Carpentry & Woodworking

Parent Q&A

Select any title to view the full question and replies.

  • Carpentry

    (2 replies)

    Hi - I'm looking for someone with good carpentry skills for a couple of jobs - 1.  I have a new oven and it's smaller than the old one, so need a carpenter to make a wood front to fill in the gap, or to create a shelf; and 2 - I have a small wooden table 2 feet by 4 feet that needs legs.  Recommendations would be most welcome.  I live in Berkeley.

    Thank you,

    I recommend contacting Justin of JustinCredible Home Services. He can do small or large carpentry jobs. He’s done wonderful work for us, and is really nice, too!

    +1 (628) 777-4861
    jsborn [at]

    I would recommend contacting Shaeedah of Creative Carpenters. She does all kinds of carpentry projects. She beautifully restored my big, old redwood windows earlier this fall to be fully operational. She's talented in problem-solving, listens carefully to what's needed, and does careful and quality work. Shaeedah 510-575-2655

  • Carpenter rate

    (1 reply)

    Have you had any carpentry done lately? We were quoted $120 a hour for a carpenter and I’m wondering if that’s the going rate. 

    I work in the commercial construction field. My current project is in the planning stages so I don't have the labor rates yet for this year, but on a project that finished in 2020, unioned carpenter apprentice is $96/hr, journeyman is approximately $100/hr, and foreman approximately $110/hr. I would say $120/hr for year 2022 is acceptable if you are working with unioned workers journeyman or above. These are standard rates, not overtime). 

  • Hello everyone! I'm looking for someone who will be able to work with me to design and build a small custom kitchen island made of wood. Any recommendations?

    I highly recommend Paul Murphy -

    He built cabinets and a vanity for my bathroom, really nice guy and beautiful work. 

    I had a small kitchen island designed and built 2 years ago by Berkeley Mills   They do gorgeous work - you can visit their showroom in Berkeley. But they are expensive!  They use high-end materials and employ skilled craftsmen&women.  Their designer spent several hours with me in person and online, tweaking the design to fit into my small-ish craftsman-style kitchen. The island is only big enough to accommodate 2 bar stools but it gives me 5 feet of needed extra counter space.  Plus, it is a work of art!  I love it so much.

  • Furniture Fabricator

    (1 reply)

    Hello, looking to get a kitchen nook bench, book cases, bed frame, and french doors made. Looking for any recommendations, thanks!

    I recommend Paul Murphy. He built custom cabinets and vanity for our bathroom. They are beautiful and he was wonderful to work with.

  • Dry Rot repair

    (1 reply)

    Any recommendations for dry rot repair in Berkeley, wood siding 1904 home?  Need repair around window sills, etc.  Thank you!

    I found William’s contact (510-719-0968) at Berkeley Parents Network, and I totally recommend him. He is reliable, trustworthy, and extremely knowledgeable.

    William has done 4 projects in my house. He built a fence on my front yard,  expanded a half-bathroom into a full bathroom, renovated my other full bathroom, and fixed wood siding in my 1924 house in Berkeley. 

    I was very impressed with his knowledge and his project management skills. He's very efficient and completed all the projects in less time than originally expected. He also bought all the necessary materials on time.

    He is also extremely clean. Everyday, workers would clean up the site, and he would take all debris and work materials. At the end of the projects, we barely had left overs of materials.

    My wife and I are very happy with the outcome. If you need a contractor, I would totally recommend  William

    Here's his phone number: (510) 719-0968

  • My lintel and other areas of my small, one-story house have some dry rot. I need someone to identify these problem areas, replace the rotted wood with new wood as well as prep and paint all of the exterior wood trim. All recommendations hugely appreciated. 

    I can give you two recommendations for the work you wish to have performed. For the carpentry work I suggest you call Gene at 510-845-3516 and for the painting reach out to Jackie at 510-910-2953. I have known and hired both of these professionals for many years and for a multitude of projects. They are very good at what they specialize in and have a wide range of talent and experience. In addition, they are honest, friendly, reliable and their fees are very reasonable. You will be glad you hired them if you choose to do so.

  • We're interested in adding some built-in bookshelves to our living room. I'm having a hard time finding a carpenter who's interested in taking on a project this small and/or come to Oakland. Anyone have any recommendations? 

    Thanks in advance!

    Zeke Pratt has done both large and small jobs for me. Book cases and decks are a specialty of his. He'll be available in a couple of weeks, I think, as he is finishing up something for me now. His # is 510 289 5107. He is from a family of carpenters/contractors. They're all good.

    Try our guy, he's a very good, carpenter by trade, excellent workmanship. He takes his time and works slow but the end result is worth it if you have the patience. Andy Sanos (510) 435-6285‬ Let him know that Leanne and Justin highly recommend him and his crew! 

    I just had built-in bookshelves made by a wonderful carpenter named Greg whose website is He was very affordable, detail-oriented, and wonderful to work with! 

  • We need a skilled handyman or carpenter to adjust a nice day bed frame for us (drilling holes in frame to lower the bed). It isn't a big job, but has to be precise! Any recommendations would be most gratefully accepted. Thanks!

    I have used Gene Wiens for this type of project and many more as he is an accomplished carpenter/handyman. His number is: 510-845-3516.

  • Crown moulding

    (1 reply)

    Hello. I am looking for someone to install crown moulding in my home. Any suggestions are appreciated. Thanks. 

    Eamon Fahy is a finish carpenter who has the skill, knowledge and tools to install your crown moulding. I have used him several times for similar projects and he always has done a very fine job. His number is:510-761-3844.

  • Hello,

    I am looking for a recommendation for someone to build a wooden gate for our narrow driveway. We don't need a fence so I'm not sure a fencing company will do such a small job. Perhaps a carpenter or handyman that can build and install the gate. 

    I suggest you call a carpenter named Gene Wiens at 510-845-3516. He has undertaken many projects for me over the past several years and has always done a fine job at a reasonable price. Plus he takes pride in his work.

    I had a part of fence replaced by Walter Nix, an experienced carpenter.  He did clean, excellent work and I'd recommend him.  He has extensive knowledge about most contractor stuff which is a bonus.  His number is 510 504 0670

  • We are looking for a recommendation for great and reasonable carpenter who can build us a new fence and a built in outdoor reading nook. Thanks for your recommendations

    Walter Nix is an excellent carpenter working out of Oakland.  Creative with high quality craftsmanship. 510 504 0670

  • Custom bookcases - seeking recommendation

    (2 replies)

    I would like to have built-in bookcases installed on three walls of my small living room, and need help dealing with baseboard heaters and other oddities.  I don't have any relevant skills, so I would like to hire someone to build these.  I am looking for someone who is experienced, skilled, and vouched-for.  However, I can't afford to hire an expensive carpenter.  Can anyone recommend a skilled (but reasonably priced) contractor to install practical and attractive (but not fancy) shelving in my small home?  Thank you!!

    We use Lopez Carpentry. Pedro crafted new fences for our home, as well as solved some tricky interior cabinet issues that no one else could figure out. And he is (in my experience) quite affordable. Don't be put off by his somewhat laconic demeanor. He is shy but quite skilled. Pedro Lopez, (415) 259-7783 or lopez8271 [at] gmail.

    Kermit Franks of Native Sons Construction has decades of experience with built-in bookshelves 7074947786. He is works out of the east bay and north bay and has several references.

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Looking for carpenter to construct custom kitchen island

Feb 2012

We would like to have a custom kitchen island built using reclaimed wood from a 1900s parlor organ. Recommendations for a carpenter who is up for the challenge would be much appreciated! Melanie

I know a wonderful furniture maker/ woodworker who did our kitchen cabinets and makes beautiful furniture pieces. I'm sure he could help you with your unique project. His name is Gary and his company is called Rahn Woodworking. He's great to work with and really knows his stuff. He's also reasonably priced. Give him a call, you won't regret it. Gary: 510-862- 6528 Nina

There is a craftsman by the name of Thomas Harder. He lives in Berkeley and is one of those who uses the old tools like hand planers.He might be a good fit for you. I think he has a web page: Thomas Harder Furniture. He has done a custom vanity for my renovated master bath, and it is exquisite. lp

Matt Gibbs is a very talented wood worker, and does large or small projects. he is patient, easy to work with and with a good design sense. He is a delight to work with, pays attention to detail and sticks to the timeline. Highly recommend him. Cynthia

Feb 2011

I can highly recommend Mark Feinberg (Mobile: 510-282-7472 mark [at] as a handyman/carpenter. He recently rebuilt a cupboard for us in our garage. It was a miserable job. He had to work in a very tight space that required much measuring and realigning. Mark diligently tackled the project, giving us a space that we now are very happy with at a reasonable rate. lmac

2009 - 2010 Reviews

Skilled carpenter/handyman needed

Nov 2010

We have an old house that needs alot of things updated. Can anyone recommend a handyman who also is a skilled carpenter. We have had handymen work on our house but were not capable of matching the quality. Anon

I highly recommend Danny Beltram (Diamond Handyman)-510-633-1488. He has done lots of very skilled carpentry for us, as well as excellent dry rot work, painting, and other jobs. laura

Skilled all-around small contractor/carpenter: I have the perfect guy for you. (I've recommended him before but I'll do it again bc he has new contact info): Glen Larsen glenlarsen [at] glenalexlarsen [at] Why? Because Glen designed and built: * a beautiful entrance to my yard with an arbor over it, and two internal seats (along with building the fence); * an arbor over my small deck. It's in character with the house and is charming. He planted wisteria and night-blooming jasmine which grow on the fences and arbors. When I need *anything* done on my rental (which was previously my home for 27 years), I call Glen Larsen. He and his partner, Juan, are so handy, trustworthy, cost-efficient and great to have around. No stress when I need any repairs or maintenance done: I just call them. Over the years, I have had Glen and Juan do everything from interior and exterior painting, plumbing, electrical (repairs and new work), install new windows, design and build fences, flagstone decks, all kinds of repairs...a long list. I like to recommend them bc: * I get good reports back from friends they do work for; * I believe they have saved me so much stress and money over the years; * They're great guys. jessica

Construction carpenter with aesthetics?

Oct 2009

As an artist, I have a vision and drawings of a relatively simple facelift on my garage/studio. So far, the contractors that I've met with have been competent but don't share my aesthetics. One went so far as to suggest that I scrap my plans and just put in two steel screen doors! aaarrrggg! So I'm still looking for someone with a sense of style and ''green-ness''. Of course, it's all on a budget too. Any ideas? Thanks much. holly

without a doubt the man you want to talk to is Robert Leitz at Decade Construction 925-938-2410 Geraldine

Nathan Parks 510-812-8111. He's very good at figuring out good looking ways around problem areas and finding solutions that work. juliette

Hello Holly, I recently recommended Idan Bearman on BPN for someone who was looking for a treehouse builder. Idan built the treehouse for my kid and was a real pleasure to work with- very open and accommodating but at the same time full of ideas and suggestions. He had a great way about him in the way he layed out all the options with their pros and cons and allowed me to make an informed decision. I appreciated him not being over bearing like some professionals are when dealing with a woman. Idan has done a few more projects for me since and every time I'm amazed at his attention to detail, craftsmanship and overall excellence. He is also a certified Green Builder which for me was very important. His work phone is 510 830 7927 and his email is bearmanandsons [at] Aliss

Small Carpentry job - create access in kitchen ceiling

Oct 2009

I had a leak into my kitchen from my second floor bath tub. I need someone who can make a small wood access panel for the kitchen ceiling. It is a small job but needs someone who can problem solve and make this ready to be painted, along with the rest of the ceiling. Any suggestions will be appreciated. Many thanks! Barbara

I can highly recommend Idan of Bearman and Sons for what you need. He patched a leak in my roof and fixed the extensive water damage to the 2 walls affected by this leak, including framing and drywall repair. He did a great job. In the past couple of years I've hired Idan to refurbish my deck, replace windows, fix and replace doors and other carpentry/remodeling projects. He is always punctual, neat, accommodating and very nice to work with. He takes the time to explain what he is doing and map out all the options for us to decide. Every job that he's done for us has come out better than I expected. He is also very willing to share his knowledge and was very helpful when I decided to try some do-it-yourself projects. Idan's phone # is 510 830 7927 and his email is bearmanandsons [at] Check him out, you won't regret it. Molly

David Ruiz is a handyman who does small, interesting jobs like this. He can send you pictures of projects if you email him at vacaflaca75 [at] He is honest, reliable and clever. Tel: 510-499-3196 happy client

will perez does excellent quality work at reasonable rates. creative, courteous, reliable. his cell is 415-806-3859 avi

Carpenter to rebuild garage roof

June 2009

Looking for a builder or carpenter to frame and rebuild roof for a garage. Someone with a lot of framing experience.

Peter Sontag is a framer here in Berkeley. He's got a reputation for being honest and doing good work, and that's certainly how I've known him. He installed a security door for me, and I plan to hire him to replace some windows and another exterior door. He's a general contractor, and specializes in framing. His website is Best of luck with your project.

I highly recommend Ruben Moncada of Tougher than Tough construction (650.245.1723 imathumpin [at] He has worked on several jobs for me and other friends, has integrity and does the job right. Ruben is a licensed general contractor with 17yrs experience and grew up in a family of contractors. He is very versatile and can do remodels(kitchen, bath), rough framing(pick-up), finish carpentry, retrofits, lite electrical/plumbing. You can read more glowing recommendations for him at: Catherine

I recommend Neal Cassidy for your carpentry needs. He's responsive, trustworthy and does quality work. He did a small carpentry job for me recently. I called several carpenters/handymen for estimates. Neal was the first person to return my call and came over the next morning to give me an estimate. When the others called back they were either too busy to give me an estimate, too expensive or told me the job was too small and not interested. Neal did the job in a very timely manner and was very affordable. Neal Cassidy (510) 375- 8189 nealybug [at]

Carpenter to build wall-to-wall shelving

April 2009

We are seeking a professional to build wall-to-wall shelving at close to ceiling height (above windows/doors) in two or three rooms of our Crafstman (ish) home in Berkeley - simple in design, 8 to 12 inches deep. Do you have a recommendation for someone who could do this?

Handyman? Carpenter? Cabinet Maker? Contractor? Someone who would do an excellent job at a reasonable cost, and wouldn't consider this job ''too small''. Have you done, or considered, something similar? Who did you use (or, if you did it yourself, any advice?) Thanks very much. Needing high shelves built

We had a floor-to-ceiling shelving unit built to match a pre- existing one in our Elmwood home by Rick Patterson--It was pretty expensive but absolutely worth it--the craftmanship was above reproach, it really matched the old one perfectly. Rick even experimented with paints to get an exact match with the old color--we're still not sure how he did it. I believe his cell phone is: 510-978-1786 and the email is: rick [at] Matt

Consider having the shelves recessed into the walls. It might cost a bit more but you don't eat up so much space in your rooms and it looks really great. Any finish carpenter can do this for you if you have the design figured out. You might try Andrew Isley - he's inexpensive, does the design work and can build it or give you plans for someone else to build. (510) 502-4411 Judiah

I highly recommend Michel (pronounced like ''Michelle'') von Papen for this type of work. He just did the installation of our new kitchen cabinets, and did all the finish woodwork also. He installed trim and baseboards, decorative trim on our island base, and built my very favorite part of the kitchen, a 6'' deep, floor-to-ceiling pantry. He is very creative and talented and has any woodworking tool you can think of, to cut, trim, sand, drill, etc. He's a master woodworker, and can fabricate some pieces in his workshop, but also can build on-site (his van is a traveling workshop). He's excellent, friendly, mellow, and decently priced. 925-639-9110. heidi

Outdoor Stair Railing and Carpenter needed

Jan 2009

Can someone recommend a contractor to design and install a handrail for our outdoor front-entryway stairs. We need to add a railing per our insurance company. Also, we are looking for a DETAIL-ORIENTED, professional handyman/carpenter. We have tried two already for different jobs and have been disappointed by their lack of attention to detail and design-sense. Help! We can't handle anymore so-so or shoddy workmanship. We are looking for someone who takes pride in their work and strives for perfection, and a complete and polished job.

We were incredibly happy with the work carpenter/design-builder/general carpenter Joshua Tomlinson completed on a small but detail oriented job (replacing trim on garage door and one window). I am very ''picky'', but Joshua met and exceeded my expectations. I wish we had more projects for him to do, because I know he would do them well. He is a photographer as well, and has some beautiful deck and furniture designs on his website. He's Google-able: I think his business is called ''Design-Build Dialogue,'' in El Cerrito. I would re-hire him in a flash. Carey

Try Haven Builders--Rick, the owner, is so meticulous and thoughtful. They did a smaller kitchen remodel for us a couple of years ago and it turned out beautifully--his small crew was extremely conscientious about keeping things clean everyday and worked around our family's erratic schedule. I can't rememer the email address but his cell phone number is: 510-978-1786 Lisa

Jan 2009

Re: Carpenter for Waldorf style playloft

I highly recommend Craig Britton for carpentry. I've used Craig over and over again the last three years for a lot of different projects, small and large. Craig can do any kind of carpentry work from the most basic repairs to designing custom built-ins. He is an artist himself and very creative. No job is too wierd or complex for him to tackle. He also does plumbing and electric if the job requires. Craig can be reached at 415-531- 6355 or craigartus [at] For more info on the reference, call me- 510-339-8337. Valerie

2007 - 2008 Reviews

Nov 2008

We are looking for a carpenter to help with deck repair. Ideas?

I have used Jim Ondersma from Finishing Room Solutions for several things at my house. I have been happy each and every time and have referred him to others who in turn have told me he was exceptional. His number is 925-408-2243. Greg

I found a great painter/carpenter contractor for our deck and are enormously happy. - Nick Epple (510 326 4646) in the East Bay - He did a tremendous job and was cost effective plus a pleasure to work with. Happy now

I highly recommend Keith Roueche 510-649-1119 for any kind of carpentry. He has built beautiful fences for us and designed and installed outdoor water features. Over the past year he completely remodeled and rebuilt a fixer in my neighborhood which is flat out beautiful so he can do anything. he also does any kind of outside gardening design and landscaping. He is a licensed contractor to boot with very reasonable rates. He is also a graphic designer so he has a real eye for design. Mitch

March 2008

My home is a cute little 1920's cottage with only two closets, both marginal. I would like a floor to ceiling closet built in one of my bedrooms. I'd like something that looks like it was there from the get-go. Anyone know any carpenters who specialize in that sort of thing? L

Have used Peter Gill many times to install windows, wiring, plumbing, sheetrock, and, best of all, finish carpentry. Peter works full time repairing houses in the Berkeley area, for an insurance company, so he knows how to deal with older houses the right way. He is available for small jobs on Saturday and Sunday. We have found him to be careful, methodical, reliable, and good company. Peter is able to teach as he goes. pbgill at or phone 510-773-3940. Suzette

I highly recommend Ron Masters (510-352-8763) for carpentry and remodels. He just built a staircase for me. He was extremely responsive (even after I delayed the project three times) and a true pleasure to work with. He is very personable, honest, and is great at giving you the pros and cons of all your options. He was not only under budget, but very conscious of your budget with each decision. Very reasonably priced overall. He has a great aesthetic eye, as well. Our stairway ended up much nicer than we even imagined! He cleaned up the workspace impressively at the end of each day. I was extremely happy with Ron and the finished product! Feel free to contact me. Annie

Dec 2007

We have a interior wood staircase that needs replacing. We would like to find someone who could design and build a custom staircase. The steps themselves are fine, but the handrails, balusters, etc are loose and we want to replace them with wood in a design that suits the craftsman style of our home. Any suggestions/ advice on who could do this type of project? Sarah

I have a wonderful person to recommend for you- Rich Soenksen. He is truly a master carpenter, and will do the best job for you. He has worked for us before, (and is currently working for us now,) and you're welcome to call for further information. Rich's phone number is: 415.828.0570 You may call me at: 510.647.9640. Best of luck with your project. Michelle

July 2007

Hello--I've begun a remodel and wanted to find a skilled carpenter and/or handperson to use for the smaller parts of the project. In the Claremont area of Berkeley. Thank you! Sara

I highly recommend Paul Lashley (who I found here on BPN!). He did a complete remodel of my kitchen and re-wired the whole house. He did an outstanding job, very good rates, and was a joy to work with. Also, he has the best craftsmen working for him, they were careful and cleaned up every day. His cell number is 510-910-1028, home number is 510-243-6640. you can email him at: Goneraftn[at] Feel free to call me if you need more info about him. Margot

June 2007

Looking for a great finish carpenter for cabinet crown, which our carpenter friend would rather not do, and to build a range hood frame. Does anyone have a recent experience with someone in the area? leela

We had some great finish work done by Aron (Nugent) Lewandowski in our kitchen and living room. He can do just about anything you want and was really flexible with our schedule. He gave us a fair estimate and completed the job within a week of when he thought it would be done. Aside from having to juggle with his other clients as he seems to be in demand we highly recommend his work. His number is 510-435-5419. finished on time

May 2007

I found Ron Masters through BPN, after reading many rave reviews over the years. Since then, Ron has helped us on a couple of jobs -- building a beautiful craftsman fence and framing out a basement remodel. Not only does he do great work, but his rates are very reasonable, and he's an EXTREMELY good guy. And very fair - if something goes wrong, he accepts responsibility in a very gracious way and fixes the problem. His assistant, Dan, is also great. You can reach Ron at 415.377.8400 or mastersr6[at] (phone is the best). Jamie R

April 2007

I would like to recommend a wonderful carpenter who has recently done excellent work for me. He has thirty years' experience and is the former owner of a residential homebuiding business in New England. He relocated to the west coast two years ago and is building up a clientelle. He is a hard working, honest carpenter and can do homebuilding and repair jobs of any sort. He rebuilt the trellis on my back porch, replaced my basement door, repaired my deck, and was willing to tackle any job I proposed. He did say that he doesn't do major electrical work or plumbing. He charges $55 an hour and cleans up every day after finishing. His name is Charlie Bishop. cell: 207-266-3477 or email: cbbishop[at] Sandra

2005 - 2006 Reviews

Dec 2006

I would like to recommend Josh Tomlinson of Dialogue Design-Build. Josh was able to take over after we separated from a contractor on a remodeling job. He did a bunch of internal finishes (including plumbing as well as finish carpentry) for us, as well as built a beautiful deck. He's a true artisan who cares deeply about his work. (he's also a fine art photographer to boot). He's honest, earnest, and a real pleasure to work with. Since finishing his work for us he's also gotten his contractors license and is also doing general contracting. We've recommended him to friends who are uniformly pleased with his work. I would not hesitate to use him again. He can be reached at 510-325-1917

Nov 2006

We are painting the exterior of our house and we need to replace some siding boards. Can you recommend anyone? Casey

This person does EXCELLENT work, and best of all, he's RELIABLE and only schedules one job at a time so he won't demolish your kitchen or bath and then run off to do a higher-paying job! He's also an excellent communicator, something rare among contractors in my experience. good luck! Rachel

Her'e an excerpt from his Craigslist Ad: With over 30 years of experience in the construction trades, and in residential and commercial maintenance, I am a person of integrity and am very detail oriented and reliable. I do excellent work in Carpentry, Plumbing, Electrical, and Landscaping. A restorative Carpenter, I also specialize in building decks, arbors, and fences, with a focus on aesthetics and function for outdoor living spaces. I have references from satisfied customers and photos of my work. Please make inquiries by email, burnin4u at My name is Alan

We used Marc Shure at Shure design and Construction cell 847-8900 526-5802 He was excellent! Franny

Oct 2006

Josh Tomlinson, with Dialogue Design/Build (510-325-1917) is great for small-to-medium sized projects where you want someone to be thoughful and to apply good design sensibility. He helped us figure out what we needed, and he was great about listening and adjusting the plan as new things popped up. It seems like a lot of the people we've tried to work with have been hard to communicate with, fail to return phone calls, and pretty much just do their own thing. Josh has a lot of integrity-he's responsible, he's easy to talk to, and he cares about his work. I think Josh is especially well suited for projects where you don't want to pay an arm and a leg but you want something custom-designed with style and built with care. p.s. He does both indoor and outdoor projects Wendy

March 2006

I would like to recommend Ron Masters (415.377.8400) for exterior carpentry. He built a new deck for us in El Cerrito. He and his assistant did an excellent job. He has a great eye for detail and aesthetics and made helpful suggestions regarding materials, design and cost. I got his name from positive recommendations on the BPN and echo all the great things that others have said about his work. I look forward to working with him on future projects. Suil

Yvonne Kettels (510-520-0295) just did great work in my home and yard. She 'built-in' shelves and a window seat in my daughter's room, installed a skylight, kitchen counter tops, and moved a wall. She also did some painting, repaired my deck and raised my yard fencing with framed lattice. She didn't cut corners, was easy and fun to work with, and had wonderful design ideas. She is also a single mom.
happily home repaired in Berkeley

Feb 2006

I am recommending Michael Clancy for finish carpentry. He did an excellent and thoughtful job revamping our master BR closets including some very difficult circular and angular carpentry. He sourced materials efficiently, worked fast and efficiently, and stayed on budget. His other work includes cabinets to decks and gates, as shown on his website 415-242-1317 Satisfied Berkeley customer

Jan 2006

We very highly recommend Frank Ciccarelli (759-8536) for any exterior/interior structural renovations and general carpentry. He has done multiple projects for us and we're always very happy. He is meticulous, very hands-on, and will work with you on designs/solutions. He worked closely with us on a custom fence design that many strangers have stopped us to compliment. He also closely supervises everyone involved in a project (doesn't just delegate the implementation and come back at the end, as we've seen some contractors do.) Andrew

Nov 2005

I highly recommend Ron Masters for any carpentry or home remodels. He and his assistant remodeled our attic space into a family room and bedroom, including sheet rock, insulation, dry wall, painting, windows etc. He did the project in record time including putting in 3 skylights and custom lighting. He is an artist and craftsman with a fine eye for detail. I know he has also remodeled kitchens ,bathrooms and built custom decks. His prices are very reasonable and most importantly he is reliable and focuses on your job only. Call Ron directly and he can give you references depending on the type of job you need help with. He can be reached at 415-377-8400 or e-mail mastersr6[at] Melinda

Sept 2005

I can sincerely recommend Mike Wilson, 510-559-3461, for everything including fine woodwork, design, room additions, and structural repairs and upgrades. He\x92s done all these kinds of projects for us over the last nine years. We\x92ve used him whenever he was available. He installed a new bathroom for us, doing everything from framing and sheetrocking the walls to laying the tile and building a special medicine cabinet. He\x92s built fine, oak stain-grade stairs, beautiful fences and gates and put in all the shear panels and retrofit anchor bolts recommended by the engineer. He\x92s extremely careful about details in woodwork. Mike\x92s great at figuring things out that leave the other trades people scratching their heads; he\x92s good at explaining different options and offering recommendations when we have choices to make. For example, he gave us a budget-conscious kitchen re-design that we really liked. He\x92s able to draw ideas on his computer so that they\x92re easy to understand. When something needs to be fixed that isn\x92t on his palette, like a broken garage door mechanism, he has a list of specialty contractors to recommend that has been invaluable to us. He finishes his work completely; he leaves the place clean at the end of every day. He\x92s reliable and calm and his prices checked out to be pretty low. Amy

August 2007

This is a follow-up to a prior recommendation for Dixie Briggs. We needed a closet built in an alcove and hired Dixie and another carpenter, Diane Pfile. The job was (of course) much more complex than we expected, and they had to do a lot of problem solving. It was frustrating for them and more expensive than we planned for, and yet I cannot recommend them more highly. The closet matches the other closets in the room, and their work is just excellent. We will definitely hire them again for similar projects. Dixie's Cell # is 510-604-3765, and her email is dlb_ablaze[at] m

July 2007

We recently used Ted Posselt to pull down a wall b/w the living room and dining area.He was professional gave us a good design plan and clean up was great.I heard about him from this web site.He was on time and in budget. HE can be reached at 510 658 8026.Higly recommend him:) Good luck!!! Rama

If you are looking for a productive, efficient, creative contractor/master carpenter (plumber, electrician), I suggest George Woodward. I bought a former crack house in N. Oakland. I asked George for his assistance, having seen some of his work in the home of a close friend. Here's what I found: George looks for an economical, but nonetheless perfectionist solution to all issues, whether questions of design or structure. I am happy to send people before and after pictures, and the changes to this now happy, bright, colorful home. In good part, thanks to George Woodward. You can reach him at: badger[at] or 510-547-2307 elizabeth d

June 2007

We are interested in having our current built-ins (melamine) removed and replaced(with wood). Does anyone have a recommendation? We live in the Lamorinda area. jkb

Hi - I recently used a carpenter named Ron Masters for creating built-in cabinets in a condo in Pt. Richmond. He created the cabinets from scratch to our specifications. I'm sure he could handle your job. He took extra time to meet us at the lumber yard/hardware store for description of items and help us choose what we wanted. He stuck to his contract even though there were some extra time delays. I found him easy to work with and flexible. His phone is: cell: 415-377-8400 (lives in san leandro & probably would work most of the bay) Please tell him I recommended him. Renee A

June 2007

If you're looking for a super capable independent carpenter I cannot recommend a woman named Dixie Briggs highly enough. I worked with her for years in the trades and now that I have left the trades she is the person we hire. Her work is amazing. Dixie has over 13 years experience available with everything from small to large jobs. Her background includes remodels, kitchens, framing, interior/exterior trim, restoration, decks, fences... Residential and commercial. You name it, pretty much.

She's really sweet, efficient, organized, has an unbelievable attention to detail, and amazing abilities executing just about anything having to do with wood (and other construction materials for that matter).

Dixie's Cell # is 510-604-3765 Her email is dlb_ablaze[at]

I don't post my email but I can speak with you in more detail as a reference if you're interested. Just ask Dixie for my number. Bill

May 2005

I've contacted most of the carpenters posted on this site, to no avail. Most never call back; the few that do make me feel as though *they're* considering hiring *me.* I have a particular pressing need now, but also have ongoing projects that require a skilled, honest, pleasant carpenter who can make repairs and, at times, find creative solutions and execute them with care and maybe even a little flair. Recommendations of carpenters you've actually worked with will be much appreciated. Meredith

I can thoroughly recommend Bob Antonelli, whom I hired recently based on recommendations on this list. He's primarily a painting contractor, but between big jobs he's happy to take on the small stuff that other carpenters and contractors don't return calls about. He installed a dishwasher for us, which involved carpentry, plumbing and electrical, and it's all flawless and often even better than we had asked for. We have old custom cabinets, and he made it look like the dishwasher has always been there, and even saved some of the storage space we thought we were going to lose in the process. He always answered the phone when I called, worked quickly, gave a very fair estimate and stuck to it. We couldn't be more pleased with the results. My only hesitation in recommending him is that he's going to get too busy to do other projects for us! JP

For decks and other outdoor carpentry, you can't beat Carl Kudrnac of Bushveld Construction. He has built three beautiful decks for us, and one for friends. All were done on budget, on time, and with great skill. Carl is that rare contractor who has it all: He is honest, attentive, affordable, very skilled and an all around good guy. He is concerned -- even to the point of obsession -- about saving you money, and will suggest all kinds of things to make your project affordable. His number is 925-989-9308. leslie

I am happy to recommend our wonderful carpenter, Andrew Ritchie, for your big or small jobs. He is a pleasure to have around, very talented, ever mindful of the budget, able to come up with solutions to tricky carpentry work, and will always confirm your needs/wants before beginning and throughout the job. He has done small and larger jobs for me in the last year. He does return your calls. In short, give Andrew a call at 510.526.1982. I'd be happy to speak or email with you further about Andrew if you wish. Patricia

April 2005

Just purchasing a fixer-upper home, having over 20 years of neglect, it was in major need of not just painting but of complete overhaul. We came across a referral on this board. Bob Antonelli (painter extraordinare). Not only did he transform our home into a palace. But he has over 20 years of construction experience. His extensive knowledge helped us save money in a few areas. He was able to remodel the kithen and bathroom with overall carpentry skills and granite installation. Also build a staircase. If you are looking for Outstanding & Reliable home service, I will recommend Bob at 415.724.4301 cell. Susan

March 2005

I would like to recommend Ron Masters for carpentry work. He has a keen eye for design and detail, is very professional, and is able to assemble the project in his shop and only return to install the finished product. He installed a custom banquette in our kitchen, and did a great job for a fair price. He can be contacted at mastersr6[at] or 415-377-8400. Jonathan S

2003 - 2004 Reviews

July 2004

I would like to recommended two excellent professionals. One is a carpenter named Kifle Zereat. The other is a painter name Kezete Kifle. They did several small jobs in my house. They did a marvelous job, they were professional, they were on time and they were on budget. Kifle Zereat's phone number is (510) 387-9041 Kezete's phone number is (510) 472-0577 Abiud

Oct 2004

Hi - Can anyone recommend someone to remove and then hang a recycled front door, and install a bolt lock, at a reasonable rate? Thanks! TH

To the person looking for someone to help install a new front door -- We have a carpenter helpng with some remodeling at our house who does terrific work. He specializes in making and installing doors. His name is John Hunt, and his number is 510-547-8116. A minor problem with our front door took him about 5 minutes to fix. John just moved here from New Mexico and is a really nice guy. cat

March 2004

We are looking for someone who can do some carpentry work in both our kids' bedrooms. We need to take out some existing bookcases and design an area where our son could have a desk and some bookcases. In another room, we need to build into a closet to make more room for a twin bed. This room is very small. Anyway, we would ideally like someone with a wonderful sense of design and space. Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated!! Thanks. Jill

hi jill, i posted james sarmiento's information before. he does everything from carpentry to floors to wiring, we've been happy with everything he's done to our home. He is efficient, works diligently, is conscious of your budget, and is honest, above all. You can email us if you have questions, or just call james: James Sarmiento: 877.334.6763, pager; (650) 589-2391, home mariaelena

Jan 2004

I would like to recommend Ron Masters for carpentry and remodeling. We recently bought a 1920 house in Berkeley that needed considerable work before we could move in. Because we are planning on reconfiguring the rooms in the house and fully remodeling the bathroom and kitchen in the next year or so, we needed someone to do a low budget temporary fix on the very deteriorated bathroom and kitchen. Ron was initially recommended by our realtor. We later realized he has also received excellent recommendations on the Berkeley Parents Network. Ron understood exactly what we wanted and came up with a design that was inexpensive but looks very good and is extremely functional. He and his skilled helper Dan were able to work within the restraints of our budget and still do a professional job and produce a very presentable kitchen and bathroom at a reasonable price in a reasonable amount of time. Ron is also an artist and has an excellent eye for detail. We are very pleased with his work and would recommend him highly. William

I highly, HIGHLY recommend Frank Ciccarelli (382-9179) for any carpentry work you might have. Frank built a fence for us 15 years ago that still looks great and has needed no repair in all this time. Over the years we have hired him to do many projects including hanging doors, rebuilding the back porch and stairs (this past summer), and I know he builds a lot of decks for people. He's smart, reliable, trustworthy, knowledgeable, extremely skilled, and a pleasure to work with. Having him work around my home is completely stress-free because I know the job will be done well. Feel free to contact me at staceys14[at] Stacey

June 2003

Re: ''Who Builds Cabinets?''
Armo Forster 510/531-5584
Armo built a big bookcase with cabinet doors on the bottom portion for us earlier this year. He does all kinds of custom woodworking, , from high-end cabinetry to simple shelves to stair railings to... you name it. He's been building his own home in the Oakland hills for the past ten years, so you can check out what he's done there with his floors, kitchen cabinets, doors, etc. if you want some idea of what he's capable of. I think he does great work! darcy

June 2003

Re: decks & fences

I highly recommend Matthew Whalley (925) 366-6199 for deck, gate and fence work. He built a sturdy and beautiful picket fence, a backyard fence, awning, and a 6 Ft gate. His estimate was the lowest and reasonable. My deck architect was highly impressed with the quality of his work. He was efficient, punctual, great to work with, and cleaned up. Contrary to a previously posted messsage, he happily painted the picket fence and the awning, stained the back fence and did a superb job. His workmanship, rate and attitude are out of this world. I recommend him highly. zamad

March 2003

This is an unsolicited post to recommend a woodworker who just built a handsome custom bookcase/cabinet for us. His name is Armand Forster, and he can be reached at 510/531-5584. Armo does all kinds of woodworking, from high-end cabinetry to simple shelves to stair railings to... you name it. He's been building his own home in the Oakland hills for the past ten years, so you can check out what he's done there with his floors, kitchen cabinets, doors, etc. if you want some idea of what he's capable of. I think he does great work! darcy

Feb 2003

Re: Remodel of small bathroom
Stanley Jackson recently remodeled both our kitchen and bathroom. He is reliable & reasonably priced, and we were very pleased with his work. We had the same situation, where we needed a small bathroom done quickly, and he did a great job. Stanley can be reached at 562-6681 Heather

Feb 2003

Re: Remodel of small bathroom
Based on recommendations from this website,we used Jim Zwaal 510-652-8258 and were extremely happy with his work. He was able to do the majority of the major work on our one and only bathroom while we were on a one-week vacation; hence, we were never without a toilet. He was very in tune with our need to have the bathroom functional, so he did what he could to get the bathtub/shower functional soon after we returned from our trip. Additionally, he helped us design the remodel with attention to keeping the ''craftsman'' feel of our house. We are thrilled with a result that was well within our modest budget. He was able to do all aspects of the project, from plumbing, to tiling, to sheetrocking... so you don't have to worry about multiple people being in your house. And he is, most importantly, trustworthy. He even kept an eye on our cats. Christy

Jan 2003

Re: Tiler/Carpentry/Remodeling

I highly recommend Ron Masters for any tiling/carpentry/remodeling work. Ron is professional, reliable and very talented in both a design and implementation capacity.

He recently assisted me in remodeling my loft. He installed tiles in the bathroom, put in hardwood floors throughout, painted, installed a custom low-voltage lighting system, ceiling fans and acted as an advisor for the overall remodel.

He knows what materials will work while trying to stay within my budget. He charges a reasonable hourly rate and takes pride in his work.

Feel free to call me if you have any questions. Ron Masters can be reached at 415-377-8400. Rich

2002 & Earlier

May 2002

I highly recommend Ravi and Pami Kalsi for general carpentry. They can also do some plumbing, sheetrock, and concrete work, etc. I have worked with them on an extensive remodeling job on a very old, fine house for many months and know them well. They are honest, intelligent and very careful with everything they do. They show up on time, they do not have any obvious vices such as smoking, drinking, or swearing. Their prices are reasonable. They are also very nice people. Kalsi Custom Home Creations 798-6218 kalsipami AT

Aug. 2001

I want to recommend Aaron Brock 551-5417 for general carpentry, including sheetrock, rough, and finish work. He is a careful and honest man who is easy to work with. He shows up on time, and works steadily and quietly. He is about as unobtrusive as one can be. I hardly know he is there, which is important to me as I work at home. If you plan to have work done inside your home while you are living there, he is a wonderful choice. His rates are reasonable. You may e-mail me for further comments. -Jenny

i'd like to recommend costel for the full range of small jobs -- electrical, plumbing (incl. grout), painting, shelf installation, and childproofing are but some of the types of work he has done for us. he could also do larger jobs but doesn't yet have a truck to transport large materials (plans to get on in the future). he did a lot of the plumbing and electrical work as part of a larger basement renovation we had done with a general contractor, and since that job was finished we always call him for small jobs. he's wonderful, very responsible, completely trustworthy, very reasonably priced, does good work, and will do virtually anything you need. neither of us are at all talented in the home improvement/maintenance department. costel has been our salvation. he can be reached at 5383314. Diana and Ben

Nick did a major remodel on our stucco house/office building about 13 years ago. While the details are fuzzy in my mind (thank God!), my over-all recollection is that they did a good, competant job, and that Nick was responsive and reasonable to deal with. Good luck . From: victoria

We used Steve Vorkoeper, a partner in VBC Construction (510-526-4019), and Ted Posselt who works independently. Efficient, good workmanship, good people. Ted is more low-key, Steve is busier, does a lot of big projects. Ted's son assists him but Ted is the better craftsman of the two. Doug & Jean

We've got a great carpenter to recommend. His name is Gary and he has been helping us with various projects over the last few months. We first hired him to install a window, then he did some stucco repair, next helped my husband build a fence, and is now helping us update our bathroom. He also does plumbing and electrical. He is happy to take on small jobs of all sorts. He does excellent work, is comfortable having someone work with him, is great with my young kids (who hover around wherever he is working), and is friendly and easy going. His prices have been reasonable, he shows up when he says he will, and he finishes what he starts. Gary Haggerty 524-9523. Gayle

I highly recommend Ted Posselt (658-8026) for any carpentry work. He installed handsome bookshelves in two houses we have lived in, and has done numerous other carpentry jobs for us. In particular when we removed a previous owner's add-on closet, Ted restored the walls to their original look, including crafting wood molding that exactly matched the rest of the room. He has also installed shelves in our laundry room and shed. Ted is scrupulously honest, reliable, trustworthy and reasonable and is a pleasure to work with. -Martha


From: Fran (3/98)

Our carpenter, John Staley , 527-6963, is very good at all sorts of house jobs, including wiring, plumbing, and earthquake retrofitting. He is also very good at planning the projects. We have hired him many times over the years, both for groups of small projects that take a couple of days, and for projects that take a month or more, full time. We've recommended him to several friends for various types of projects and they've all been very pleased with his work. Given his knowlege and experience, his price is reasonable.