Some days are spent as a general contractor, building things like fences and decks, or remodeling spaces like bathrooms and kitchens. Some days are spent as a house-rehabber, taking on a variety of projects and accompanying challenges. Some days are spent building furniture, typically upon request from a client. And, sometimes, some days are spent searching for unique, or reclaimed, or salvaged, or just plain ol' cool materials to be used in future projects.
Several months ago, I came across a bowling alley in Pontoon Beach, IL that was being dismantled. I went over there and bought a chunk of the flooring used in one of the lanes, with the idea being to use the material, pretty much as-is, for a variety of table tops. In hindsight I wish I'd have purchased more of it; the lane slabs are 2" thick and made of tongue-and-groove pine, which is pretty difficult to come by outside of bowling alleys.
The logistics of moving the material, however, only allowed me to buy about 50 sq. ft. I had to have the demo guys cut the 15' strip of lane that I bought into 5' sections, each one weighing roughly 17,000 pounds, just to fit the things into my car. My car, while definitely fitting into the SUV category, was definitely NOT meant for transporting bowling alley lanes.
Getting the slabs from my car into my shop, which required both going up a flight of stairs as well as then going down a flight of stairs, was a whole different sort of nightmare. I got the full sections up the 1st flight of stairs, but in an effort to remain hernia-free, I cut them in half to get them down the 2nd flight. I ended up with 6 pieces, each one about 20" wide and 5' long.
As much as I wanted to use the slabs as-is, which is half the point of using reclaimed material, there were too many defects, holes and demolition scars for my liking, so I ended up sanding off the finish. With the finish sanded off and the surface relatively smooth, I went ahead and patched the holes with dutchmen, also known as butterflies or bowties.
Having patched the holes I did't want, I went ahead and made some holes that I did want. I figured that as a desk, this thing will probably see some action from devices that require power cords, or cords to charge things, so I drilled some appropriately sized holes. The top was then sanded thoroughly, and I started applying polyurethane, a process I have just about zero love for.
With the top on its way, I started to work on the frame and base for the desktop. What am I using for that, you might be asking yourself? Iron and steel. In my book, all that wood in the desktop requires some sort of contrasting base, so I got 15' of 2" steel angle for the frame, and a variety of 3/4" iron pipe with which to build the legs.
Given my lack of a grinder I had to cut the steel with a jigsaw, and given my lack of a welder I was going to have to attach the frame to the desktop with screws. All of this required a lot of test fitting, cutting and drilling, and after applying some primer and black paint, the rough base assembly and frame pieces looked about like this:
With all the parts and pieces painted, poly'd and cleaned up, Everything got assembled. The finished piece weighs upwards of 150 pounds, so if anybody wants to volunteer to help with delivery...