Builders of the Pacific Coast Book (32)

Godfrey Stephens' Junk-Rigged Snookwis

…An ancient Nitnat canoe (carved from one cedar tree), which Godfrey rebuilt in the ’70s. It’s sheathed in copper, with an underwater Nautilus window and a tiny stainless steel wood stove; there’s room for two. Tilikum (Godfrey’s daughter) is now the caretaker of the boat and keeps it in Port Townsend, Washington…

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Tom's Cabin

It started as a “Tall Barn” prefab kit from Tuff Shed (which has a large selection of pre-fabbed little structures). It was about $4,000 for the structure, exterior walls, roof deck, floor, and floor framing, delivered on a truck. Studs are 2×4’s two feet on center. Exterior walls are ⅜″ particle board with a wood grain pattern. Tom insulated the inside walls and roof with R-11 fiberglass batting, then used ⅜″ CD plywood for sheathing…

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Jan's Cabin

“As I was finishing it, nailing the last shake on the roof, a surveyor came along.” Bad news: The building was completely on his neighbors’ land. What else to do but move it? He jacked up the building, slid four logs underneath, put axle grease on them, and with a come-along, a 5-wheel block and tackle, and 1″ steel cable, skidded the building up onto the logs, onto four other logs and then onto the repositioned original logs, a distance of 70 feet onto his own property.

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Godfrey Stephens' Toomany Pocketts Sailing Vessel

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Godfrey Stephens’ latest sailboat is this little 12′ San Francisco Bay Pelican, a model designed in 1959 by Bill Short.

It’s a much beloved boat among sailors. Godfrey worked on and off customizing it. A leeboard on the side provides lateral resistance; this way he doesn’t need a centerboard, and can go up on the beach…

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Bill Heick's Northern California Home

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Photo by Lloyd Kahn

Bill’s piece of land is at the end of a two-mile dirt road. His 1900 sq. ft. house has a pentagonal floor plan with an 800-year-old salvaged old-growth redwood log as the center post. There are 21 Douglas fir rafters that Bill peeled and then sanded with an auto-body grinder. There are structural posts under eleven of the rafters. In between the posts are 2″×6″ studs with traditional plaster walls.

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Jay Nelson and Friends Visit Godfrey Stephens in Victoria, BC Yesterday

Photo by Godfrey Stephens

Photo by Godfrey Stephens

Jay and 3 surfers are on a surf/photo trip on Vancouver Island for a Surfer’s Journal article, traveling in a camper Jay built. Yesterday they visited Godfrey. In this photo (Jay at left), they’re looking into the cabin of Godfrey’s latest sailboat. I’m hoping they get a chance to visit Godfrey’s best friend, master builder and surfer Bruno Atkey.

Both Godfrey and Bruno are featured in our book Builders of the Pacific Coast.

Jay’s San Francisco home is featured in our forthcoming book Small Homes.

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