Frequently Asked Questions
Feel free to submit questions at the bottom of the page below and they may be added to the FAQ.
Click on the questions/comments below to see my response.
On mine, everything is exactly half the size of a regulation lane. The only exception is the length of the lane. I only had a total of 28 feet in my basement in which to work, so I didn't have enough room. To be truly half scale in length I would have needed almost 40 feet (Approach + lane + pit).
The pins are 6 inches apart and the lane surface is 21 inches wide (not including the gutters). A full-sized lane has pins 12 inches apart and the lane is between 41 and 42 inches.
I am using candlepin balls. I originally used a half-scale ball but it was too light and deflected off the pins too much. The candlepin ball works great and it's only 0.2" wider than exact half-scale.
It started as a dream. Then it started simple, and antique set of pins and balls on some plywood, etc. Then over time it eventually evolved into what it is now through lots of trial and error and love. :)
My lane is 20 feet long. My approach is 4 feet and I have just under 4 feet for the pit / back end.
From bottom to top: 2x10 cross bedding, 2x4 length and width bedding, mdf, and then the laminate lane surface. It's ridiculously strong and probably overkill but I like it. :)
I ended up laying them down. The bedding is very strong (using 2x10s), I found that the perfect height of the lane surface was just over 12" high. Laying the 2x4s down made it work out perfectly.
The pins are 7.5" tall. A regulation tenpin is 15" tall.
It only costs me the electricity to run the lights and the automatic scoring system. Probably a couple of dollars a month.
Whew! Where to begin? :) All of the lane materials used to build the lane can be bought from the big box stores. Lumber for the bedding, mdf, laminate, rubber strips, paint, lighting, carpet, etc. etc.
It started out as a simple table with pin-sized holes in it that lowered down to the lane where pins could then be loaded. Now it has evolved into a system where I can pre-load the pins and they get released onto the pindeck automatically when the table is lowered.
I have 2 black lights over the lane near the approach. And for the pins they have a dual system that uses either white fluorescent or black light. You can get them at any home improvement or big box store.
I have notes, design ideas, measurements, etc. but no official plans are available at this time.
I used a commercial-grade laminate from Pergo. It's called Atlantic Maple. I got it from Home Depot. It's a little more durable (25 year warranty) than entry-level laminate.
If you are going to build one then it all depends on how fancy you want to get. If you want to do it inexpensively you can use basic, cheaper materials and do it pretty inexpensively. Doing it that way you could probably do it under $500 plus a lot of blood and sweat. :) I love authenticity. I wanted my lane to look and feel as real as possible so I have more invested in mine.
Hmmm, a table saw, miter saw, circular saw, jig saw, some accurate squares and levels, paint / paintbrush, a good cordless drill. Some electrical knowledge helps if you are going to make a fancy masking unit, install lighting, etc. It helps to be good at measuring, woodworking, etc. And most of all, a love for what you are doing!
Hi Chuck, those are really tough to answer. My lane exolved over time so I spent a long time on it. Now I can build one in less than a week. I couldn't tell you what mine cost since I built, tore down, rebuilt, revised, re-revised, etc. :)
The gutters are about 5.5" wide. During testing this width worked the best as far as allowing balls ending up in the gutter to roll into the pit without any issues.
Actually, the ball reacts perfectly on the laminate surface. If you wanted a more oily surface you could always wipe on a little furniture polish. I do clean the lane with a microfiber cloth every week or so.
Definitely! Whenever people come over they can't wait to go down there and see it and play with it. Our family loves it. My middle daughter loves working in the pit more than she does bowling on it. I would love to get a weekly league going on it.
Not yet. I find that half-scale bowling is much tougher than regulation bowling, at least for me it is.
Lane is 20 feet long, approach is 4 feet, pit and back end are just under 4 feet. 2x10s are spaced 2 feet apart but I reinforced the approach and pit areas and also where the lane sections meet.
I don't see why not. I would if I had the room. If I did it I would probably splurge and get an actual synthetic lane surface. You would also have to make sure you use extra reinforcement where the balls will be impacting the lane.