Category Archives: Events

Birdhouses? Why Birdhouses?

Dennis can make a variety of things on the lathe, but as Christmas approaches, he always returns to the Birdhouse Ornaments.

Of all the ornaments he has created, the simple Birdhouse just looks right on any Christmas tree.  By itself, you might notice the type of wood, the shape of the roof, the lovely curve of the ‘house,’ and the teeny perch in front of the door.   All of these same features show to good advantage among the pine needles of your tree.  This ornament is too small for a bird, but just right to contain a song, or the memory of home.

Dennis will be at the Christmas House at the Broadmoor again this year, with a variety of birdhouse ornaments for sale.  Look for him just outside the white tent, demonstrating on the lathe for kids waiting in line for Santa.   November 29, 30th (Reindeer Day), and December 1st.

Woodturners flock to Utah Symposium

Like moths to the flame, woodturners from all over the world travel to the Utah Woodturning Symposium in May.  The 34th meeting of the symposium continued the tradition of the Utah event as the premier teaching symposium in the US.  For a few days, Orem becomes the crossroads for turners from the US, UK, Australia, Canada, and South Africa.

Dennis provided demonstrations of the goblet with the laminated twisted stem, the venerable wooden canteen, stone inlay, and twist techniques for the intermediate woodturner.   It was an opportunity to meet old friends and make new ones.

For those who missed Utah, Dennis will offer similar demonstration in April 2014 at the Southern States Symposium in Georgia.

Candlesticks go public

Dennis showed three new candlesticks at the February meeting of Pikes Peak Woodturners.  All three are turned as a single point twist from American Cherry.   The pair are made in the traditional way — one right hand twist, and one left hand twist, for a symmetrical presentation.    The single candlestick holds a taper, and looks best with a 5″ coach-style taper candle.    The pair are designed for an updated look, with pins to center 2″ or 3″ pillar candles.

Dennis will demonstrate cutting twistwork by hand at the Utah Woodturning Symposium in May.   For the first time, he will demonstrate some novice and intermediate level twist techniques for smaller projects, like finials and bottle stoppers.

He will also have demonstrations of stone inlay work, the laminated twisted goblet, and the traditional woodturner’s canteen.

Turning al fresco

Dennis spent the Thanksgiving weekend turning and selling Christmas ornaments at the Broadmoor’s Christmas House.   He set up the mini-lathe in the courtyard right next to the line for Santa Claus photos and delighted dozens of children with little turned Christmas trees.

Many of the men in the crowd watched wistfully as Dennis worked.  For some of them, it has been several decades since they used a lathe in wood shop classes.

The demonstration is a key step for understanding why hand-turned ornaments are heirlooms, and not just mass-produced Christmas glitz.   Dennis and his friend, Dick Jones, each sold through quite a bit of the inventory they brought to the tent.

Dennis is grateful to Dick Jones for sales assistance, Larry Fox for use of the tent, Scott Longberry for lighting fixtures, Gabe Caunt for hauling, his grandsons Bradley and Brandon for set-up help, and the Harding Nursery for inviting him to join their tree lot at the Christmas House.

New and old friends in the woodshop

Dennis spent Saturday, September 15th, hosting a steady flow of friends and neighbors for the Front Range Open Studios Tour.   This is the only studio tour in Colorado that features the artists at work.  Dennis was no slouch!  Several visitors asked to see him turn paper-thin bowls (as advertised in the flyers), which he did.  Then they bought big bowls with stone inlay.

The Studio Tour starts off the Christmas season for Dennis.  For the next few months he will be turning a variety of ornaments for a Christmas show on the grounds at the Broadmoor.

Empty Bowl Season

Dennis has been working in the shop to produce over 65 bowls for the October 10th Empty Bowl fundraiser for Tri-Lakes Cares.  The bowl blanks were donated by Dr. Bob Gibbs, fellow woodturner and volunteer physician for Tri-Lakes Cares.

The small bowl in the photo is from apple wood.  The little leaf inside was burned by Kay, who added decoration to some of the smallest bowls.   Other bowls feature some of the decorating techniques the Liggetts learned from Nick Agar during his visit in May.

Woodshop opens for Studio Tour

Dennis will open the inner sanctum to the public on the weekend of September 15-16 as part of the Front Range Open Studios Tour.   Although he won’t reveal all of the secrets of woodturning, he will be able to explain some of the magic of the craft made possible by tools, holding devices, and the four or five different lathes in the shop.

Natural edge bowls, Christmas ornaments, Harry Potter wands, and other turnings will be for sale during the Tour.   To see all of the artists on the route, go to for the map.  All of the studios are within a few miles of the Liggetts at the north end of the County.

Across the pond, through the woods…

Look over there! Is it Greenland?

Nick Agar spent several days in the Liggett woodshop between the Utah Woodturning Symposium and the AAW Symposium in San Jose.     He demonstrated making a Viking Bowl for the Pikes Peak Woodturners, and then held two all-day classes so that we could all become Vikings, too.

The Viking bowl was inspired by Nick’s visits to Norway.  He combines the drama of a northern sunset with a metalized finish that evokes a Viking shield.   (Note the silver finger!)

Nick and Stuart Mortimer collaborated on a stunning vessel for the AAW Symposium which combined Stuart’s twistwork with Nick’s carved and metalized gears.  We expect to see more gears in Nick’s work for the Worshipful Company of Turners’ exhibit in London in October.

Thanks to Nick for inspiring many of us in Colorado to try new decorating techniques in our own work!


Twist and Turn at Southern States

Dennis offers 3 different rotations at the Southern States Symposium, April 24-26th in Gainesville, GA.  

TWISTED LAMINATED GOBLET:  Dennis slows down Stuart Mortimer’s virtuoso goblet demonstration so that you can learn the keys to success.  The goblet is made in four parts and includes drilling through 7″ of endgrain for an insert of contrasting wood.  The goblet stem is then twisted.  This method makes judicious use of those expensive speciality woods.  Learning the drill technique alone is worth the price of admission!


contrast wood option

contrast wood option


THREADED BOX:  The correct sequence, and all of the steps needed to successfully hand-thread any project with simple tools in the tradition of the English hardwood and ivory turners.  With this method, you will not hesitate to thread even temporary jam-chucks for finishing the base of fine boxes.  If you thought a British Commonwealth accent was necessary for hand-threading, you will enjoy the way Dennis describes the process in plain Merikan dialect.

MULTI-AXIS CANTEEN:  The classic wooden canteen, learned from Chris Stott, threaded or unthreaded, with same or contrast woods, and decorative variations.  Dennis gives lots of design ideas to demonstrate how to use a technical skill as a jumping off place for developing your own style.

Dennis will have detailed hand-outs available at the Symposium.  He will repeat at least two of these demonstrations for the Palmetto Woodturners at their May event.

Let Your Work Take Flight – May 3-9, 2009

John C. Campbell Folk School
Brasstown, NC

Challenge yourself in a fun course that will greatly increase your technical capability. Advanced techniques such as thread chasing, twist work, and stone inlay will be covered. Students should have intermediate-plus skills in basic woodturning and be competent with both spindle and bowl gouges.

Online signup is available now.