Recycling Bowling Alleys Isn't Easy


Inhabitat shows a lovely coffee table made from a recycled bowling alley by designer/woodworker William Stranger. This is not an easy task; I worked with bowling alley floors many years ago, and it can be a challenge, because of the weight and the way they are made.

I was converting a building into housing, and the trades went to cut out the floor for stairwells. The blade instantly broke; underneath the VAT tile and plywood was a complete bowling alley, abandoned years before. I cut out eight sections for the stairs (the rest is still there under the flooring) and used them for kitchen counters and tables. This is the piece I gave to my father, who welded up a very strong base for it.


The amazing thing was that they are not glued together, but nailed. You can see here how the saw cut right through a nail. This meant that if it wasn't properly supported it would bend, the gaps would open and it would be pretty much ruined. I took a slab for my conference table and just threw it on sawhorses, and in three or four years it was in pieces. My father didn't kid around, fastened steel to the bottom and built a very solid frame. When my mom sold their place I moved it up to my cabin, AKA my sinful second home.


closeup of nail.

This was the next challenge; It weighs six hundred pounds. After taking it across the lake on a 14 foot boat I had to haul it up over the rocks and inside. Fortunately Greg Tanner, an engineer who builds oil refineries for Exxon-Mobil, is on the lake and took charge, setting up slings and organizing everyone helping, and we got it in. But as I said in the title, it isn't easy!

Books on the table for TreeHugger review last summer: Elizabeth Royte's Bottlemania, holding down the pages of Alastair Gordon's absolutely wonderful Spaced Out.