MiVT: Ted Beebe woodturning

Published: Jun. 1, 2020 at 2:42 PM EDT
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Snowbirds who come back to Vermont from Florida are supposed to quarantine for two weeks. That's been no problem for a woodworker from Fletcher who's been busy in his shop looking for new ways to "turn" heads with his Made in Vermont bowls.

In the world of woodturning, Ted Beebe's unique approach produces bowls that are original wonders. "I can use the same process over and over, using various kinds of woods and never get the same result, and so I like that," Beebe said.

Beebe has been a wood worker his entire life, but it wasn't until about 10 years ago when his wife Kathy convinced him to start making wooden bowls. He had owned a lathe machine for decades, but it was just collecting dust. Now it creates sawdust and plenty of it.

Most of the wood comes from the family farm in Swanton where Beebe was raised. Bowls created out of wooden segments are his favorite. It could take up to a year before he sees a finished product. Beebe puts the wood in the lathe while it's still green, but will turn it a second time several months later, after the wood has had a chance to dry out and distort. "Here's a piece that's been sitting for a while and you can see it's not round anymore. Now I will do a final turning on it," he said.

Competitions are the reason for his outside-the-box -- or in this case, outside-the-bowl -- thinking. He won his first intermediate level best in show ribbon in Florida six years ago. I didn't expect it and I walked in and I saw it sitting there and I was really blown away," he said.

Beebe's technique and creations are being featured in magazines in the U.S. and Great Britain. The first of three "American Woodturners" magazine profiles on Beebe comes out this month. An article will focus on his wood-turned guitars. The first took about three-months to make. "When it occurred to me how to build it, then there was no turning back, I had to do it," he said.

"The thing about woodturning is that you never can master it. There's so many options going forward for me and for everybody," Beebe said.

Beebe likes to create things that haven't been done before, turning something special out of the unpredictable.