Dennis Zongker, Omaha, NE, US

I have been a professional woodworker for over 28 years and I still like to make sawdust. My brother Dan and I are the owners of Zongkers Custom Furniture and have been in business for over 23 years.

What I enjoy most is making a piece of furniture from the beginning design stages all the way through to the very last finishing stage. When I design and build a piece of furniture my intension's are for the piece of furniture to last 100 years or more.

I love adding the marquetry and carving to furniture and not making it too gaudy by trying to make it as clean as possible. I have dedicated many hours on research and education to achieve the best method and outcome on all my projects. I believe in the importance of preserving the old methods of woodworking.

I have spent a lot of time specializing in carving, marquetry and engineering on AutoCAD. I have engineered over 4,000 different pieces of custom furniture. I have also studied Violin and guitar making, finishing, turning, joinery, and most all aspects of woodworking. I have spent many years on learning techniques in all aspects of woodworking and have taken what I have learned to develop my own methods to achieve the best outcome.

I currently teach box making, carving, marquetry, inlay edge banding and hand cut dovetail classes in my home town. It is very popular with both professional and hobbyist woodworkers. I enjoy sharing what I have learned with each of them.

Specialties: Furniture Designing, Furniture Engineering, Furniture making, Box making, Carving, Marquetry, Wood Turning, Joinery, Wood stain and finishing, teaching, Purchasing, Finance, Production.

Gender: Male

Birthday: 09/14/1962

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Gem Storage Box

This was one of the most enjoyable boxes that I have made so far. The butterfly and Lilies incorporated into the marquetry I have been wanting to do for a long time now. I inlayed some Mother of...

Inlaying Pearl, and Abalone

    Cutting out the Pearl and Abalone and inserting into this marquetry panel was a little time consuming but very enjoyable. Using basically the Window Method for cutting in veneer. Cutting out...

Geo-Ribbon Jewelry Box

To make this box I started off by making the Ribbon Banding which is made out of Holly, Wenge, Walnut, & Maple Hardwoods.   The background veneer is Karelain birch burl and the Marquetry is the...

Chess Table, Queen Style Base

This is a table that I made 15 years ago for a designer here locally. The table was designed to have their last name initial "W" cut into the two sides of the table top in opposing woods. I cut all...

Geometric Carved Panel

This Curly Maple with Oyster sample panel is 18" x 18" Square x 1 3/8" thick. The customer is wanting a full door at 1 3/8" thick x 36" wide x 84" tall which will be for a door that opens up into...

Two Music Boxes: Bocote, Quilted Maple and Wenge

  These two music boxes have the same design except one is made out of Bocote & Wenge, and the other one made out of Quilted Maple & Wenge.   Both music boxes have a 72-note movement installed...

First Father & Son Bed Project

This King Louis XV Rococo style bed was made by both my son Eric and myself. This is our first father and son piece of furniture made together for a customer. Eric turned the four bedposts on the...

Music Box

This music box I made for my wife for Christmas. The music is a 72-note movement. The frame and bun feet are out of Quilted Bubinga and the top and base are out of solid black ebony. The glass has a...

Ball and Claw Lions Foot,"Coffee Table"

This coffee table is 18" tall by 54" square and is placed into a very large and beautiful great room. The customer wanted the legs to have a lion foot gripping a ball similar to the American period...

“Gothic Cat"

This "Gothic Cat" I carved while teaching this class this past few weeks. It was very enjoyable to carve and also to look back at the difference from when I carved the original one in...

The Second, Large Column Carving, of 2500 B.C. Persian King

This is the second carving it is of a king battling a monster. This is the second of the two Persian king carvings for a custom column that I am making for in a customers home. The carving is 18in...

Persian King Large Column Carving

This is the first of two Persian king carvings for a custom column that I am making for in a customers home. The carving is 18-in. x 24-in. and the stain will match the gray slat color on the...

" Green Man 2 "

This is my second carving of the Green Man. I usually use small files to smooth out all the carving knife cuts but on this green man I left all the carving cuts giving it a more natural look. When...

Toning, Staining and Spraying a Polyurethane Finish

Polyurethane is a clear finish topcoat for wood that offers long-lasting protection and also moves with the wood. Polyurethane finishes are much more resistant to moisture and spills and moderate...

How to Cut Decorative Parquetry or Marquetry Using the Window Method

This Marquetry or Decorative Parquetry panel is an insert for a conference table. This is the companies logo, It’s an abstract design of an Black Hawk. The panel size is 24rdquo...

Cartoon Marquetry

A fun take on traditional marquetry.

"Wood Carved Jhoola" Indoor India Swing Bench

I just finished making & carving this unique indoor India swing bench, for a customer, it is also known as the Oonjal or Jhoola. This type of swing bench is not readily available without an...

"Music Box"

This one took me a lot longer then I thought it would. From designing to completion it took me right around six months, working in the evenings and weekends. Putting the sound holes in the bottom and...

Segmented Turned Feet are Easier than You Think

These turned feet looked stunning when all was said and done—and the process is more straight-forward than you might think!

"Green Man"

"Who Is the Green Man?The “Green Man” is the symbol of an ancient character of Nature, recognized and respected by many civilizations and adopted by many religions. His name means the...

England's, Queen Victorian Style, King Bed

My brother, Dan Zongker, met with the customer and designed three pieces of furniture for their bedroom, a bed, dresser, and nightstand. The customer was looking for somethingnbsptraditional...

"Victorian Style Dresser"

The Dresser size is 40" tall x 25 1/4" deep x 74 1/2" long.   It's made out of solid cherry And cherry veneer core plywood. The drawers are out of solid maple.   It took me approximately...

Griffin Table

This piece of furniture took me around 1100 hours to make. Carving and marquetry added to a piece of furniture can really take you back in time. When designing this piece I really wanted to add...

L-Shaped Supports for Carving on Turned Spindles

Whether It's spindles you've turned yourself or if you have purchase them from a supplier, I have found it's easer to carve them by making two L shaped supports. It provides much more...

Teaching My First Carving Class: An Ornamental Sunflower

I'm very excited to be teaching my first carving class, starting on Saturday, May 15th I was asked by Gerry Phelan the owner of, “Midwest Woodworkers,”a well known woodworking store here...

"Game Table"

  This game table was made for a customer to match their chairs. The center is set down 1" with two holes, one on each side to change out the game boards from Chess to backgammon. nbspThe...

"680 Pound Workbench" Made Out Of Old Growth, White Oak

I made my workbench about 8 years ago. It was made out of 100 year old white oak. The Timbers we used for a old beer company in Omaha Nebraska called Falstaff. The Timbers were used to hold up the...

Carved Frame & Marquetry Picture

This was a very interesting project I made for a customer. The baseball player and background, I copied from a tee shirt. Which is one of their logos. Farwell, Nebraska is a very small town somewhere...

"Santa Claus" Cookies and Milk Cabinet

I made this for my Daughter Justine, for her children for Christmas. This is a good way for Santa Claus to get his cookies and milk safely so that the dog and cat won't get to them firstnbspThe...

"Marquetry, Christmas Gifts"

I’m taking a break from the serious woodworking and decided to make Christmas presents this year. There is a total of 20 marquetry pictures and frames. The Lion size is 3/4” x 12rdquox...

Chess Set, Table, & Chairs

First by making the chess set pieces. Then to add every piece into the actual table and chairs. 1. The top has parquetry around the outer border showing the castle move, were the Rooks protect the...

Cameo, Jewelry Box

It’s based off the Cameo necklace, which first appeared around the time of Alexander the Great. This distinctive piece of jewelry has enjoyed popularity throughout classical times. the...

Boxes With & Without, Marquetry & Carving

This is the same style of box. One with & without carving & marquetry. The Hardwood is out of Africa Mahogany & Ebony. The marquetry is out of Maple Burl, Ebony, Bloodwood, Walnut...

Miniature Table 1" Scale

I just finished making this little miniature," V"-shaped Video conferencing table for a show coming up this week. I had some scrap ribbon striped mahogany hardwood left in stock. Also I used solid...

My 1st Published Article

I received a call from Shannon Flowers, the editor of Wood Carving Illustrated, asking if I would be interested in doing an artical on relief carving on an old piece of furniture? I agreed and...

Gothic Cat Carving

When I first started carving ten years ago. I spent most of my time sharping my carving gouges. On this "Gothic cat" I diden't use any sand paper. I was really trying to make it look like old world...

Stylish Box

  Two months ago my sister died at the young age of 44, while I was designing this box, so I named it after her, "Little Sister" It is made out of solid Ribbon Stripped Mahogany...

Griffin, End Table

This piece of furniture took me around 1100 hours to make. Carving and marquetry added to a piece of furniture can really take you back in time. When designing this piece I really wanted to add...

Company Crest

This is a crest I hand carved for my brother and I. The Z. B. stands for “ZONGKER BROTHERS” It’s mounted on a wall in are office. This was my 15th carving, dated 10-16-2001, time...

Lion Carvings, Our Company's Mascot

I hand carved both of these lion’s seven years ago. I mostly carved them for fun. They were my 11th & 12th carvings. They turn out better then expected, so my brother and I decided to make...

Purple Heart, Medal of Honour

This replica scales seven-times the original size medal. It was carved from one solid piece of PurpleHeart hardwood. This exotic wood undergoes a degree of color change over time. It begins with a...

Acanthus Leaf Theme, Dinning Table & Chairs

This old world dinning table and chairs, I made five years ago for a customer in 2004. The top's marquetry has eight french acanthus leafs around the top. And a center acanthus flower in bloom in the...

Chess Table, Chairs & Chess Pieces

This is the first of three sets that I made. I made this set ten years ago. The other two I made seven years ago. All three sets are made out of American Black Walnut, & Hard...

Decorative Parquetry, Dinning Table

This 54" diameter table top has Maple, Birch, & Ebony. I cut the parquetry with a scalpel, using the "Window Method" 

Stylish Box

Made out of solid Ribbion stripped Mahogany, & Ebony for the hardwood. And Bloodwood, Myrtle Burl, Walnut, & Edbony for the marquetry. Size is 9" wide x 13" long x 5 1/2" tall.

Recent comments

Re: Gem Storage Box

Thank you Markbarabas, for the complement.

I fined it much easer to just buy the veneers already dyed to the right shade of color for what I'm looking for. A good place for that is B&B Rare Woods

To color your own veneers you can get the dyes already to go at which can be cost effective, but a little messy and time consuming. Good luck to you, I hope this helps.

Re: Gem Storage Box

RyGuy,Thank you very much for the complement .

Re: Presidential Jewelery Box

Beautiful box, clean and crisp elegant design.

Re: Cocobolo, Wenge & Bird's Eye Maple Humidor

Very Nice Design, the wood color combination is very elegant.

Re: Bold Nebraska Table

That is one beautiful table, I had seen this before, and had to come back for a second look.

Re: Music Box

Thank you, Tom77

Re: Silas Kopf: Majoring in Marquetry

Very nice video and article, Silas Kopf is one of my favorite furniture makers. He has been a big inspiration to me and my marquetry. I want to thank you Jon for all your articles, you always publish a wide variety of craftsmen and different styles.

Re: " Green Man 2 "

“Who Is the Green Man?
The “Green Man” is the symbol of an ancient character of Nature, recognized and respected by many civilizations and adopted by many religions. His name means the “Green One’ he is the voice of inspiration to the hopeful and committed artist.
The sign of his presence is the ability to work or experience with tireless enthusiasm beyond one’s normal capacities. In this there may be a link across cultures; one reason for the enthusiasm of the medieval sculptors for the Green Man may be that he was the source of inspiration.”He is the symbol of the eternal cycle of Nature, the mysterious figure who dies and is reborn each year.
He is a part of interwoven beliefs and customs associated with planting and sowing, with harvest and the autumn the seeming death of Nature in winter, followed by the miracle of rebirth in the spring.
Every culture has a tale about a spirit that lives in the forest or in the trees. In ancient Europe this spirit represented the new life of spring… the voice of the primordial forest. The Green Man or Foliate Head are just two of many names given to the representations of this forest spirit.
My carving of “Green Man” is 3 1/2” Thick x 14” Wide x 17 1/2” Long, made out of Basswood. There are so many different styles of green man.

Re: Duncan Phyfe: Master Cabinetmaker

Hi Ed,
This is a great video about Duncan Phyfe. I'm a big fan of furniture history, his style is very similar to the French Empire and Regency Britain around the early to min 19th century. Have you ever heard of Francois Linke?

Thank you for showing some history of a great master furniture maker. It would be very cool if you did a lot more of this kind of thing.

Re: Virgin of the Rocks, Leonardo Da Vinci

Beautiful! That is a great looking picture of marquetry. Bravo!!!

Re: Cartoon Marquetry

Hi kmack, Thank you for your support. I looked at your work, and you make some beautiful furniture. Keep up the great work!

Re: How to Cut Decorative Parquetry or Marquetry Using the Window Method

Hi frostman, I have never repaired wallpaper so I can't compare. You only have one post so I'm guessing that your trying to get to me somehow. Your very funny. I just started laughing at your statement. Good luck to you and your wall papering. lol

Re: How to Cut Decorative Parquetry or Marquetry Using the Window Method

Hi knoxmtn, Thank you for the complement. This method is an old and well respected way of cutting veneer before their were scroll saws. When I cut on the scroll saw I cut up to ten different pieces at a time. Their are many different styles and ways to cut veneer. It is up to you if you like this way are not. The next time you get ready to cut some veneer give this style a try and see what you think. Thank you.

Re: Cartoon Marquetry

Hi Ihsat, Thank you for your opinion, The customer wanted two picture frames with cartoon marquetry. They were very happy with the outcome. I was wondering if I should have posted these here on Fine Woodworking, the best in woodworking which I have the highest of respect for. I will ask the editor if I should remove this project. The next time I do something fun like this, I will get permission first.

Re: "Music Box"

Thank you fellow woodworkers, for you complements.

Re: Segmented Turned Feet are Easier than You Think

Hi North49th, I should have put down the cutting angle, The angle for cutting is 22.5 degrees. So with 8 legs x 16 sides = 360 degrees. The template and the legs are booth cut at a 22.5 degrees.

Re: Segmented Turned Feet are Easier than You Think

Thank you fellow woodworkers for the complements,

yoav_liberman, I would ask Ed Pirnik or Gina Eide on how to save it. They are the web editors and producers.

stikk, I should be done with the music box in about a month or so and will show the pictures. Thank you.

Re: Miter Spline Jig

This is one super nice jig! You should get many years of good woodworking use out of it.

Re: Tip-Top Tables Contest: We Have a Winner!

I wanted to thank Fine woodworking for the opportunity in the Tip Top Table contest. It was fun & exciting all the way to the end. Congratulations to Chad on he's table.

Re: Griffin Table

Hi Muehly,

I work on the Griffin Table off and on for two years.

Re: L-Shaped Supports for Carving on Turned Spindles

Hi John1910,

Thanks for the complements.

Here are some more pictures of the L Supports, showing closer detail of how they are used.

Re: Segemented Turning

WOW!!! That is incredible. Great job!!!

Re: Federal Sideboard

Very nice! Your craftsmanship looks great. I also like your design. Is this your design?

Re: Classical Style Contest Winners: John Kizer and Michael Henderson

Congratulations John Kizer!!! You did a incredible job on this Boston Bombe.

Re: Not Your Father's Entertainment Center, but it looks like it at first.

Great looking Entertainment center!!! I really like the pull out dvd units. Sweet Design.

Re: Chess Set, Table, & Chairs

Thank you Woodswarrior, for the complement.

I have four hidden drawers, their on both sides of the table.
These hidden drawers are for storing all the chess pieces.

Re: Chess Set, Table, & Chairs

Thank you Tommor85

It took my a long time. The design of the table and chairs took the longest. I worked on the design for about six months.

Re: Eagle Wings and Tail feathers.

Very Beautiful. Great job!!!!

Re: Full Dress Aaron Burr Desk

Beautiful!!! Great job.

Re: Bubinga & Maple Credenza

Very Nice, Great job on the design & craftsmanship.

Re: Coffee Table

Very nice! I really like your design.

Re: "Lion" locomotive model

WOW!!! That is incredible. Thanks for sharing.

Re: A box of drawers

Great Job Gary!!! This box is incredible,

Re: My Nightmares and Dreams

That is one cool box!!!

Re: Griffin, End Table

Thank you John & jbfmlm1 for your kind complements. It's a great feeling to have other craftsman complement other craftsman.

Re: Purple Heart, Medal of Honour

Hi Kmack, Thank you for you kind words. I only carve by hand. I have 60 carving knifes,I use "Pfeil" a swiss made carving gouges. And I sharpen my knifes on a "Tormek water cooled sharping system.

Re: Chess Set

You did a great job on this set and board. You must be a chess player to?

Re: Chess Table, Chairs & Chess Pieces

Thank you for the complements Haldeman. It helps that I love to play chess. Are you a chess player yourself?

Re: Sideboard

Beautiful Design. Looks like you put good use to your veneer flitch.

Re: Tansu Style Chest

Very classy design. Very nice craftsmanship. Do you have any any close up pictures?

Re: Ladies Federal Writing Desk

Excellent Craftsmanship!!! Do you have any close up pictures? It would be nice to see more details. Congratulations on your award!

Re: Stylish Box

Hi Krassel, I first, had to model this box in clay before I could start cutting wood. Thank you for the complements.

Re: Shadows of Night

Very nice. Is the front done in marquetry? What style of marquetry?

Re: Ole Boulle

Hi Gregg, Incredible as usual. You make some very beautiful pieces of art. Is that a picture of you in marquetry on your profile picture?

Re: arched top hope chest

Hi kmack, I really love this design. Excellent craftsmanship. You did a great job on this. Thanks for sharing your hope chest.

Re: Stylish Box

Hi Little1, I designed it for my Sister. She died around three months ago. She was 44 years old. I named the box "Little sister". Thank you for your kind complements.

Re: Stylish Box

Hi Gofigure57, Thank you for the complement.

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