By Robert Barron, Staff Writer
Enid News & Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
Bowling pin furniture may not be the next big thing in home design, but at Oakwood Bowl, Sandy Tate likes it just fine.
Jim and Sandy Tate, owners of Oakwood Bowl, were following the advice of Jack Tate, the former owner, to invest money back into their business. Sandy saw an advertisement for bowling alley furniture with bowling pins on top. She asked her father, Bud Mast, of Eads, Colo., whether he could design the seats for the bowling alley. Mast, who operated a welding shop for 50 years, agreed to build them.
“Sandy has photos of it, some she found from the Netherlands, and she asked me if I could make something like it. And I said yes,” Mast said.
Mast began to think about the project, and using the pattern from the advertisement, he began to work, improvise and modify the design until he had something of his own. He took the furniture to a woman in Lamar, Colo., for upholstering and brought them to Enid in loads of seven until he had them all delivered.
Mast built 19 whole-design seats and two half-design seats for each end of the bowling alley. They are upholstered and the top are in the shape of a bowling pin and made of formica.
“It doesn’t look anything like the advertisement she had,” Mast said.
After he figured out how he wanted the pattern, Mast was able to make one in about 12 days. As he worked, the patterns became familiar, as if he had done them before.
Mast, 79, started working in his father’s blacksmith shop at age 13 and turned it into a commercial welding business. He stayed in the same building until he sold it in 1999, he said.
When Mast retired from the welding business, he had accumulated enough tools that he set up a woodworking shop in his basement and began making cabinets for a Lamar builder.
“When I saw the ad, I immediately thought of my dad. He’s done so much stuff that when anything unusual comes up, I call and ask him if he can do it. He’s a pretty unique guy. He’s so smart, it’s unbelievable,” Sandy said.
She could not reach the Netherlands company whose ad she liked, but said she saved money because the shipping from the Netherlands is expensive. “I showed him a picture, and he came up with the design. He modified it, and this is his own design,” she said.
More than 95 percent of the bowlers at Oakwood Bowl have said they like the furniture. The new seats are more comfortable and have more leg room. Sandy said every year, Oakwood Bowl tries to do something to improve their business.
That philosophy was started by Jack Tate, and Sandy and Jim have continued it since they took over ownership.
“He instills in us to keep modernizing everything, putting money back in our own business,” she said. “He’s always done it that way, and we will continue to do it, because it needs to be done that way.”