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The Stair Guy

Main Services: Finish carpentry, cabinetry and stairs

Description: Hello,
Hi, my name is Russ; I’m the owner and sole proprietor of “The Stair Guy.” But please don’t think that stairs is all I do! I work in all phases of interior trim carpentry including cabinets, doors, windows, decorative moldings and built-ins. Briefly, I have 35 years experience in the trades both as a trades-person and manager, and I’ve been in Sacramento for 25 years. I’ve worked in many fields, but I specialize in finish carpentry. This being the case, I have many resources in the area and I can quickly evaluate the needs of your job. My motto has always been “Get it done.”

Here’s a concise history of my experience, and please check out a few shots of my work.

I was born in '52 and at age 12 got I started working summers sweeping in my father's mill shop in Oakland. By age 18 I was setting up most of the machinery. In 1973 my father moved operations to Texas. I managed his company and ran 2 shifts. He sold his company for quite a profit when I was 25.

I then started work in the trades framing houses. In a couple years I got into the union and started setting concrete forms on high rises in Dallas. Two years later I got into commercial finish carpentry. I landed a job and ended up as a mill work supervisor and assistant superintendent on several hotel remodels in Nassau, Bahamas. For a year, I ran a large crew and oversaw work from other subcontractors.

In 1985 I moved to Sacramento to be closer to my brother and sisters. I worked union for a while, but work was scarce and the long waits on the “out of work” list forced me to go back into residential. This was fortunate for me as I got jobs with general contractors who did most of the work that needed to be done in most of the trades themselves. It was at this time that I learned many trades including tile, hard wood floors, drywall, plumbing, modern electrical and antique “knob and tube,” roofing, plaster, stucco and insulation to name a few. I worked on projects in Land Park, Curtis Park and in the “Fabulous Forties”.

After a few years I went back to work in commercial. I got a job with the State of CA in the Direct Construction Unit, a division of the State Architect’s Office. I was involved with many office remodels where I learned such things as “T bar” ceilings, HVAC, Fire rating and earth quake provision codes and handicap access.

Then I acquired my license. I was approached by an architect and friend who gave me my first job. He had purchased a home in Curtis Park and wanted to add a new garage and second story. He pulled an “owner/builder” permit and hired me to do most of the work. I demolished the existing garage, set the forms for the new garage, ran the electric, did the frame, roofing and brick veneer. I also did the demolition on the main structure. I leveled the foundation, framed the second floor, did the dry wall, framed the staircase, tiled the main floor bathroom, built the finished staircase, roofed the house, installed the hardwood floors, built and installed the cabinets and painted the walls. I was on this project for about a year.

My next job was a finish mill work job on the Kelly residence (Owners of Kelly Broadcasting Channel 3) in McKinley Park. Their home had been designed by the famous architects Henry and Charles Greene, the creators of the “Early American Bungalow” and who also designed such prestigious homes as the “Gamble House” in Pasadena CA. For this job, I hired a friend of mine who’s back ground was primarily in precise custom milling. We set up shop on site. We milled all lumber to architects specs, who was usually on site 3 days a week. I’ve included some pictures here of the work we performed on this job. All wood grains had to be grain matched. Most of the lumber was either Port Orford Cedar from Oregon, or quarter sawn Maple.

At the completion of this project I started building stairs full time. Then bottom fell out of the market in ’07, and here I am today.

Thanks for reading, I hope you’ll let me help you with your needs and allow me to solve your problems.

Sincerely,
Russ Skarsten, the Stair Guy.

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