What kind of wood do you use, and where does it come from?
Cherry, black walnut, sycamore, poplar, maple, black birch, ash and a few others. There are types not generally used, like oak, hickory, pine, or gum because they don't work well with our process.
The wood comes from here in the lowcountry area of South Carolina or from the Smokey Mountains in western North Carolina. Occasionally we get some from other sources in eastern North Carolina. All of it comes from trees felled for other purposes or from natural causes.
Do you make traditional 'dough bowls'?
Yes, Sherial does...when he has the right type of wood, and the spirit moves him. They're usuallly made them from unseasoned (fresh/wet) poplar, so there's a very slow and careful drying process involved. This means it can take 6- 8 months, sometimes longer, to complete one.
If you don't see any available in the gallery, there may be some in the works. Feel free to contact us.
How long does it take to make a bowl?
I get this question a lot, but it's difficult to answer—especially because I'm usually working on more than one at a time, all at different stages. It often depends on the characteristics of the wood (such as grain and knots) and the design. And because I do let the wood have an important say in the process, I may end up having to baby certain areas, such as a swirl in the grain that demands I go slow and easy. It may even mean needing to change direction and rework what's already been done.
No two bowls are alike, so the best I can say is that it's not a matter of hours but days. I can tell you that I know that some have taken well over forty hours to complete, and some longer than I'd want to know!
In general, carving with old fashioned hand tools is a much longer process than 'handcarving' with power tools or using a lathe. But it's also special, and makes a difference that can be seen and felt.
Are your bowls 'food-safe'?
All bowls (except dough bowls) have an 'FDA food-safe' polyurethane finish. However, I don't recommend using them for boiling hot liquid foods and be sure to only use utensils that won't "scrape" the finish. If your bowl has surface knots or worm holes, keep in mind that food could get lodged inside those areas. It may be best use for them for only for dry foods such as fruit, bread, chips, etc.
'Oiled bowls' are finished with food-grade mineral oil or walnut* oil. The oil is worked into the surface to help protect it from warping or cracking and makes it less likely to absorb liquids or food particles. This makes a difference in the use and care (see below).
*Please be aware that nut oils may affect people with nut allergies.
How do I clean and care for my ShadeTree bowl or spoon?
For polyurethane finish: Dust with a clean dry or damp cloth for day-to-day cleaning. For cleaning after food use, wash and rinse under running water, using dishwashing liquid and sponge if necessary, and dry. For 'oiled' pieces: Dust with a clean dry or damp cloth for day-to-day cleaning. For cleaning after food use, wash and rinse quickly under running water, using a small amount of dishwashing liquid if necessary, then dry.
Never use furniture polish.
Never soak, use harsh detergents or wash any ShadeTree item in the dishwasher.
If your 'oiled' bowl begins looking a little 'dry,' simply rub some food-safe mineral oil, (or use high-quality walnut oil, as Sherial did for his spoons) into the surface, allow it to soak in, then wipe away the excess and buff with a clean soft cloth. (Repeat when/if needed.) This can also be done as a preventive measure.
Do you ship?
Yes, we ship using FedEx. And we take all major credit cards as well. See the Purchase/Contact page for more information.
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