Category Archives: Gallery

Bowl emerges as a new demonstration

emergingbowl2Web   This little bowl of ambrosia maple is struggling to emerge from its block of wood.

The woodturner also faces some challenges turning this piece!  Like the Roman Canteen, the Emerging Bowl requires turning on two different axes.  Dennis has chosen this project as a companion to the canteen for the intermediate woodturner.   It is well within the range of most intermediates, but it has a more advanced ‘wow’ factor.

Like the Roman Canteen, the emerging bowl requires careful planning.  It also introduces some extra safety considerations.  Surprisingly, turning two of them is only a little more difficult than turning one.

Most of the things that Dennis makes have roots in traditional woodturning.  This one goes back to the way Hans Weissflog developed many of his forms in Germany, and has also been popular with turners in Canada and Australia.


Remembering the world before zombies….

5snowmenWebSnowmen turned from aspen with walnut top hats gather in the Liggett woodshop with those enigmatic smiles that we all remember from a more innocent time…. maybe the time of Calvin and Hobbes, when snowmen played a variety of roles in winter cartoon strips.     To about 9″ total height–call Dennis if you need one or several for a collection or a centerpiece  (719-481-8754).

A forest of trees for Christmas!


Dennis and two fellow woodturners cut down an ailing honey locust tree in Skyway during a warm spell in October.  This little forest was made from the branch wood.

Branches are always challenging for the woodturner.  They move and sway in the wind, so there may be unusual stresses in the wood.  They are often nearly horizontal, which means that the lower side is more dense than the upper side, creating ‘reaction wood’ on the dense side.  It can sometimes split when the weight of the branch is changed.

These trees are relatively easy for an experienced turner to produce.  Some flaws add a record of the tree’s life to the project.  Others may split wide open on the lathe, or even later as the wood continues to dry out.

Dennis made four different sets of the trees, with crushed stone added on the edges, and a lovely platter to organize the trees as a centerpiece or mantel decoration.  The set pictured here includes crushed malachite.3treesWeb


Black Forest fire in 2013 = bowls now

A friend brought Dennis part of a Gambel oak tree that was damaged in the Black Forest fire last year.  These oaks are a scrubby style of white oak, which rarely reaches a diameter that interests woodturners.  Natural edge bowls make the most of trees with a small diameter, because the bark creates the rim.  These 3 are exceptional for the clarity of the ‘rays’ in the wood.  The largest bowl is 9″ on the long axis.  The vessel was hollowed through the opening on the top. 

2013 Christmas ornament

This is the first time that Dennis and Kay have worked together to produce one-of-a-kind ornaments.

Dennis turns the four parts of the birdhouse:  roof, body, perch, and bottom finial.   Kay decorates each roof with permanent inks.  The patterns come from Zentangle®  forms and Kay’s own quilting patterns.  They are done spontaneously, so each one is different.  The Zentangle method is a fun way to create images by drawing structured patterns.  It was created by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas.

The roofs are all turned from aspen, which takes the ink like a high quality vellum surface.  The perch and finial are holly.  The bodies are made from either American cherry or walnut.

After each part is completed, Dennis applies finish, and installs the hanging eyelet and hook.   The roof and body are remounted on the lathe for a final polish before the birdhouse is glued together.


Magic Christmas of Making

Dick Jones, Scott Longberry, and Milo Scott helped Dennis create a very magical Christmas for kids at the Boadmoor’s Christmas house over the weekend of Nov 28-December 1st.  Dennis, Milo, and Scott took turns making tops for kids waiting in line to see Santa Claus.  There is a certain magic to seeing something made right before your eyes that stands up well to the hysteria of ‘Black Friday.’   A special thanks goes to Larry Fox for loaning the group of Pikes Peak Woodturners the tent for a stellar display of Christmas ornaments and turned bracelets and bowls.

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.

Wooden canteens live another day


Wood was often the only available material for making canteens in the past.  They were probably used by the Romans, and there are some examples in Civil War collections.   Some woods, such as the white oak used for this one, are watertight, and may even improve the flavor of spirits, if not of the water they carry.  If you are planning for a watertight vessel, in addition to the white oak, you will need to use epoxy glues, and a tight-fitting silicon stopper.

Dennis has added new elements to the canteens he has demonstrated in Michigan, Mississippi, and at the John Campbell Folk School in N.C., with laser-cut designs for stone inlay on the medallion portion of the canteen.

The canteens will be one of his demonstrations for the Utah Woodturning Symposium.

New technology; new application

Fine detail for stone inlay is now possible with laser-cut grooves for the thunderbird on this bottle stopper.    Dennis also finds that he needs a very fine grind on the turquoise to match the scale of the detail.

The laser wizard is neighbor Milo Scott, who has been exploring ways to use laser engraving on woodturners of all shapes and sizes.


Dennis at work

Taking a break from the StoryTellers, Dennis works on one of his favorite subjects for stone inlay–the classical labyrinth.   In this photo, he is carving the channels for the lapis inlay with a small dental drill.

The Liggetts’ woodshop also serves as a classroom.   Dennis has a new demonstration of ‘Twistwork for the People’ ready for the Utah Woodturning Symposium.    The debut was for the Pikes Peak Woodturners.  In the follow-up class, several club members came by the shop to try their own hand at making the flame twist.

In the photo, Milo Scott helps Mark Harry sand his first flame twist.  Dennis is watching Robert Brewer (behind Mark) turn a pineapple.  Bill Smith and Lyle Wilgers also came over to learn simple twistwork.

Dennis holds training sessions throughout the year as part of his mentoring role for the Pikes Peak Woodturners.