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Shop Talk with Dean Arneson

July 3, 2012

Sitting down over beers at Odell's Brewery with Dean Arneson on Friday the first question we asked was, What is your favorite woodworking joke?
He didn’t have one, but we do…
Q: What do you call 50 people on the dance floor with no music?
A: 100 board feet.
As you all know, Meryl and I are strictly business so we had to get the jokes out of the way before we conducted our in-depth interview, asking the hard-hitting questions such as, What is your favorite wood and why, sir?  (Dean likes purple heart because it finishes nicely.)

When I first met Dean at Sears Trostel about a month ago, I couldn’t help but notice his purchase of exotic woods like purple heart and (one of my personal favorites) zebrawood, which led me to ask what he does with such beautiful wood.  Dean started talking to me about open-segmented vases that he makes using turned pieces of wood.  I had a hard time visualizing what he was talking about (keep in mind that I am new to the woodworking world and know next to nothing about wood turning), so Dean got my email address and sent me pictures of these vases:

I don't know about you, but I was pretty impressed, especially given the fact that Dean just began his woodworking career in December (as in 7 months ago).  Originally from Boulder, Dean lived for 35 years in Glenwood Springs before spending 7 years working in Denver and finally moving to Loveland in November of last year.  He first became interested in turning wood after going to a craft show at The Ranch with his father.  Dean saw an open-segmented vase and as he says, was immediately interested in the "mystery" of it all.  Shortly thereafter he began his self-taught journey, watching Denny Edwards videos online and purchasing a SegEasy jig and Wood Turner Pro Software.  Using only his father's Shopsmith, Dean handcrafts his vases using more than 1000 pieces of turned wenge, purple heart, oak and maple.  In the photos that Dean provided he is seen posing next to his vases to give viewers an idea of the scale.  Each vase measures around 43-47" tall and takes over 70 hours to create; this is a man dedicated to his new-found love of wood turning.

 If you think Dean's vases are as beautiful as we do, you are in luck!  For the next several weeks we will be showcasing one at our Riverside location, so come take a look.  Dean is also part of the Locals Gallery Show at the Carbondale Mountain Fair at the end of July too if you would like to see more examples of his work.
To inquire about purchasing a vase from Dean he can be contacted via email, or likewise he will be selling his vases on in the near future.