Source: Daniel Patrick Sheehan, Of The Morning Call
Thursday, 22nd Sept, 2011
It’s a bar any elbow-bender would be pleased to belly up to: 24 feet long, with a gleaming surface crafted from mirror-polished walnut. Some assembly required.
Built by a trio of craftsmen from Carpentry By Mark in Allentown, the bar is the newest addition to Bethlehem’s Celtic Classic.
It’s the centerpiece of the Jameson Irish Whiskey Pub, a tent on the western edge of the Highland Field where that venerable spirit will be dispensed in its 12- and 18-year-old varieties, along with the festival’s usual beer offerings.
The 24th annual celebration of Celtic heritage begins at 4 p.m. Friday and runs through Sunday.
Carpentry By Mark owner Mark Furman and his colleagues, Brandon Shollenberger and Derrick Reinsmith, assembled the bar Thursday afternoon.
First they erected the pine base, stained a sort of light burgundy color called Bombay Mahogany and adorned with Celtic knot designs.
Then they mounted the five segments of the top, crafted mostly from a single walnut tree the carpenters found at a Zionsville sawmill. The rounded end pieces are made of poplar; visible in one is the nub of a nail driven into the wood perhaps 20 years ago, based on the rings. It broke the blade at the sawmill.
“You guys remember how we put this together, for when we take it apart,” said Furman, a 32-year-old Pittsburgh native who started his carpentry company two years ago after a long apprenticeship in house building.
He estimated the carpenters spent 110 summertime hours on the project, which included endless sanding and finishing of the walnut top to achieve its warm gleam.
“That is beautiful,” said John Blackwood, the festival’s operations manager, as he watched the assembly. “I work for PPL and I’m a draftsman. I had plans drawn up for this, and then they came in and did a lot better job than I ever could.”
Blackwood said the new tent will feature a dance floor for Irish and Scottish dance demonstrations and a small stage opposite the bar for one- and two-person music acts and storytellers — “just like a regular pub,” he said.
After the festival, the bar will be disassembled and put in storage for next year. But you’ll have a chance to take home a piece of it. The carpenters used leftover wood to make a small bench, which they plan to raffle off during the festival.