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My Intro / Lane Construction to begin very shortly!!!

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  • My Intro / Lane Construction to begin very shortly!!!

    Hi guys- My name is Tim. I live in the Chicago suburbs and am somewhat new to Bowltech. I have enjoyed reading your guys posts and advice and am so thrilled that you guys (especially Chad and Steve) are open about your lane construction to help us "less than" handy people with our dream of constructing a small scale lane. I have enjoyed reading your posts, checking out your photos, and watching your Youtube videos. So up until now, I have been spying on you guys and using your expertise to design and begin construction on my own small scale lane. Over the next few weeks I hope to turn my dream into a reality. My plans include a very similar construction method to what I have seen from Steve and Chad's lanes. My plans, due to mobility requirements (needs to be modular and able to be stored in raised crawl space) and space restraint (I only have a maximum of 19-20 feet to work with including approach and pit area) include a total lane length of 15 feet (5- 3ft sections) plus a little over a foot for pit area. Since it will be stored in a raised crawl space, I need the sections to be light enough to lift about 3 feet off the ground, hence the 5- 3ft sections. I am asking for any advice to help me along in the process. As it stands, my design is to use a 2x4 base attached to 2x6's (outside gutter walls) then use 1x4's layed down with plywood (1/2-3/4") and laminate wood lane. Then, beneath the 2x4 base I will use 4x4 post legs to elevate the lane to approximately 12-13" off the ground. On the bottom of the 4x4 legs, I plan to use removable casters for mobility in the crawl space as well as leveling feet when the lane is in use. The few questions that I have are; 1. Has anyone seen a modular lane near these specs, and if so, did it work out okay? 2. Should the laminate I use be cut flush on either side to allow a flush, level lane? Or should I leave the "snap together" ends on and re-attach the "snaps" each time? 3. I plan to attach the sections together with a removable-pin door hinge, I figure that will be the most durable and reliable way to keep the sections flush (along with the leveling feet which can be adjusted) unless anyone has a better suggestion? 4. Will 2" be deep enough to allow a gutter ball to remain in the gutter for the full length of the lane to the pit? 5. Anyone use anything for a gutter bumper for kids? I was thinking some hard plastic circle gutters? Thanks in advance for your input, and wish me luck as I tackle this project over the next few weeks. I will be back with pictures and hopefully videos as the project moves along. And for Compy, if you read this, I would be glad to help you test and evaluate your Openscore system once my lane is operational! I am looking forward to my project and keeping in touch with you guys, the other ones that have a passion for this same hobby! Thanks guys.

    Respectfully,
    Tim

  • #2
    Hi Tim, I too needed to plan my lane with mobility in mind. It's going to reside in my backyard and stored under plastic during wet weather. I used 4x4 posts as the legs for my modular sections, and it's working out nicely. Take a look at the photos in my post from a few days ago. I'm planning on using door hinges to join my sections together as well, but I haven't mounted them yet -- I'm going to wait til I have each section totally complete, then I'll get everything level and mount the hinges. I went with three 7-foot sections as that was the salvageable length of the used lane panels I have. Also I didn't want to have too many sections to have to line up. The one thing that comes to mind with your five 3-foot sections is that leveling and alignment will be even more critical from one section to the next because the sections are short. If you could do three 5-foot sections and keep things light enough to move into storage, or even two 7 1/2-foot sections, I'd recommend trying to make that work. With my three sections just temporarily set up on my not-so-level patio deck, things are level enough that I could probably be lazy about getting around to leveling things and no one would care.

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    • #3
      Hi Guys, I also am in a situation pretty much the same as Tim, I just bought a new house, I have a 24x24 garage with a 24x24 crawl space beside it, Im torn between going with a built in lane or going with an idea like Tims and storing it in the extra space when not in use. Love the idea of being able to come apart in pieces to make things easy to move and easy to set up. The only down side is it would be very hard to set up the cool features like the auto scoring ect when its made to be torn apart. Also torn between making it a 10 pin lane or mini Candle pin.

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      • #4
        Thanks for the input Dberber, I wish I was able to make the sections larger, but I don't think it will be possible or practical. I hope that one day when I have a larger basement, I can put in a much larger lane, and as a permanant structure. Until then I'm stuck with the challenge of building the smaller sectioned lane. I only hope that I and my family and friends will have fun with it and that I can construct it to a level that is close to the lanes I've seen here. On top of the hinges, I am going to try to add to my design where there will be some type of "shelf" under the lane construction to keep the lane very level with no spaces between the sections. I have a feeling it will be a trial and error process. Any additional ideas or input will be greatly appreciated, and I will continue to monitor your progress. Thanks again

        Moosehead, congratulations on the new house, and good luck in your future lane project. Please let me know how your project progresses, so that we can learn from each others errors as the lanes are built. Living in Chicago area my whole life, I don't know much about candlepin bowling. I have read a lot about it, but have never played it. Since that's the case, I am a big fan of 10-pin bowling, and from what I have seen in photos and videos, these small scale lanes are extremely lifelike in pin action etc.

        Thanks for the replies guys, and I will keep posting!

        Tim

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        • #5
          Thanks Tim, Candlepin is pretty much all I have ever known, we had a 10 pin alley here for a few years and bowled it 4 or 5 times but it closed up about 10 years ago. The thing I like about building a scale candle pin lane is that I dont have to worry about cleaning the deadwood, and I dont have to worry about the pin being right side up if I get into building a pinsetter someday. The problem is getting the mini pins. Eaither way looking forward to having a lane to have a good time with.

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          • #6
            Happy to announce that my lane construction has begun. I have the basic frame for two sections. They are very close to being completely level, and seem to connect very well. I have two more sections to start, plus the "last" section to include an additional 3 feet of lane and the pit area. Getting started feels really great, and I am confident that my final product will be up to my standards. Please let me know if you have any comments or ideas for my lane as it progresses. Good luck to all those that are still in the construction stage! Take care everyone!

            Tim

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            • #7
              Nice job so far. Any particular reason why you did the two bolts on one side all the way down the side boards? It looks like you have a slight arc. I am guessing that you plan on the weight of your lane surface evening that out?

              What kind of feet are on the bottom of your 4x4s? Also, what do you plan to do for your lane surface since its in sections? Laminate on small sections could be a hassle.

              Awesome job so far, and congrats on getting started! Keep us posted! Pictures are always great!

              Jimmy

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              • #8
                Thanks Jimmy. The sections are not yet complete, and there will be more screws in place shortly to secure the sideboards. On the bottom of the 4x4's I have put small leveling feet which can adjust depending on how level or not the surface that the lane sits on will be (my basement floor is a concrete slab and not perfectly even everywhere, hence the leveling feet). My initial plans were to secure laminate to a thick plywood and then cut the sections to size, however my new plans are to use a Birch or Oak hardwood ply (1/2 or 3/4) for the lane surface. The end of each piece would be sanded to an angle so that each section would create a lip for the next to sit completely flush (hard to describe). The hardwood plywood would be stained and then polyurethaned with multiple coats once secured in place. In fact I plan to sand and stain the entire unit upon completion so that it will have a dark and deep wood finish to it. I have a few calls and emails into the owner of a local bowling alley and am hoping to get used pin curtains (if not I have a thick floormat to use), used pin deck, and possibly side boards so we will see, keep your fingers crossed for me! I'm hoping that the hardwood ply that I plan on buying, staining, and poly'ing will be strong enough to support my play. As far as the arc that you notice in the photos, I plan to use shim's to adjust for leveling the lane itself from one section to the next. Based on this, do you have any other suggestions, or do you see any problems with the plan I have so far? Thanks again for the input and good luck wishes. Take care all!

                Tim

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                • #9
                  Ahh, I gotcha. I think I am going to tinker with cutting a 4x8 sheet of hardwood ply and laying it across my sections and letting them line up in a similar fashion. I was thinking of potentially doing 45 degree angle cuts on the end so they just slide right up to eachother, or even using a lip router bit. I like the idea of coating the hardwood since it wouldn't be feasible to have a floating laminate floor on such small sections. I am curious to see with the lightness of the hardwood how the coating process darkens it. If I can get enough of the "authentic" feel out of it, I imagine I'll do the same!

                  I hope you can score the old bowling supplies! It's been hectic trying to get some from people out in my area... sucks. They're all brunswick zone centers, so I guess they trade supplies.

                  So far, I don't see any issues with your projected path. The leg levelers are a must, so it sounds like you've taken the time to think some of it through before pulling out the powertools!



                  P.S. it's cool to see 'OpenScore' popping up in you guys' scoring systems profile fields... kudos for doing that The support is always appreciated and noticed!

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                  • #10
                    Great start, looks very sturdy!

                    I used a $10 black door mat from Home Depot for my curtain. Seems to be doing the job nicely so far.

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                    • #11
                      Thanks guys. Dberber, I have also purchased a cheap, heavy duty floormat as my pin curtain, which I think I will end up using since it is small, light, and practical. I do however hope to get a pindeck and maybe some side panels from the bowling alley, have to wait til wednesday or thursday to find out what is available there. Jimmy, I know you live far away, but if you are willing to pay shipping and if I get a good deal, I'll let you know the price of the items available. Also glad to hear that you are thinking about trying the hardwood plywood option too, so at least I know I'm not crazy I think it will work, and now that the idea of staining the entire unit to appear like a dark wood, even my wife seems excited (she was on board with the project, but didn't show much excitement about it til we talked about stain instead of paint). I will keep you posted, I hope to buy the hardwood plywood this week or weekend and get started on it. I am going to get the majority of the four sections I have now done before I tackle the final section with pit area. I do have a design for it and have most of the supplies to build it, but I want to leave that for last...I still have to hear back about possible pin deck, curtain and other used equipment plus once it is finished I think I will want to get it attched and start bowling!!!

                      Anyways, I doubled my production today after work, I have attached two more photos. No change really, just have 4 sections framed instead of 2. Thanks guys again for the ideas and inspiration. Hope to have more soon, to include the lane surface (leveled with shims and tacked on) and hopefully some used equipment. Jimmy, I'll let you know what I find out from the alley. I'm excited to begin some testing of your OpenScore system as well. I have some computer knowledge/experience, but not much with programming or webcams, but I will try to help once I'm up and running!

                      Tim

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                      • #12
                        What is the total height of your lane surface before you place the plywood on the bases? So you used 4x4 legs, 2x4 for the cross support and 2x6 for the length of each section. Where did you get your leg levelers at?
                        David

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                        • #13
                          I think the height of the lane support (2x6's) layed down is around 11 or 11 1/2 inches right now. 2x6 on the sides, 2x4 cross beams, 2x6 layed down for lane support, and 4x4 legs. The adjustable leg feet were purchased at home depot (4-pack) for only a few bucks. Had to drill holes, hammer in the plastic piece and then screw in the feet which are adjustable to about 2 inches up or down. I was going to also use removable casters for the legs for easy mobility, but so far the sections are light enough for one person to lift with minimal stress, so I think I'll return the casters I bought. We will see what kind of weight the hardwood plywood surface adds to the sections. I plan to use a 1/2 - 3/4 inch plywood so total lane height should reach 12 - 12 1/2 depending on how many shims I need for lane surface leveling. I am excited to get the surface pieces, but I plan to wait another day or two at least to see what kind of equipment the alley near me has to offer (in case they have cheap used lanes that I can use and cut to size instead of the plywood). More updates to follow in the near future

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                          • #14
                            Another picture, this time with the newly acquired 1/2" thick Oak hardwood plywood panels, which are going to be my lane surface. I have enough to do the first 12 feet of lane for now, see how it goes. Cutting to size and laying it on the lanes sure was nice. I cut it about an inch long to allow for some sanding to 45-degrees or so to allow a nice flush attachment. The plywood seems extremely hard and durable and I'm hoping it will resist chipping and scratching once it is polyuerathaned and (possibly) stained. I laid the panels out and was very lucky...they are within probably an eighth of an inch off level in the worst spot, so I don't think I'll have much trouble using the shims and getting it attached soon! Still waiting to hear about the pindeck, but heard today that no lane sections were available, hence the decision to go with the hardwood ply for sure. Later guys...Until next time....

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                            • #15
                              Looking good Tim! Keep the updates coming.
                              www.BasementBowling.com

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