Shuffleboard Workbench

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Forum topic by Pete posted 01-03-2020 11:01 PM 684 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Pete's profile


188 posts in 5049 days

01-03-2020 11:01 PM

Topic tags/keywords: workbench shuffleboard

I’ve always thought that a bowling lane would make a great workbench. I’ve got an opportunity to buy a shuffleboard table which seems like a good alternative.
Anybody have experience with this?

-- Measure with a micrometer, mark with a crayon, cut it with a chainsaw.

8 replies so far

View GaryCK's profile


134 posts in 1288 days

#1 posted 01-04-2020 01:19 AM

No direct experience, not a ton of knowledge so take this for what it’s worth. :-) I’d have two concerns, one of which should be easy to address. That one would be any coating on the surface. Bowling lanes are oiled. I’m not sure about shuffleboard tables. You’d want to get rid of any oil so it didn’t transfer to your work. No big deal there. The other concern is likely more significant. The table may not be thick enough to not flex in use as a workbench.

As with building a bench, you’d need to flatten the surface. I’d expect the shuffleboard table to be close to true flat, but you’d want to confirm.

-- Gary, Wisconsin

View Mike's profile


256 posts in 1938 days

#2 posted 01-05-2020 07:01 PM

Depends on what you want to do with your workbench. If you’re doing a lot of hand tool woodworking and need mass and strength, you could double up two layers of shuffleboard surface to make an excellent top. If you do light hand tool woodworking, assembly/ finishing, or flat-surface-to-put-stuff, a single layer would be fine.

A big consideration for both tops is the finish. You want workbenches to have a little bit of grip so your work doesn’t slide around. I’d recommend removing the shuffleboard finish (flattening it at the same time) and then either leave it bare or give it a coating of BLO.

Quick thought: if you want a showpiece workbench, then leave the shuffleboard finish. My bench is a worker, so I don’t mind if it gets cuts or gouges. You may want something nicer.

-- Reasoning will never make a Man correct an ill Opinion, which by Reasoning he never acquired. --Jonathan Swift (1721)

View therealSteveN's profile


8828 posts in 1813 days

#3 posted 01-05-2020 08:17 PM

I wouldn’t suggest a bowling alley. Most I have seen are thin strips laminated on top of each other with a ton of nails. Of the shuffleboard tables I have seen they were laminated boards on edge to form a thick top, usually glue only. But you should see it before buying.

-- Think safe, be safe

View Knockonit's profile


967 posts in 1441 days

#4 posted 01-05-2020 11:40 PM

unless you get the first 12 ft or so of a bowling lane, as its the only one that is hardwood, the balance is usually a eruopean larch, hard, but not as tough as maple. and correct in that they are nailed together, with a tongue and groove type joint, glued and nailed till put in press. but they are usually around 2inches thick, only issue would be drilling holes for stays, 50/50 chance of hitting a nail, on drilling
i have a few p;ieces that i am making patio tables out of, they are large and heavy, using metal angle iron and steel legs, works great for tables outside, but i live in Arizona, everything works outside most of the time. best of luck

Rj in az

-- Living the dream

View ArtMann's profile


1483 posts in 2055 days

#5 posted 01-05-2020 11:51 PM

I must disagree on one point having to do with using a bowling lane for a workbench top. The chances of hitting multiple hard tempered nails when you drill or saw the surface is 100%. That is what I actually observed building a workbench with a friend.

View Knockonit's profile


967 posts in 1441 days

#6 posted 01-05-2020 11:58 PM

probably depends on who and where made, cutting my 32 ft pieces for both width and length, only hit nails twice, luck of the draw i reckon, sometimes you hit the trifecta and other times you throw the tickets on the ground.

Rj in az

-- Living the dream

View mloy365's profile


448 posts in 4369 days

#7 posted 01-07-2020 09:22 PM

When i first started teaching wood shop, someone gave me a bunch of bowling lanes. After a couple of blades and a near miss of a nail flying at me, I decided it would it wasn’t worth the risk. That nail singing past my ear was the final straw.

-- Mike - Northern Upper Michigan

View sansoo22's profile


1748 posts in 893 days

#8 posted 01-07-2020 10:21 PM

The shuffle board table at the law office my brother works for could make 3 very nice benches. Its regulation size which i think is around 22 ft long and probably close to 4” thick. Its all laminated hardwood on edge and weighs a metric butt load. Took 8 of use to move that thing. The first thing that popped in my mind when I saw was “that top sure would make a nice hand tool bench”.

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