Bowling Alley Sideboard With Wine Storage




Here's how to take some pieces of old bowling alley and turn them into some beautiful furniture. These bowling alleys are usually made out of hard maple and can be used for just about anything.


Step 1: Prep the Bowling Alley

The blocks that I found on craigslist were covered in carpet glue. The first thing I did was scrape off all the glue using a scraper. The next hurdle were all the nails keeping the boards together. Using nail pullers, pull all the nails and separate all the boards. Next, clean all the boards up with a cabinet scraper or chisel.

Now you can line up all the boards and shape them into your piece of furniture.

Step 2: Glue Up the Butcher Block

Glue the boards back together and use lots of clamps. When you're done, you can run them through a planer and get them smooth. Then just cut your pieces to length.

Make sure to have a cute puppy inspect your work when done.

Step 3: Assemble the Legs and Table Top

Notch out the top with a router to fit the legs. Do a lot of test fitting to get everything just right.

Next drill holes in all the parts to accept 1/2" dowels.

Step 4: Make the Carcass

Cut all your pieces out of maple plywood. Use maple strips to put a nice edge on the plywood. Use a router to cut dados for extra strength in the carcass. Use threaded inserts and some bolts to give a lot of strength.

Step 5: Drawer

Use a router to make the shown dados to make a simple strong drawer. Follow the directions that come with your drawer slides.

Step 6: Wine Storage!

Measure your opening and divide it up to fit the size wine bottles that you want. The wine glass holders are made with a router and a bevel bit. Then they are glued to another strip of poplar. As you can see they hold a glass quite nicely.

Step 7: Doors

The doors and drawer fronts are made with maple plywood and then are faced with some maple. The strips of maple are cut flush with a flush cut saw.

Make a sample of the door setup to get the placement just right. Then replicate your measurements on the real doors.

Step 8: Finish Finish Finish

I used:

One coat of Bullseye sealer mixed half and half with de-natured alcohol

4 coats of General Finishes Java Gel Stain

4 coats of shellac

3 coats of briwax

Sand between each coat for a nice finish

Step 9: Assemble

Take your time assembling and plan it out as this project weighted 250 lbs+. Putting it together upside down was the only option.

Step 10: Enjoy

Once assembled, fill with all wine bottles and glasses and enjoy!



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    14 Discussions


    3 years ago

    I also think if I were to build this I would replace the top with a stone top like marble. However, that is going to add even a tremendous amount of weight to this already heavy piece. Hence, I will stick to the few coats of wax like you have done and add an alternative like a clear waterproof sheet for additional protection against moisture.

    1 reply

    Reply 3 years ago

    Thanks for the comment. Post a picture when you're done!


    5 years ago on Introduction

    I want to say a couple of things. First it looks really great. Second is that for people looking to do this only the first 15feet and the last 4feet of a bowling alley are made of maple rest of the lane is made of pine, helps keep the cost down when they were made.

    3 replies

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction this project, the top is made of maple, and the legs are made from douglas fir.


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    The wood is so beautiful. I think I would of made a hutch out of the good stuff and a stone top, because you know people will be spilling and setting their glasses and bucket of ice on this and not using coasters.

    Also really heavy to move this thing....


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    I was worried about spills and drinks as well. That's why there are so many layers of finish on this project, including four or five coats of wax on the top.

    And yes, this is a heavy piece. I think it weights 300 lbs+. I've moved it once so far. I built it so that I could take it apart and move it in pieces.


    5 years ago on Introduction

    gorgeous! beautiful craftsmanship and great creative thinking. i love it!


    5 years ago

    it is a nice piece of craftsmanship, but I have to ask why the dark stain? you loose all the beautiful ribbons in the figuring of the maple with such a dark stain.

    1 reply

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    I agree with you, but my wife and I wanted to match the rest of our furniture in the house.


    5 years ago

    So good. I'll be stealing that idea for my house :-)