New finish available for burial urns

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Earlier this summer, Dennis met with Richard Pankratz, a bronze sculptor, to develop a convincing patina on urns made of wood.   The happy result is this finish in aged bronze.

The advantage of the faux bronze urn is that the urn itself is lighter in weight, and the use of pine keeps the urns in a very reasonable price range.  Many customers contact Dennis to find a bio-degradable urn that is still beautiful enough to display at a memorial service.

Dennis will probably use this finish on more turnings done in plain woods.  It does not, however, qualify as a food-safe finish for bowls.

Upside-Down Saltshaker class at Woodcraft 10/31

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Dennis will teach a class for turners of all skill levels on Saturday, October 31st, at the Colorado Springs Woodcraft store.

Students will make one or more of the two-part salt shakers that continue to delight the public with the mystery of getting the salt in and out of a shaker with just one hole in the bottom.  It makes a great gift for family and friends who may not understand the woodturning obsession.

This class will also hone skills with the parting tool, spindle gouge, and even the skew, for those turners who have been primarily bowl makers.  Dennis will help you sharpen your own tools correctly if you bring them to the class.

Call Woodcraft to reserve a spot, or to buy a class for your own aspiring woodturner:  719-266-9889.   The class will be over in time for trick-or-treating.  Recommended costume is personal safety gear – safety goggles or face shield.

 

A nice ride at the RollBikeArt show!

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Dennis has been to see the Bike Art Show here in the Pikes Peak Region for at least five years.  This year, he made a bowl to commemorate the 7-Eleven Velodrome in Colorado Springs.  It is a clean hard maple with inlaid crushed stone in the shape of bicycle racers.

This may be the first bowl ever in the Bike Art Show.  It follows a long tradition of decorating bowls with arena events.   Picasso painted the bull fight arena on ceramic bowls fifty years ago, and now we have Dennis Liggett and bicycle track racing.

A highlight of this year’s show wasn’t an entry–it was an ice cream maker churned via stationary bicycle.

Keepsake Urns

Urn2Web  In the Spring of 2014, Dennis purchased wet blocks of Ambrosia Maple while visiting woodturning friends near Atlanta.  He has carefully dried and hollowed a series of burial urns from this extraordinary wood.  The tops are threaded, so they stay on securely.     Most of these urns will be sold privately to folks who love wood or need a lightweight urn.    It is a nice alternative to storing ashes in plastic boxes in the back of the closet.     Dennis sizes the urns for a mid to large-sized person by measuring the internal volume of each one.

Prices and more photos are available by request:  719-481-8754

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.

 

A spring in his step

DennisWebDennis is standing at the lathe with several spring demonstrations and classes.  He was at the Kansas City Woodturners’ Club in February, demonstrating and teaching the upside-down salt shaker and the Roman Canteen.  In March, he demonstrated for the Pueblo Woodturning Club.  March 14th,  he spent a Saturday at the Good Earth Garden Center’s Homestead Fair with other members of the Pikes Peak Woodturners.

In April, he will teach the upside-down salt shaker for the Colorado Springs Woodcraft store (April 18th).  This popular project is a great way for novice turners to improve skills.  It is also a good introduction to spindle-wise turning for those woodturners who have only worked in the face grain direction making bowls.  The tools and techniques differ for the two orientations of the wood to the lathe.   The week of April 19-25th, he will visit two woodturning clubs on the Western Slope of Colorado.

In addition to his public appearances, Dennis also gives private lessons for skills like thread chasing, cutting twists, and hollowing vessels:  719-481-8754

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).

For love of the craft

photo by Scott Longberry

photo by Scott Longberry

Dennis turned tops late into the night at the Broadmoor’s Christmas House on November 29th.  Scott Longberry and Milo Scott took turns at the lathe, producing over 170 tops in two days at the outdoor Christmas celebration.  Children waited patiently in line, with their choice of felt markers for decorating the tops.  It was a nostalgic moment for many adult visitors who can remember when gifts were made in the USA.

Dick Jones, Laurie Longberry, and Kay Liggett helped to explain the many lathe-turned items on display in the woodturners’ tent.      Customers included hotel guests, visitors, and neighborhood folks.  The woodturners attend the celebration as guests of Harding Nursery.   The Broadmoor’s Christmas tree lighting and the festival at the Christmas House are a nice way to avoid ‘Black Friday’ hysteria.   Dennis and friends particularly enjoy their roles as makers during the holidays!

A forest of trees for Christmas!

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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

 

Dale Nish Egg Cup

NishEggCupWebThis little egg cup was made by Dale during one of the Loveland Symposiums, in the vendor booth for Craft Supplies.  He probably learned this shape on the many trips he made to England in his quest to preserve the craft of woodturning.  For such a towering presence in North American woodturning, Dale was a modest man who enjoyed any reason to stand behind the lathe.