About us

About me:

I'm Erik West. I started Capable Hands Carpentry in 2015.  

For many years I was in the bicycle industry.   After realizing I didn't want my own shop, I pivoted and got a degree in Environmental Science and then taught Sustainability for a long time.  Since I've always liked making, fixing and building things, after another one of those "life resets" I dove into carpentry.  It's been eight years and counting and I still enjoy pushing my learning into new areas of design and building.  

As you'll see from the gallery, I really like the expressive endeavors.  These days I often take on projects that have an artistic goal to them or some other pull.  Lately that includes building things on wheels or including a unique element that I can build around.  


Sustainability has a lot of room for improvement in the building industry and I stay conscious of that as I work.  

I've also taken classes from the Maine Indoor Air Quality Council, which I highly recommend, in an effort to better stitch together the various home building technologies that have surfaced over the years. Not understanding this can lead to buildings that age prematurely or solve one issue while creating another.  The science of buildings really does matter.  And even the newest stuff is not without it's downsides.  As a professor once taught me, "You can never do just one thing."  

With this in mind I often use wood that can age without being treated so it can be burned or composted when it's first use is past. I also incorporate recycled elements where appropriate.  Everything I build is impermanent so thinking about what will happen years from now really matters. 

Expanding into steel work for the sauna ceiling.

Meet the team

Capable Hands Carpentry can take a few forms.  Often it's just me from start to finish.  Then sometimes have some amazing helpers which I really enjoy.  For larger jobs, like kitchens, bathrooms or ground-up trailer fabrication, I become a General Contractor and bring in subcontractors for plumbing, heating, electrical, metal fabrication, etc. so that I know the job has the latest technology, skills and code compliance in those areas

 I enjoy a new challenge and the work I take on has to fit in with my abilities and a realistic time frame to complete.  And these days, there is a lack of tradespeople for the amount of work in our area.  I always tell potential clients to just ask me if I can do a job. If I can't, I'll say so.  I value being honest and realistic. 

My favorite jobs

I like to keep growing as an artist and builder. The job size is less important than it's intent, design or how it will fit into someones life.  I do some jobs simply to solve a maintenance or functional need but the ones I love fill a much greater need for clients and consequently, for me.  

Checking out the Salvador Dali museum in Florida