Category Archives: Twist work

‘Beer is proof that God loves us…

3ElegantTapHandlesWeb…and wants us to be happy.’  – Benjamin Frankin

Dennis turned these three elegant tap handles at the request of some friends who make their own beer.

All three feature captive rings at the base.  Two are from walnut, and the twisted one is sycamore.  For twistwork afficionados, this is a 4-start, graduated, and slightly stretched bit of twistwork.

Steps from his demonstration of the 4-start twisted handle are now available on the ‘Project’ tab at the top of this page, as Project #3.


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.

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.

Stuart Mortimer returns to Colorado

Stuart Mortimer returned to Colorado in September with woodturning demonstrations and classes in Colorado Springs, Denver, and Ft. Collins, and five sessions for the Rocky Mountain Woodturners Symposium.  Stuart’s visit coincided with a renewal of interest in spindle turning, as well as end-grain forms such as traditional boxes and hollow forms.

In the photo, he is turning a lid to fit to a box base.  The wood is American osage orange, one of Stuart’s favorite woods.OSAGEBOX

Stuart is best-known for his innovative ways to achieve the precision of traditional twisted spindles and twisted hollow forms, open-twist finials, and specialty twists such as the pig-tail and lace edge.   He is an expert carver on turnings as well, and he teaches quick and effective techniques for hollowing turnings for carved detail.  To see current work from the Mortimer woodshop, visit

Stuart made a variety of turnings while he was in Colorado.  Some of the demonstration pieces were auctioned at the Symposium.

The Pikes Peak Woodturners will auction several more at meetings in October or November.   Ths auction will include two finished pieces–a goblet with a twisted stem, and the box from the demonstration in Manitou Springs.  For more information about the PPW auction, call Dennis  719-481-8754


Twistwork in Furniture Show

Dennis will have three pieces in the ‘Quilts and Fine Woodworking’ Show at the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum, opening September 25th.  This is the 24th year for one of the Museum’s most popular shows.   The Cherry Server and Goblet with laminated twisted stem represent traditional uses of twistwork.   Dennis will also exhibit the Celtic Knot stone inlay vessel from Colorado Aspen.   All three pieces will be for sale during the show.

Cherry Twist

cherryserver2    Dennis has used the open twist for  candlesticks in the past, but this new piece is the first time he has created a tall serving vessel with a twisted base.  To increase the strength of the twist, he has lengthened it somewhat.  It also tapers quite elegantly as it raises the shallow bowl upward.  The base adds stability, reflecting the ogee curve of the underside of the bowl.

The entire piece is turned from American Cherry.  As it ages, it will darken to the familar dark red cherry tones.  The finish is penetrating oil, with a hand-rubbed wax.

Overall height  10.5″  x  11″ diameter

Lacey Edge Goblet

Note:   The ‘How-to’ technical notes for making twistwork are found on the ‘Skills’ tab of this website….

The lacy edge adds lift to this more substantial goblet form. Cover the rim, and you will discover that the lace is not ‘fluff’–it creates the success of the piece. Ornament at its best completes and energizes the form. Dennis learned this technique working with Stuart Mortimer.


Twins - not a conventional set

Twins - Both are right-hand twists


Dennis turned these goblets for the Southern States Symposium demonstration from canary wood, with a laminated stem of holly and canary wood.  They are 10 1/2″ tall.   The twist is a right hand twist, which means that it appears to rise from left to right.  Sometimes a pair of goblets or candlesticks will have one right-hand twist, and one left-hand twist.

The goblets are decorative, although they might be used once or twice for a special toast.  Spirits will definitely damage the finish.

Twisted Finial

The How-To of Twistwork is found on the ‘Skills’ tab of this website.

Twisted FInial

Open twists make a great finial–light and airy, especially in a darker color. Notice that your eye goes to the ends of the bines, where particular care needs to be taken with the cut. Dennis turned this piece in 2001 after studying with Stuart Mortimer.