carpentry (68)

Bruce Baillie’s Timber-Framed Bridge in British Columbia

Photo from Godfrey Stephens

From Bruce Baillie, who rode his 1969 Moto Guzzi motorcycle 28,000 miles to Central America in 2012-13. His story is on pp. 130-31 of Tiny Homes on the Move. Now he’s back in British Columbia, and just sent us this.

…my latest building which I framed up last summer. It’s a log structure that’s built on an old logging bridge at the zip line I helped build 10 years ago. I felled the trees on site, limbed them, bucked them to length and yarded them out of the bush with a big truck using blocks hung in trees for lift. I then framed it all up and put a bright red tin roof on it. It was all very exciting as the drop to the river below was about 45 ft. from the rooftop.

The guy ran out of money at that point but we’ll finish it this summer. There are 6 separate zip lines on this site; the last one runs under the bridge where this building is. Goofy (Godfrey Stephens) has a picture of me standing inside the building with my Harley chopper parked nearby.

Last fall I worked for a guy in the city; while I was there I bought a steel sailboat 34 ft. long that was supposed to be scrapped. Long story short: I traded straight across for this custom Harley chopper that I rode for a bit and then sold to pay for a trip to Cuba last month. It’s great to have grown up around guys like Bruno (Atkey) and Goofy while young: being around interesting people in turn helped cultivate my lifestyle into what it’s been. Life is good. I still ride my old Moto Guzzi.

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Progress on Tiny Room

I picked up these used French doors at Urban Ore in Berkeley. They have brass door hardware and wavy glass. Installed by Billy Cummings. The exterior is pretty close to being finished. The plan is to have the bed on wheels so I can roll it out onto the deck to sleep out under the stars on dry nights.

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Barn in Oregon Framed with 1″ Lumber

curved roof barn

I’ve been going through old photos lately. I shot photos of this beautiful barn in 2014. I posted it back then, but I think it’s worth looking at it again, in more detail. Here’s what I wrote:

There are buildings that have — for lack of a better word — a sweetness to them. Like this barn, like a small abandoned cottage in an English field I once found, slowly disintegrating back into the soil from which all its materials came. Inside, I could feel the lives that had been lived there. Or the buildings of master carpenter Lloyd House. It happens most frequently in barns, where practicality and experience create form with function. Architecture without architects.

The unique feature here is that the roof’s curve is achieved by building the rafters out of 1″ material. 1 × 12s laminated together (I believe 4 of them) to achieve the simplest of laminated trusses. The barn is 24′ wide, 32′ long, 26′ to the ridge. (Thanks to Mackenzie Strawn for measuring it; he also wrote: “I have a carpentry manual from the 1930’s with a short section on the Gothic arch barns, they suggest making the roof radius ¾ of the width.”


1 by 12’s. It looks like they are laminated, then a curve is cut along the outer edge. Brilliant carpentry!

This is similar to the construction of the Nepenthe restaurant in Big Sur: framed entirely with laminated 1″ lumber

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Shelter’s Seven Building Books

Shelter publications published its first book in 1970 — 48 years ago. In that amount of time, we have published about 50 books — about one per year. It seems to take us forever to do each book, but what we’ve learned is that when we put in the time and money to do books this way, they tend to have a long shelf life.

These are our seven building books, starting with Shelter in 1973. Each of these has over 1000 photographs and is densely packed with information. They form a body of work, and I’m pretty proud of them.

In a way, this is the end of an era for us. I’m going to a different format with our next two or three books: smaller size, larger and less photographs, less text.

Shameless Commerce Department: They are all available at, with free shipping and a 30% discount for three or more books. Stores get a 50% discount (plus shipping charges) for bulk orders.

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Custom Home Built on British Columbia Island by Lloyd House

This is my favorite home in the world. Built by Lloyd House and featured in Builders of the Pacific Coast, it’s on a small island in British Columbia. When I first saw it, it took my breath away. It was just perfect. The materials, the size, the shape, the way it fit into the environment as if it had grown there.

Funny thing: After 40+ years photographing builders and their buildings, I meet the builder of my dreams, and his name is Lloyd — House!

Even though we seldom see each other, we’re good friends. He’s built dozens of wonderful buildings in his career — most of them shown in the above book.

BTW, this is my favorite of all seven of our building books. It’s a story, an odyssey, from start to finish, hanging out with these wonderful people in British Columbia and documenting their unique creations. My intent was to take the reader along, riding shotgun, in my excursions to this land of wood and water.

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