I recently moved into my first house and was in need of a dining room table. I saw a picture of a table that used an old section of bowling lane for its top and decided that I'd like to build something similar for myself. With about 30 hours of work over a few months I was able to turn a tattered piece of wood into a beautiful, sturdy table that should never need replacement.
To find the lane section I did a Craigslist search for bowling lanes and happened to find a guy about 50 miles away from me that was selling lane sections that he procured during a demolition job he was hired for. I paid about $300 for an 8 foot section with the arrow inlays. The section was about 2.5" thick and weighed about 250 pounds.
I've included a .dxf file of the wooden leg parts in this Instructable so that anyone can build one if they'd like.
Step 1: Preparing the Lane
The first step in the process was to add support to the lane section to keep it from sagging. When the lanes are installed in the bowling alley they are built in place. The builders lay down long strips of maple and side nail them to the adjacent maple pieces. No glue is used in the entire process which means that once the lane is taken up from the floor it doesn't behave like a single slab of wood. All of the maple pieces are still tied together via the nails, but there is a certain amount of flex that the lane has. If not supported properly the lane will sag quite dramatically in the middle due to its weight. To add support to the lane I chose to inlay aluminum bars width-wise across the bottom of the table.
Using a hand router and a piece of metal to serve as a guide I routed out three pockets across the width of the table. I made the pockets 3/4" wide to accommodate the 5/8" aluminum square stock and made sure to make them a little deeper than necessary because I needed to sand the bottom down and didn't want the belt of the sander to touch the metal pieces.
With the pockets routed, I set out drilling out the aluminum bar stock. I spaced the holes so that each was on center with piece of maple. The goal was to tie all of the pieces of maple together using the bar so that the table won't sag in the future. When this was done I ran screws through each hole and into the bottom of the table.
This resulted in a sturdy top that shouldn't sag.