Bruce Beeken | Jeff Parsons
Our Experience

Bruce & Jeff
Bruce Beeken

Bruce was born in Hanover, NH, in 1953 and, except for a two-year stay in Seattle, lived there until 1965 when his family moved to Vermont. "When I was a boy I wanted to be an Indian. I wore moccasins most of the time there wasn't snow and tried to move through the woods silently. I learned to paddle a canoe quietly, feathering my paddle without its leaving the water. Most of the family vacations I remember were spent backpacking in the White Mountains, the Cascades or the Adirondacks. One of my father's gifts to me was feeling at home in the woods. Later, I built a cedar canvas canoe in a friend's barn and paddle it still. After high school I found a position making innovative canoes and small boats with a retired architect. That winter my transportation was a lightweight pair of wood skis and the trip to the boat shop was along a trail I cut. Spring thaw provided some interesting challenges. I hadn't realized what would become of that little stream the trail crossed. It was the building part of boat building that really caught my attention.

There seemed to be more freedom in building furniture given the wide array of techniques and design possibilities, so I set out to learn furniture making, first as an apprentice and then as a student in Boston. My hunch proved to be right for me. I noticed another student there whose first project was making a wooden backpack frame and found out who he was. There was no way of knowing then that in time a business would bear his last name and mine. It's not just the exciting moments of furniture making that I like, but some of the mundane as well; a neatly cut stack of tenoned rails, the special aroma of wood drying in the kiln, the particular sound of a well-sharpened edge as it does its work.


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