John Cooley

Cicada Carpentry

Light carpentry and repair in eastern CT.

Redesigned fireplace

This fireplace is unattractive and nonfunctional. The brick is dark and dirty, the steel firebox is rusted out, and there's no hearth, so it's also unsafe.

The appearance can be improved by covering up some of the brick.....

But it's still not attractive or functional

This mantel from a salvage yard is made of white oak, and it's very attractive--- but it does not fit this fireplace.

However, anything that was built also comes apart, and the mantel can be redesigned and rebuilt so that its proportions better fit this fireplace.

The lack of fire-resistant hearth can be dealt with by constructing one-- the top is to be layered with high-density fireproof insulation, then covered by a slab of granite.

The pieces start to come together....

Appearance problem solved!

And issues of functionality can be solved with a high-efficiency stove insert. This unit will heat an entire level of the house.

Window Seat

This built-in window seat was constructed of solid oak and oak plywood, with a custom fit cushion. Underneath is a fully finished, locking storage area. The seat is not actually attached to the house framing, but is held in place by a tight friction fit.

Salvaged Stair Railing

This railing and gate came from a salvage yard in Brooklyn CT. Here's how it looked fresh from the salvage yard:

It had extensive areas of rot. I disassembled it, cleaned it, repaired it, and redesigned it to fit this stairway. A bookshelf was added to the left side.

Fireplace mantelpiece

This fireplace had only a small, plain piece of trim surrounding it. I built this mantel out of boards and stock trim.

Glass Block Window

This window was built from scratch.

I built it in my kitchen (I didn't have a shop at the time)

and then I installed it in its rough opening with a little help from Jorgensen clamps.

Mortise lock restoration and install

I specialize in repairing and installing mortise locks. You can read more about this pattern, called "Corbin Ceylon," here.

Found objects

Got a junkyard? A flea market? You might have a treasure and not even know it!

This owl lamp kept falling over, so I made it a base from a scrap of redwood.

This pilot light for a power strip was made from a few scraps of oak, a neon night light, a broken doorknob escutcheon, and an indicator light from an Otis elevator.