Hardwood flooring

In its August 2007 review of flooring, Consumer Reports said this about solid wood flooring: "But ... all tend to dent."
In the rating table, they state that prefinished solid wood was "mostly oak, typically nailed to a subfloor, and all were 3/4" thick."
Red oak has a Janka hardness rating of 1290; for white oak, it's 1360. Hard maple, rated at 1450, is only about 9% higher than average of the two oaks.
So why can bowling alleys, typically constructed of maple, withstand at the approach end the extreme abuse of dropped 14-16-pound balls so well while CR claims that all solid wood flooring tend to dent (even under the relatively less severe conditions in a typical household)? Thickness can't be the answer, because dents are surface phenomena. I can't imaging thickness greater than 1/2" inch being any more dent-resistant.
As an aside, the report also said engineered wood "dents easily." This makes some sense; if you put a thin hardwood veneer over a relatively soft under layer (as an absurd example, balsa wood), the veneer won't have any support.
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Well, bowling alleys are 2 1/2" thick at the business end only, so obviously there's some added dent resistance by having thicker wood or they wouldn't go to the expense.
Bowling alleys also have a ridiculously thick layer of urethane on top (and maybe polyester). Probably a good 1/4" of it, if not more. At that thickness, it's going to be able to absorb some energy. I don't know exactly how often bowling alleys refinish their lanes, but I know it's very often - you see those machines going down the lanes every once in a while stripping the top layer and putting a new one on.
I also think that if you got the front end of a bowling lane in your house and really looked at it, it would look pretty dinged up. You don't see these things at the alley because the lighting is poor and anyway, it's a bowling alley, not your house. As soon as that wood was yours, you'd see how marked up it is.
Anyway, I have a bamboo floor in one room of my house and the hardness rating is something like 1890. It'll still dent. (A window installer dropped his pry bar on it once, and yes, it left a little dent.) So any wood is gonna dent too.
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I bought some bowling alley 'wood' on eBay from a chap in Indiana a few days ago. It's about as far from the forest as anything I've seen. It makes Pergo look like some kind of cardboard by comparison. The stuff is a tough plastic laminate lithographed like maple on both sides. The surfaces are an optical flat. As for as dents, there were none. The material was used, and while one side had a high gloss finish the other side was more like semi-gloss. The substrate was a composite as hard as anything I've seen in a fabrication laminate. I hope I can find some more of it to make a great big router table out of. I think that answers the question of why bowling balls don't get the alleys all dented up these days. They sure did suffer, though, back when I was a kid. HTH
Joe
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Supposedly some alleys have switched to this stuff, but some (most?) do still use real maple.
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