Knocking down all the pins
January 14, 2005 9:25 AM   Subscribe

BowlingFilter: Does anyone know how to best dismantle a bowling alley? [MI]

A friend is considering buying a bowling alley and moving it from one state to another. The catch is that the building the bowling alley is in is set to be demolished next week.

Time being of the essence, he's looking for advice on how to best dismantle the lanes and move everything to it's new home.

I googled for awhile, but this appears to be a bit too esoteric for a pre-existing webpage. Any help is greatly appreciated. Thanks!
posted by petebest to Work & Money (14 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
The hardest part will be dealing with the wood flooring - it is probably mechanically (nails) attached to the subfloor at best, or worst, adheased to a subfloor. Getting that up without damaging the wood floor will be a pain and would take more than a week. And if the wood strips are adhesed onto a subfloor your chances of getting a majority of the floor up without destroying it is not great. Also, taking the time to properly mark the locations of the wood strips and organizing them sounds like a whole lot of work with not a lot of return on your time. Maybe just take up enough of the wood flooring to do something cool with it at the new bowling alley would be worth your time. That is what saws-alls are for.

If all he wants are the ball returns, scoring table, any nice furniture, and any odds and ends so he can make his new/old bowling alley retro (or lived in), that would be easier because those are probably just screwed in. My suggestion would be to try to get the ball returns/scoring table and furniture first, and then the pin surrounds (if they look cool), and then (if there is time) the wood flooring, and then finally the ball return machinery (behind the lanes) themselves. That way the most important objects are saved and the more easily replaced items (wood flooring and ball return machinery) are scrapped.

I would also suggest to your friend to highly negotiate with the current owners rights to the items inside because, more often than naught, contractors just go in and grab whatever they want from demo projects and reuse them and sell them. You are doing the owner's a favour by reducing the time and cost of the demo.
posted by plemeljr at 10:01 AM on January 14, 2005 [1 favorite]

good advice I'll pass his way, thanks plemeljr!
posted by petebest at 10:11 AM on January 14, 2005

I actually bought a slab of a bowling lane years ago to use for woodworking (it was really nice maple). It appeared as though the wood was not attached to the subfloor, but was rather somehow suspended above it along its sides. The slats that comprised the lane were flexibly attached to eachother by some sort of metal wiring or staple type things. I guess this is what allowed it to flex when hit by violently-thrown balls.
posted by shoos at 10:13 AM on January 14, 2005

He could try calling a bowling alley company, one that sells the lanes, equipment, etc. and ask them for names of contractors that he could speak too. If he wants to do the work himself, he could offer to pay a consulting fee if they balk at giving too much info. over the phone for free...
posted by blackkar at 10:23 AM on January 14, 2005

I dimly remember reading that the lanes themselves are difficut to get apart, due to the frequent use of such fasteners as spiral-cut nails. Haven't done it myself, but the question gets asked on rec.woodworking from time to time.
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 10:35 AM on January 14, 2005

Hell. I was going to suggest having it blown up by Hollywood, but that wouldn't let him re-use it. Coulda held a Metafilter party for the event...
posted by five fresh fish at 10:54 AM on January 14, 2005

Maybe there's a kind soul over at AMF who would give you some advice. It never hurts to ask, and bowling isn't exactly a hot topic these days (is it?), so you're most likely not the 10th person today calling about moving a bowling alley.
posted by Jack Karaoke at 11:18 AM on January 14, 2005

Thanks all (well, maybe except spicynuts) - I'll see how far we get in the great bowling exodus. . .
posted by petebest at 1:41 PM on January 14, 2005

petebest, my dad actually owns a bowling alley, and I have to work there tonight. I'll ask him the best way to dismantle a bowling alley and get back to you on what he suggests.
posted by jodic at 1:47 PM on January 14, 2005

While we wait for jodic to get back from work, let me offer this Bowling Center Planning Guide, which has some specifics on alley construction.
posted by Otis at 2:18 PM on January 14, 2005

Okay petebest, I called my dad and he wanted to know if the ball returns were above ground or below ground, if there was a bumper system, was he taking the approaches, and how many lanes. I guess it matters too if it's AMF or Brunswick.

He suggested that your friend call a local bowling alley repairman for advice, because they could probably go into the building and see the lane set-up, and offer some good advice and suggestions on relocating the lanes, machines, etc.
posted by jodic at 2:31 PM on January 14, 2005

AskMetaFilter never ceases to amaze me!

Someone asks how to dismantle a bowling alley and gets a perfect and articulate response within a half-hour.

Does this not impress anyone else? ^_^

posted by themadjuggler at 6:35 PM on January 14, 2005 [1 favorite]

Thanks everyone!
posted by petebest at 2:43 PM on January 17, 2005

petebest - now you will have to tell us how everything turned out?
posted by plemeljr at 1:52 PM on January 18, 2005

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