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Photos: Soldotna's 'Three Guys No Wood'

A sign outside the Three Guys No Wood woodworking studio in Soldotna hints at the activities inside. Paul Johnson and his partner chose the name because they began their woodworking activities on the treeless North Slope of Alaska. August 1, 2014.
Loren Holmes / Alaska Dispatch News
Woodworker Paul Johnson coaches Homer resident Rose Marie Daly on wood turning technique at Johnson’s Soldotna studio on August 1, 2014. Johnson offers wood turning classes as well as sells finished pieces he and his partner make.
Loren Holmes / Alaska Dispatch News
Woodworker Paul Johnson demonstrates how to sand a wooden bowl during a class at his Soldotna studio on August 1, 2014. Johnson offers wood turning classes as well as sells finished pieces he and his partner make.
Loren Holmes / Alaska Dispatch News
Woodworker Paul Johnson demonstrates how to sand a wooden bowl during a class at his Soldotna studio on August 1, 2014. Johnson offers wood turning classes as well as sells finished pieces he and his partner make.
Loren Holmes / Alaska Dispatch News
Homer resident Dave Daly varnishes his first wooden bowl during a class at Paul Johnson’s Soldotna studio on August 1, 2014. Johnson offers wood turning classes as well as sells finished pieces he and his partner make.
Loren Holmes / Alaska Dispatch News
Students Rose Marie Daly, left, and Henri Callewaert take a break during a wood turning class at Paul Johnson’s Soldotna studio on August 1, 2014. In the foreground are some of the tools used to carve the wood.
Loren Holmes / Alaska Dispatch News
Woodworker Paul Johnson shows students a decorative block he is preparing for a bowl during a break in a class in his Soldotna studio on August 1, 2014. Johnson offers wood turning classes as well as sells finished pieces he and his partner make.
Loren Holmes / Alaska Dispatch News
Woodworker Paul Johnson shows Dave Daly and other students how to prepare the base of a wooden bowl during a class at his Soldotna studio on August 1, 2014. Johnson offers wood turning classes as well as sells finished pieces he and his partner make.
Loren Holmes / Alaska Dispatch News
Student Dave Daly carves the base of his first bowl during a class at Paul Johnson’s Soldotna studio on August 1, 2014. Johnson offers wood turning classes as well as sells finished pieces he and his partner make.
Loren Holmes / Alaska Dispatch News
Nearly finished bowls lie in various stages of completion in Paul Johnson’s Soldotna studio on August 1, 2014. Johnson offers wood turning classes as well as sells finished pieces he and his partner make.
Loren Holmes / Alaska Dispatch News
Megan Edge

Mixed in with the grocery stores, gas stations and fishing tackle supply shops that line the Sterling Highway as it runs through the town of Soldotna is a 5-foot-2-inch-tall, hand-turned wooden bowl. It is the sign that you've arrived at Three Guys No Wood, where more than 500 bowls are created each year -- and where these days, its owners even consider their business to be "profitable."

"It's paying for itself," said Paul Johnson, dressed in a forest green shop coat. "Both columns say zero." His wife, Shanna Johnson, added that not operating in the red is a good development and a "new thing."

The couple says they've advertised "tons of different ways," but besides word of mouth, their most effective marketing tool has been the oversized bowl, which took three weeks to complete and now rests along Mile 100 of the highway. They said it "intrigues" people -- visitors and locals alike.

"Most of our business is open during the summer when all of the tourists are here, so we are going to see more tourists, but people come from all over the world. Germany, Australia, England -- you name it -- we have had all of them come through this door," said Paul Johnson.

Three Guys No Wood opened its doors in Soldotna four summers ago, but it has come a long way -- geographically. The idea originated in the Arctic community of Barrow, where the Johnsons were living and working as teachers.

Read more: Born as an Arctic hobby, wood turning business thrives on Kenai Peninsula