From trees to bowls, how this man is utilizing recycling

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Kevin Richards, from Richards Wood Crafts, came on the show to show off his wood creations!

Kevin talked about the process of making salad bowls from local trees that have to come down. Kevin works a full-time desk job and has a wife, son, and daughter on the way. He does his wood crafts on the side and spends a few late nights a week in the shop and early mornings on the weekend. He’s found, over the past few years, that most sales come from the Christmas holiday. For the sake of being able to focus on processing bowls during the year without the distractions of small business, he only sells his bowls once a year at the end of November and has been able to sell out within about a day the past three years. Kevin is hoping to have about a hundred in different shapes and sizes for this year. He understands there’s more demand than that, but woodturning has been as much of a side business as it has been therapy to him, especially over the past year.

Trees come down locally most every day in our communities for several reasons. When an arborist or the city or power company cuts down a tree, it gets hauled off somewhere West of town and gets burned, buried, or chipped into mulch. There isn’t any secret place the wood from that tree is going to, but when possible, Kevin does his best to salvage beautiful trees into salad bowls and slabs. He specializes in the process of “woodturning” bowls. The time it takes to go from log to salad bowl on a kitchen table is at least a year. Trees, like each of us, are majority water, whereas a board from the lumber yard is about 11% moisture. A lot of water needs to be slowly removed to become stable without cracking.

He first uses a chainsaw to cut a log into sections. Then he uses a lathe and sharp tools to slowly cut away the sides until he has a rough shape of a bowl. The bowl is then coated in a thin wax to allow it to dry slowly and it goes on the shelf for about a year. Currently, Kevin has about 270 bowls in the process of drying. The majority of those came from the windstorm they had in September.

After the bowl has spent a year to dry, shrink, and warp, Kevin puts it back on a wood lathe to recut the piece into its final round shape, sand, and finish.

Kevin loves to share his process of creating from the beautiful local trees on Instagram and Facebook.

Find Kevin on FB and IG

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