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Todd Sanders - Wooden Bowls

Black Walnut with turquoise inlay
Photo Credit :

Todd Sanders is currently woodworking as a hobby, but we suspect the demand for his creative skills will interfere with his day job in the coming months.

His home is in Lancaster, SC, and he works in electronics in Charlotte, NC. His free time is spent doing what he loves – making creative objects from nothing but a piece of log from a tree. (When he would give his late grandmother one of his pieces, she would ask him how he got that out of a tree.)

“I guess my favorite wood is Black Walnut,” he said, “However, I also work with Tulip Poplar, Red Oak, White Oak and Black Cherry.” He doesn’t cut down trees to obtain his materials. Rather, these are trees that have fallen, or are being cleared for some other purpose. His designs are somewhat dictated by the tree and how it’s cut.

Each piece is meticulously cut on a lathe and the process can take as much as eight months, from acquiring the wood, to the curing (which sometimes takes years), to the actual turning of the wood and finally, the sanding, finishing and polishing. “Even after the piece is completed, it continues to change and move with the seasons, as it becomes acclimated to its new environment.”

Todd Sanders - Wooden Bowls

Todd Sanders
Photo Credit :

He started along his creative journey while he was in grade school, mentored by Mr. Wilburn, who owned a body shop in Charlotte. And he’s been creating ever since. Today, he creates bowls, boxes, salt and pepper grinders – just about anything he can think of. A local forester appreciates his work and seeks out burls to save for him when trees are being cleared. And then he goes to work, with chain and band saws, cutting, then molding, shaping, drying, finishing. He uses turquoise inlays to add interest and fill holes in the bowls. He donates many of his creations for fund raisers, and his wife claims many for herself.

Those lucky enough to own one of these beauties echo the words of his beloved grandmother: “How did you get this out of a tree?”

Reach him at |