Finish for reclaimed bowling alley wood counter top

Old 04-23-16, 01:55 PM
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Finish for reclaimed bowling alley wood counter top

I have a section of reclaimed bowling alley (maple and pine) which I'd like to turn into a counter top. Does anyone have any experience with this?

I'm wondering if I'll need some sort of supports to keep it from sagging (it'll be approx 80" x 42"). Also, what type of finish is appropriate? I assume some sort of food grade finish, but I'm wondering what type of finish is used on the "bowling alley wood" tables I see in restaurants. It almost seems like a clear epoxy. Is that food safe?

Thanks in advance!
Old 04-23-16, 05:12 PM
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Is it a complete section or do you have the pieces that need to be laid back together? It will need supports under it every 16"-24"

Wood isn't generally used for kitchen countertops because food particles or whatever can get into the minute cracks between pieces of wood. I'd use an oil base poly.
Old 04-23-16, 06:45 PM
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Oil based poly is a good choice as long as you don't plan to cut right on it (use it as a cutting board). If you do intend to cut on it you should use an non-film forming finish, like a pure oil finish sold for cutting boards. That will have to be renewed frequently and only provides minimum protection for the wood. Cutting on a poly finish will cut right through the film, leaving marks and allowing water, etc, into the wood.

Whatever finish you decide on, test it on a scrap first. Bowling alleys are oiled and the oil residue may prevent many finishes from adhering well, especially if the oil contained any silicone. (Many do, but I'm not sure if that type is used on alleys.)

To be honest, I'd be a little concerned about chemical contamination in the wood from the oil and whatever cleaners were used on the alley. I've heard of folks using reclaimed alley wood as a workbench top; I'd be leery of using it where it may contact food.

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