the stump and the pump!

View MerylL's profile


73 posts in 2291 days

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


View Matt's profile


2 posts in 1412 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…

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics