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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Had a guy this week end contact me and wanted to know if I wanted what he had:

6 -- 2 1/2 x 4' x 16' and 2 -- 2 1/2 x 4' x 9' pieces that came out of an old bowling ally that was being torn down. He said he was going to make tables and stuff out of it but couldn't even cut it with a regular saw.

My question to you wood people ----- what kind of wood would these be made from (he said it was from TN), is it worth anything, and what would it be good for. He thought that it might be good for CNC carving. I have no idea.

If anybody wants his number - it is just north of Detroit, MI.
 

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As Vince opined, most likely Hard Maple. Excellent work surface.
 
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Frank
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John,

Many years ago a local bowling was replacing all 10 lanes. I had the opportunity to help haul them away. The lanes are 60’ long. They were cut into approximately 10’ lengths by 2” thick. I cannot remember for sure how many people it took to haul them out, but there were several. I kept 4 10’ lengths. I made three work bench tops, one which is 4’x8’ mobile bench on casters. The last piece was used for a built in desk in my basement. It weighs approximately 100 pounds.

Each section is composed of laminated maple boards connected by nails. I used an old circular saw and old blades to cut. Very hard on blade and bearings on saw. Once cut I drilled through the 2” thick side to run all thread though and bolt together. I had a drill bit about 28” long made. Believe it or not all holes were drilled from both sides and I hit all of them! They make excellent bench tops once the threaded bolts were attached.

Frank
 

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I agree 100% with Frank. If they're in good shape, they make outstanding benchtops. Just be sure to use a HD demolition blade when you cut it because the old maple is hard and the nails are unforgiving. Good luck with it!
 

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Frank; why did you use "old" blades? Personally I'd have opted for a new, razor sharp, 24tooth thin-kerf Carbide...anything to reduce the friction! If the bearings were wonky, I wouldn't blame the Maple; the same basic saw design should be able to cut concrete with a diamond blade.
If anything would harm the bearings, forcing a dull blade through a dense material, creating heat, should do it.
 

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Hard maple and southern yellow pine make up a good portion of older lanes. Some even split the difference with HM for the first 10-15 feet then pine the rest of the way.

The hard maple demands a premium price.. SYP will fetch a pretty penny as well. If a solid bench top is what you want, you can't go wrong with old bowling alley's.
 

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Frank
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Dan,

Because of the new number of nails, you would quickly make a new blade “old”. If I remember correctly I made several passes as the wood is @ 2” thick. I then added a border to cover the edges. I can post pictures if necessary.

Frank
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
You trying to tell me I ought not try to do any 3d carving with a CNC on something like this??
 
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John, Harbor freight sells a wand type metal detector that works really well for finding metal in wood. Even if you made benchtops from it, you could prevent hitting them when drilling dog holes. I find it hard to believe that they are nailed...but it is what it is. I always thought Bowling alleys were pre made in a factory, in sections, then shipped to the site for assembly, then leveled and machined on site.
 

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Harbor Freight sells a pretty good 7 1/2" carbide metal cutting blade that will cut wood too. My son and I buy them for cutting up to 1" thick steel plate and aluminum for his welding business. Use a straight edge guide to keep the blade from binding in the cut and it should cut these bowling alley lanes quite well, but the nails used in assembling bowling alleys are very hard, so don't expect the blade to last more than a few cuts. Yes, they will make great workbench tops, but wrap a trim board around them so you don't catch your skin or clothing on the sharp nail ends. There are a lot of nails in bowling alleys. Trying to dis-assemble them to save the wood will be a total waste of time.

Charley
 

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That is hard, read that real hard, maple. Get a piece and take off before they change their minds.
My father helped develop the Brunswick automatic pin spotter in the mid 50s. He got a piece of the bowling lane when the project was done. Weighed a ton and he said it was a #$&* to cut (his words). His group was always kidded that they got paid to bowl for 8 hours a day.
 

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Yeah, likely maple. Wish I could come across a find like that. Not sure off-hand what I'd use it for, but I definitely would find some use for it, even if it wound up being just selling or trading it. But I'm sure, very sure, I would find one or two uses for at least part of it. If you don't want it, ship it down here.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Yeah, likely maple. Wish I could come across a find like that. Not sure off-hand what I'd use it for, but I definitely would find some use for it, even if it wound up being just selling or trading it. But I'm sure, very sure, I would find one or two uses for at least part of it. If you don't want it, ship it down here.

Make a trip home, Theo, and take them back. Don't think I have any use for them.
 

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Make a trip home, Theo, and take them back. Don't think I have any use for them.
Ha. With good fortune I will never have to make a trip to Michigan again. My mother was absolutely convinced I wanted to move back there after I retired from the Army. Well, I'm still here. Still, for goodies like that, I am tempted.
 

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Theo
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You want his # Theo??
Thanks, but no thanks. You can just ship it to me. >:) If I were you, I'd grab all I could and keep it until I figured out what I wanted to make out of it. Should make some great coffee tables for one thing. Even cutting boards.
 
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