Picture of Creating a tabletop out of reclaimed bowling pins
One of my friends and his wife are avid bowlers, and he came to me with a question:

"I got a ton of bowling pins from an alley and I want to get a table made out of them, do you know how to do that?" 

My answer: "Not a clue, but I'll figure it out."

This is a step by step tutorial on how to build a similar table using reclaimed bowling pins - I think it came out fairly nice!
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Step 1: Get bowling pins

Picture of Get bowling pins
Pretty self-explanatory.

Step 2: Cut your seams into the bowling pins

Picture of Cut your seams into the bowling pins
I've seen a few methods for plastic removal on this site before, but I decided to take a new approach. 

You will need: 

-GOGGLES (trust me - the acrylic shield didn't happen just because it looks cool.)
-A Dremel Multitool
-Pair of pliers
-Some scrap acryclic
-3/8" saw blade attachment for Dremel

I recommend drawing a black line on the seam of the pin to guide you as you work w/ the blade.

I found that working from left to right would burn the plastic, and moving from right to left would gather the melting plastic on the blade. You can then pull the plastic off of the saw blade with pliers or a multitool. Let that plastic build up too long and you will start flinging molten pin plastic all over your work space.  

Step 3: More pics.

Picture of More pics.

Step 4: Remove the plastic

Picture of Remove the plastic
After scoring the plastic with a razor knife (please cut AWAY from your body!) you can take your pliers and pull the plastic off in small sections.

Step 5: Cut bowling pins in half, lengthwise

Picture of Cut bowling pins in half, lengthwise
I used a fine toothed sawblade on a compound miter saw, but switched to a ripping blade for subsequent cuts due to burning the wood while cutting these pins in half. Also, PLAN YOUR CUTS! I lost 2 full pins because I didn't plan well when starting the cut and they came out crooked.  It got to be REALLY frustrating having to start all over from the plastic peeling stage.
cglaw20131 year ago
nice one
heathalou1 year ago
Awesome! We have a handful of the small vintage wooden bowling pins that would make a neat end table....wonder if I could talk my husband in to letting me use them for a project like this...
MaskMarvl2 years ago
First of all... Nice table, well done. :)

Second... It would be much easier to view your instructable if you edit and remove all the pictures from each step that are NOT related to that step. :)

Third... Wouldn't it be easier to just cut the pins in half FIRST then remove the plastic from each half?
BrentGarrison (author)  MaskMarvl2 years ago
Thanks for the feedback! It's my first project on here, so I'll take any advice I can get!

I thought about sawing the pins with the plastic on, but decided against it. The heat generated from sawing might cause the plastic to stick to the saw blade. It'd be much harder to remove the molten plastic from a full size circular blade.
Having done it myself in the past with both a table and band saw I can tell you the blades don't build plastic much but getting it off the pin is still a major pain. I found little metal rings at the base of the ones I cut so pre stripping, at least from the base, remains a good idea. I like the modern painted look. Nice work.
itobor25252 years ago
Awesome! I hope that I can scrounge up some pins for such a project. Kudos and thanks for sharing the fruits of your labor.
BrentGarrison (author) 2 years ago
Prof., thanks for looking that up! I was curious myself.
Do you know why there are all those voids and spaces in the center of the pins? Were they like that when you cut them open? I would have expected a solid core.

cool project by the way.
Well I just looked it up, and apparently the holes and voids are included to keep the weight and center of gravity consistent between pins, since they might be using wood of slightly different density in each batch of pins.
Wow! This came out really cool, I never knew what was inside pins! Thanks!
BrentGarrison (author)  audreyobscura2 years ago
Thank you! As far as I know, the material they use is laminated hard rock maple.