Winner - Made in the South - Home Category - Garden & Gun Magazine


Here are answers for common questions that our customers ask:

Shipping is free within the United States

Shipping is free within the United States. We ship within 2-3 business days of receipt of your order. 

Once shipped, your package should arrive within 3-5 business days in the US  based on the distance to the destination. For expedited shipping inquiries or international shipping, please email us at or call us at 1-770-213-4470. There will be a charge for expedited and international shipping.

How do I care for my bowl?

Your bowl should be washed by hand with warm water. Dry the bowl with a clean cloth after washing. Continue to let it air dry until completely dry.

In order to help preserve the finish, periodically rub the bowl with a product that contains a combination of mineral oil and carnauba wax.  Howard makes a product called Butcher Block Conditioner.  It contains both mineral and carnauba wax and will not go rancid as some nut oils may.  Howard Clear Food-Grade Mineral Cutting Board Oil and food grade carnauba wax are used to produce all items at Talking Wood Studio. Howard products are available at major home improvement stores.

Where is the wood sourced?

Through our network of sources, we search America's forests for interesting chunks of wood that have landed on the forest floor.  In conjunction with our stated mission, we love to find outstanding pieces of nature's beauty and transform them into their final presentation so they can delight curious eyes for many generations.

Occasionally we will come across an outstanding block of wood from outside America.  When that opportunity presents itself, we will guide the wood through the same loving transformation that we provide their domestic counterparts.

How do you describe/grade wood?

We look for highly figured interesting wood that is pleasing to the eye.  We grade the wood we use into three categories Master, Highly Figured and Interesting. In our description we identify all pieces that are graded Master or Highly Figured.  These pieces command higher prices due to their rarity and the additional care we take to honor and preserve nature's art.

Master Grade (MA) - The wood is highly and uniformly figured across the visible surfaces.  These pieces of wood are extremely rare and truly some of nature’s most beautiful living creations.  It is too bad that this beauty is hidden beneath the tree’s bark until it passes.  

Highly Figured (HF) - These pieces have high figure across at least 50% of the visible surface.  The transitions between the pattern changes make some of these pieces more visibly unique than our prized Master grade as the overall grain does not have the uniformity of the grain across the entire surface.  These bowls have the most unique personalities.

Every piece of wood we transform at Talking Wood Studio has a personality that attracts our attention.  Our pieces classified as interesting could have emerging figure that does not dominate the whole piece, a natural beauty mark, the large size or a perfect quartersawn grain pattern. 

How do I find out more about the wood used to make my bowl?

A description of each wood that we transform at Talking Wood Studio is noted in the following glossary:

Wood Glossary

American Elm (Ulmus Americana) - is very hard with a nice uniform grain pattern.  We like to make large deep bowls using this wood.  Unfortunately, it is difficult to find large clean pieces to transform.  Once a very popular and long-lived (300+ years) shade and street tree, American Elm suffered a dramatic decline with the introduction of Dutch elm disease, a fungus spread by a bark beetle.  Every time we have a chance to transform a piece of this fallen timber, we do our best to honor its American heritage.

Curupau (Anadenanthera colubrina)

Also known as Cebil, this stunning specie hails from the southern parts of South America, generally Argentina and Brazil. Heartwood is a pale to medium reddish brown, frequently with darker brown to black streaks throughout. The sapwood colors range from pinkish brown through pale yellow . Its fine uniform texture is naturally lustrous. Its colors tend to darken with age. Very dense, hard wood which turns beautifully.

Bitter Cherry (Prunus Emarginata) - a small tree that has an interesting striped grain pattern and it holds a high luster finish.  We love finding perfectly quartersawn pieces so that the grain really pops when we shape and finish the bowl.  If you like stripes, this may be a wood that intrigues you.

Black Walnut (Juglans Nigra) - is dark, hard, dense and tight-grained. Prized for its strength, grain and color. It polishes to a smooth finish, and the color ranges from creamy white in the sapwood to a dark chocolate in the heartwood.  We look for pieces with a high degree of Chatoyant to produce a lustrous patina.  We also love working with chunks that are dark chocolate throughout that always please the eye.

Flame Maple that comes from Big Leaf Maple (Acer Macrophyllum) - Sapwood color ranges from nearly white, to an off-white cream color, sometimes with a reddish or golden hue. The heartwood tends to be a darker reddish brown. Sapwood color ranges from nearly white, to an off-white cream color, sometimes with a reddish or golden hue. The heartwood tends to be a darker reddish brown.  As these trees grow, around 1% of them show flame or quilted figure making these grain patterns quite rare.  This lumber also spalts spectacularly once it hits the forest floor and moisture starts to breakdown the wood producing an infinite combination of colors and patterns. Working a Master or Highly Figured piece of this wood is a very satisfying and visual joy. It is one of our favorite types of wood.

London Plane (Platanus × acerifolia)- is a large tree growing to 100' tall with a trunk measuring 10' in diameter.  This tree is similar to the American Sycamore and is planted in planned urban areas.  Urban planners like it for its size and appearance, as well as its unusual efficiency in removing particulate pollutants from the air.  We like it because we can make large pieces and it spalts with amazing colors and patterns.  It is one of Olivia's favorite spalting woods.

Magnolia (Magnolias) - these evergreen trees are for their large fragrant flowers. They tend to be bowl or star shaped flowers in several shades appearing throughout the southern summer. We love making large pieces from this wood as the interplay between the heart and sapwood is one of nature's canvasses.  We hope you enjoy this southern gem as much as we do.

Red Elm (Ulmus rubra) - is in reference to its reddish heartwood. It is also known as Slippery Elm. We love the grain pattern and slippery feel of this wood.  We like to make larger bowls out of this wood.  It is always a challenge to find large thick interesting pieces.

Tulip Poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera) - also known as the American Tulip Tree. It is a fast-growing, large tree with beautiful flowers.  There are several dozen intermixed in our forest.  View them from a distance as they produce large quantities of nectar and are quite messy.  We love to make larger, highly figured pieces from this tree.  The wood has a light color that really highlights shimmering figure across its surface.  The wood is less dense than other hardwood, making finished larger pieces lighter and easier to handle.  It is the state tree of Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee. 

Zebrawood (Microberlinia brazzavillensis)

The wood of Microberlinia (also known as Zebrano) is imported from Africa. The heartwood is a pale golden yellow, distinct from the very pale color of the sapwood and features narrow streaks of dark brown to black. Zebrawood can also be a pale brown with regular or irregular marks of dark brown in varying widths. It is a heavy, hardwood with a somewhat coarse texture, often with an interlocked or wavy grain. It is quartersawn to get the exciting alternating color pattern.

Features of Wood Glossary

Chatoyant - is an optical reflectance effect seen in certain woods.  Coined from the French "œil de chat", meaning "cat's eye", chatoyancy arises either from the fibrous structure of a material or from fibrous inclusions or cavities in the wood.  This is especially beautiful in Black Walnut.

Flame - feature in which the growth of the wood fibers is distorted in an undulating chatoyant pattern, producing wavy lines known as "flames". This effect is often mistakenly said to be part of the grain of the wood; it is more accurately called "figure", as the distortion is perpendicular to the grain direction.

Quilted - a distortion of the grain pattern seen on the tangential plane. It looks like a wavy "quilted" pattern, often like ripples on water. The highest quality quilted figure is found in the Big Leaf Maple.

Certificate of Authenticity

We use an iron to burn our brand into the bottom of each bowl and include a Certificate of Authenticity, so you know that each is handcrafted by Talking Wood Studio.  The Certificate of Authenticity contains pictures of the bowl, the type of wood it is made from, the serial number, diameter, height, depth, weight and completion date. Each certificate is signed by the artist and embossed with our official Talking Wood Seal.

Any other questions?

Please feel free to email us at or call us at 770-213-4470