Lloyd Mandel is a Charleston woodturner who uses reclaimed wood from the Charleston “urban forest.” Common trees used are Bradford Pear, Hickory, Elm, Magnolia, Sycamore, Silver Maple, Curly Maple, Oak, Sweet Gum, Walnut, and Poplar. The characteristics of the found specimens help define the final product. Lloyd enjoys creating both simple bowls for everyday use as well as more artistic bowls, which may be carved or colored after the turning process is completed. His most challenging pieces are probably his “Sweet Gum Baskets,” which were inspired by Charleston’s traditional Gullah sweetgrass  baskets.

Although woodturning is his passion, Lloyd also enjoys the procurement and treatment of the tree from the beginning of the process to the end, which includes finding the tree in the field, cutting it into logs (with the large logs weighing 200 to 300 pounds), hauling them to the workshop, making preliminary rough cuts, and rough turning on the lathe, at which time the pieces are put into a drying area for nine months to a year. When the drying process is complete and possibilities of cracking and warping have subsided,  the piece is returned to the lathe for final turning. At this point it is determined whether the piece becomes carved, tinted, or oiled and varnished.