Family brings bowling lanes into kitchen

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Jim Trussell in his kitchen that now features recycled bowling lanes from Town and Country in Keizer. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

Jim Trussell in his kitchen that now features recycled bowling lanes from Town and Country in Keizer. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

Of late, Jim and Amy Trussell’s home has become a house of ideas.

It starts the moment anyone steps into their kitchen and spots the new countertops, which were once lanes at Town & Country Lanes.

“You don’t know how many ideas we’ve had and have been suggested,” Jim Trussell said.

Here are a few:

• Wallpaper borders featuring bowling pins and shoes.

• Bowling pins and shoes on the counter as a centerpiece.

• A hollowed out bowling ball doubling as a vase.

To be fair, walking into the room, the first thing a visitor spots are the wooden insets on the kitchen island marking the spots where the pins would sit on an actual bowling lane. Across the way, right in front of the sink is the foul line. The gutter, as it were, is the space between the island and the wall counter and no one is going to be rolling a 300 game during dinner.

The beauty of the project is in the details like lining up the pins and foul line and then taking it one step further to match up the lines of the maple lane with the ones across the way. Trussell and some friends did all the work to convert the lanes to usable countertops at the home and the project was anything but small.

“Each piece of the lane was 15 feet long, 3.5 feet wide and about 2.5 inches thick. It took about five people just to get it off the truck,” Trussell said. “Then there were the nails.”

The strips of maple are held together with a line of nails spaced around the center of the board. When they were functioning bowling lanes it was a requirement to assemble them from the center because time and heavy use meant they would have to be refinished frequently. Nails at the board edges would become exposed and wreak havoc on oiling machines and sanders, so assemblers started putting the nails closer to the center. As he began repurposing the wood, Trussell’s only way of knowing where the nails were was when he ran across them with a saw.

“I spent about $700 on saw blades when it was all said and done,” he said.

The Trussells’ kitchen remodel actually began about 10 years ago when they put in new cabinets. At the time the opted for vinyl countertops because the cost of granite would have been the equivalent of two years of college for their daughter. When they heard that Town & Country was selling off the old lanes after having new ones installed, Jim wandered down to see if there were any still available.

“We liked the idea of reusing the wood, and I had actually spent most of my teenage years at the bowling alley. My family had moved two blocks away from it in 1964,” he said.

While the Trussells haven’t taken up any of the suggestions from visitors, Jim is planning to install a bowling pin above a hanging light over the island. Once complete, it will likely appear as though a pin is being lowered to the countertop.

In the meantime they keep the lane looking pretty using, of all things, WD-40.

“It’s amazing what you can use it for. It doesn’t react with the wood, you just spray it and wipe it down and it leaves the counter looking clean and shiny,” he said.

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