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I spent last week on vacation at Kentucky Lake. My girlfriend and I wanted to have a week away before she graduates law school in May and goes directly into study mode for the bar exam. We had big dreams of hiking, kayaking and hopefully a little fishing. I didn’t want to even think about woodworking the whole week … but then it rained.

We spent most of our time cooped up indoors to stay out of the torrential downpour that never seemed to end. I knew of a cool local brewery in Paducah KY, called Dry Ground Brewing Company that is nestled in the back of an old Coca-Cola plant, so we drove up there to taste some craft beers and stay dry.

Of course when I arrived, I immediately started taking pictures of their bar and tables. This little gem in the middle of Paducah has some of the coolest woodwork I have seen in a while.

live edgeWe don’t show much live edge work here at Popular Woodworking, but I am a sucker for it. The bar is made from a few slabs of wood with beautiful bowtie joints. The table shown at the top is a single slab with a waterfall leg, finger jointed to the top.

So, if you are in the Paducah KY area be sure to stop by Dry Ground Brewing Company and take a look at the woodwork. While you are there, sit down and have a drink (I’m partial to the ’37 flood) and get to know the guys working there. There are no TV’s, and conversations are always welcomed. That’s my kind of place.

I’m back in the office now, so hopefully I can get into the shop soon and start a new project to write about on the blog. My house is begging for a new desk, and a coffee table and an armoire … this may take a while.

— Jon Russelburg

Update:  After posting this blog, The Coke Plant Facebook page explained how the tables and bars were made, and gave me permission to use their explanation here. It is even more interesting than I could’ve imagined. Read the explanation below.

“Marty Steve crafted the tables at Dry Ground Brewing Company out of a single catalpa tree. The bar top was made with reclaimed red gum floor joists from 2 separate historic buildings demolished in downtown Paducah. One of the buildings was located where US Bank’s parking lot is today. The lumber was reclaimed and stored by Ray Black & Son for about 40 years until being offered up to Dry Ground for use in the brewery. Additional matching red gum floor joists were recovered from the recent demolition of the Carriage House on 3rd St and used to complete the fabrication of the bar top (The bow tie joiners are structural). Thanks to Popular Woodworking for recognizing the detail and craftsmanship that is going into The Coke Plant!”

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Showing 6 comments
  • GFDCabinets

    Hi, Just read your article on the beautiful live edge bar in Paducah. Hope to stop in there some time and will pass
    along another I ran across. Our kid lives in the Seattle area and on one visit with them I wandered around the area.
    The Crossroads Mall in Bellevue Washington , some 8 or 10 miles East of Seattle has a number of those huge
    slabs as seats just west of the food court and outside the Half Price Books store. I don’t remember the wood but
    probably redwood, doug fir or something similar considering the area. A wide variety of ethnic foods compliment
    the wood watching. If you’re ever out there it’s a lot more interesting than what we find at Home Depot, Lowes’
    and Menards here in Wisconsin. While there a few times in the last 5 years I’ve done some work on the kids house,
    built in 1957, wow all the doug fir 2×4’s etc., not what we get here in the Midwest these days. Jim Martinb


    Yes, it rained a lot while you were in Western Kentucky and we still have a lot of water on the ground. I have gone by the plant all my life and now I have a good reason to go in and check out the place. I love any place that uses wood for trim, doors, cabinets and bars. Too many things are made out of plastic any more. But, we will check out the Former Coke Plant.
    Thanks for the story,

  • Megan Fitzpatrick

    I did a live-edge piece somewhat recently (Nov 14 issue, I think?). But…one reason I find live edge projects problematic from a reader perspective is that it can be difficult to find a live edge slab/board of the same size and general shape as what would be in an article. If we present, say, a table article with a top with squared edges in cherry, it’s fairly easy to replicate that. If we do a table article with a live edge slab top, depending on one’s slab, the base might have to be in a different size, joinery might have to change, etc. So it feels like a bit of a tease.

  • dzehner2

    That’s a good observation, why aren’t there a lot of live edge projects in Pop Wood?

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