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A collection of handcrafted salad bowls for use in your home. I turn every piece individually at the lathe and guarantee my work.
121 backers pledged $10,858 to help bring this project to life.

About

$10,858

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Hello, my name is Ben McCain and I am a woodturner/woodworker living and working in Lincoln, NE. I have been a woodturner for around 6 years now. I am blessed to make works of functional art for a living. I am a grateful husband to the most wonderful person I know, my lovely wife Kiley. I am a proud dog father of the cutest german shepherd you have ever seen, and tender of three sassy chickens. A chicken tender if you will..... 

All jokes aside I am obsessed with what I do for a living. Few things bring me as much satisfaction as finishing a salad bowl that I have crafted from a tree. That being said I firmly believe that trees are best served as living organisms. Removing carbon dioxide and depositing oxygen into our atmosphere, as well as providing shelter to diverse ecosystems and being darn pretty to look at. It's easy to see why so many people are in love with trees and how important they are to society and the natural world. 

It is vital for me to convey this importance to every person who purchases one of my wares. Most of the trees that my products are crafted from lived much longer lives than any human and were planted/grown decades before I was born. It is my upmost desire that the honor and respect I put into this raw material is evident in the final product.

For this campaign, I am raising funds to incorporate a custom bowl drying kiln to my shop. This will create a much quicker turn around time for my salad bowl production as well as adding more control to the process overall. The funds will be used to purchase a small dehumidification kiln unit as well as foam insulation to craft the kiln chamber. This campaign offers a unique shopping opportunity, as I have marked the prices down substantially from my usual retail price. I have added reward levels for varying sizes of bowls. If you pledge at that level, I will turn a custom bowl of that size for you specifically. Each bowl will receive my usual brand as well as a number specific to this campaign. You will receive this bowl packed carefully with a free tin of board butter as well as care instructions and a hand written thank you note.  You will find more information about the different sizes of rewards below this section as well as in the rewards menu on the right. 

It all starts with the material. Here is a photo of some pieces of sycamore I harvested last summer. Almost all of the bowls I turn are made from salvaged trees in the Lincoln area.
It all starts with the material. Here is a photo of some pieces of sycamore I harvested last summer. Almost all of the bowls I turn are made from salvaged trees in the Lincoln area.
As you can see here,  I have to make design choices from the very beginning. Starting with how to process the raw material or log.
As you can see here, I have to make design choices from the very beginning. Starting with how to process the raw material or log.
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Here you can see the initial shaping of the bottom of the bowl.

After rough turning, bowls are coated with a green wood sealer to help prevent cracking during the drying process.
After rough turning, bowls are coated with a green wood sealer to help prevent cracking during the drying process.
A pile of rough turned bowls before getting stacked and sticker for air drying. The air drying process takes anywhere from 6-18 months. This is where the kiln comes in. Drying times can be reduced to weeks instead of months and years.
A pile of rough turned bowls before getting stacked and sticker for air drying. The air drying process takes anywhere from 6-18 months. This is where the kiln comes in. Drying times can be reduced to weeks instead of months and years.
After they are dry. I put them back on the lathe for final turning. You can see the color difference between the fresh exposed wood and the exterior that has been exposed for months. The bowls are then sanded to a smooth finish.
After they are dry. I put them back on the lathe for final turning. You can see the color difference between the fresh exposed wood and the exterior that has been exposed for months. The bowls are then sanded to a smooth finish.
The final step is the oiling process. I oil all of my bowls with a high quality walnut oil made specifically for salad bowls. The pieces are oiled a number of times and then polished using a walnut oil and beeswax paste.
The final step is the oiling process. I oil all of my bowls with a high quality walnut oil made specifically for salad bowls. The pieces are oiled a number of times and then polished using a walnut oil and beeswax paste.
Here you will find a section of finished products. The first being this figured Ash Bowl
Here you will find a section of finished products. The first being this figured Ash Bowl
Deep Honey Locust Salad Bowl
Deep Honey Locust Salad Bowl
Black Walnut Salad Bowl
Black Walnut Salad Bowl
American Sycamore Salad Bowl
American Sycamore Salad Bowl

I hope that I have given you a glimpse into the process of making handmade salad bowls. It is a labor of love that is it worth it every single time I get to see a bowl come to life. Each and every piece is a unique tribute to it's host tree and the conditions it lived through. If you choose to support this campaign, I thank you from the bottom of my heart and promise that you will receive the very best product I am capable of making. Please feel free to visit us on social media to learn more, as well as our website. Thank you for looking!

Facebook - www.facebook.com/heartwoodhandcrafted

Instagram - www.instagram.com/heartwoodhandcrafted

Website - www.heartwoodhandcrafted.com

Risks and challenges

Working with an organic material comes with its own interesting challenges. As badly as you wish to control the process, sometimes nature does what it wants to do. Drying bowls quicker than they want to dry naturally can lead to cracks or warping. The chance of this happening is the reason that I always expect to get 80% of the bowls I rough turn to survive. Planning this way ensures that anyone who has ordered a bowl will get one, and if I happen to have more than 80% survive, that's a bonus. Please feel free to reach out with comments, questions, or concerns. I would be delighted to answer any you might have.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    Thank You

    A signed thank you letter as well as updates on the project including behind the scenes videos of production. All pledges are appreciated and help to continue supporting myself and my family.

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    Pledge $15 or more About $15

    Pinch Pot

    A small pinch pot measuring approximately 4"x1.5" Excellent for keeping fine cooking salts in a convenient location as well as many other spices/seasonings. Hand turned on the lathe and finished with walnut oil and beeswax.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Small Nut Bowl

    A small bowl approximately 6"x2" These small bowls come in very handy around the kitchen. You can use them to keep nuts in, but they also work great when you are cooking and need to keep ingredients separate. Hand turned individually on the lathe and finished with walnut oil and beeswax.

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    Pledge $30 or more About $30

    French Rolling Pin

    A beautiful addition to any kitchen. Our tapered rolling pins are a joy to use and lovely to look at. They are hand turned on the lathe from a single piece of hardwood. (No glue seams here!) They measure 18" in length and approximately 1 3/4" in diameter. Finished with walnut oil and beeswax.

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    Pledge $45 or more About $45

    Single Serving Bowl

    A small individual eating bowl measuring approximately 8"x2.5" These bowls make for a perfect eating bowl for one. Treat yourself to a fresh salad or even serve a small side dish for two. Hand turned individually on the lathe and finished with walnut oil and beeswax.

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    Pledge $65 or more About $65

    Small Salad Bowl

    A small salad bowl measure approximately 9"x3" This small salad bowl will cheerfully serve two people. The depth to diameter ratio makes for a pleasantly deep bowl suitable for mixing a salad or serving a side dish for a larger dinner. Hand turned individually on the lathe and finished with walnut oil and beeswax.

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    Pledge $70 or more About $70

    Set of 4 Nut Bowls

    A set of four matching nut bowls. See description above for Individual Nut Bowl

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    Pledge $85 or more About $85

    Natural Edge Bowl

    A natural edge bowl measuring approximately 9"x3" This bowl has a wavy rim where the outside of the tree was. A beautiful center piece or small fruit bowl. Hand turned individually on the lathe and finished with walnut oil and beeswax.

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    Pledge $95 or more About $95

    Medium Salad Bowl

    A medium salad bowl measuring approximately 11"x3.5" This salad bowl is a go-to size for any home. It will happily serve 4-6 salad portions. It may also be used as a smaller fruit bowl. Hand turned individually on the lathe and finished with walnut oil and beeswax.

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    Pledge $135 or more About $135

    Large Salad Bowl

    A large salad bowl measuring approximately 14"x4" My largest bowl size for this campaign. A wonderful statement piece for any home. Serves 6-8 and can double as a fruit bowl or my personal favorite, popcorn bowl. Hand turned individually on the lathe and finished with walnut oil and beeswax.

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    Pledge $145 or more About $145

    Large Natural Edge Bowl

    A large natural edge bowl measuring approximately 13"x4" This large bowl features a wavy rim where the outside of tree used to be. Use as a statement piece, large fruit bowl, or salad bowl. Hand turned individually on the lathe and finished with walnut oil and beeswax.

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    Pledge $225 or more About $225

    Extra Large Salad Bowl

    A monster salad bowl, enough to feed an army! Measures approximately 17"x5" This salad bowl will serve 12-16 salad portions or one very hungry popcorn eater. Hand turned individually on the lathe and finished with walnut oil and beeswax.

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    Pledge $325 or more About $325

    Three Bowl Nested Set

    A nested set of three bowls. The Large Salad Bowl, Medium Salad Bowl and Small Salad Bowl. This set will be turned from one piece of wood and feature matching grain throughout. This is a showstopper to have in your kitchen and home! Finished with walnut oil and beeswax.

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Funding period

- (55 days)