John Wiedmeyer is a master carpenter who does all of his own work. He does not use subcontractors.

John specializes in the historical rehabilitation of the older homes in the Fox Valley area, and has carefully, and precisely restored some of the most well known properties to their original glory using only a small 2” X 2” picture, and a homeowners dream, or nothing more than a vague description, and his own vast knowledge of historical “appropriateness”.

John has spent 38 years learning his craft, studying the architecture around us, and listening intently to those amongst us whose memories of these buildings takes us back to those grand old times.

John has great respect for the owners of the historical homes who ask for our help, because they are the ones who are doing this community the greatest good. They are doing all they can possible do to fix the “bones” of their home, not just spruce it up cosmetically.


•        We seek to deliver good workmanship and shall conform to the generally accepted definitions of "quality standards" including, but not limited to, the following:

•       The work shall be fabricated and installed square, level, plumb, and straight.

•       Historic properties are seldom square or level. We therefore will use our experience to provide the best results possible in these cases.

•       The work shall be scribed to adjoining surfaces with defined minimum clearances.

•       Exposed joints shall be executed, rigid, tight and flush with no tool, machine or cross-sanding marks.

•       Hardware shall be installed to the manufacturer's instructions and properly fitted and adjusted to ensure correct operation.

•       Wood surfaces and edges shall be smoothly sanded and free of blemishes or cutting defects such as tool or machine marks, sanding marks, surplus glue, or raised grain.

•       Moldings shall be cleanly run, smoothly sanded, free of machine marks, and with sharply defined detail.

•       Fastenings shall be concealed wherever possible. Face nails and trim screws shall be as few and as small as practicable, neatly countersunk and filled with longevity and concealment in mind.

Grades of wood:

Architectural woodwork is used in fine quality projects throughout Elgin and the surrounding areas. Limitless design possibilities, a variety of lumber, species and materials are available in all three accepted industry grades. The standard grades are as follows:

•       Premium grade: the grade specified when the highest degree of control over quality in the execution of design intent, providing the highest level of quality materials, workmanship, and installation. Premium,
by contrast, is for the most visible and more important high-profile projects. Craftsmanship is of high importance and materials are chosen for long term durability and beauty.

•       Custom grade: the grade specified for most high quality architectural woodwork. This grade provides a well defined degree of control over quality of materials, workmanship and installation. This is adequate
for most situations and is most often used in new construction.

•       Economy Grade: the grade defining the minimum expectation of quality, workmanship, materials and installation. Economy Grade should be reserved for those areas that are not for public view, or long-term exterior use.

•         "Hairy" surfaces on  moldings

•         Exaggerated knife marks

It is acceptable to specify several different grades throughout the same project.

Please note that unless otherwise specified all Quality Painting and Carpentries contracts follow the Premium Grade standards as laid out by the woodworkers industry. 


There is a common moral duty on those professionals, contractors and craftsmen, when working on any project, to take reasonable skill and care to achieve the task for which they have been hired. But what is reasonable? As one textbook puts it, 'in practice, different professions enjoy varying degrees of success. It is not surprising if a lawyer says that some of his clients lose their cases, or if a doctor says that some of his patients do not recover: but it is most surprising if an engineer says that some of the bridges which he designs fall down, or if a pilot says that some of his planes do not land well'. Thus, on the whole, it is not enough for those who are engaged to carry out works to buildings, historic or otherwise to carry out the work agreed, they must also do it properly.

However, there are limits to how far the courts will intervene. For one thing, the duty owed by professionals and others is primarily to their clients, and not to the building. Further, the duty is to take reasonable care to complete their appointed task - whether that be preparing a design for the alteration to a building, or carrying out the actual works to implement that design - properly, in the light of the standards of those
operating in the same field. It follows that no one is under a legal duty to carry out work better than all their rivals: a moment's thought will show that that would be wholly unworkable since, by definition, at least half of those operating in any field will be less competent and less inspired than the average.

On the other hand, where a professional or craftsman holds himself or herself out to be a specialist - either in historic buildings generally or in relation to some particular aspect of conservation work (such as, say,
the restoration of historic fabrics, or the integration of modern computer services into old buildings) - it is perfectly proper for clients to expect a level of expertise greater than that of a general building professional. But the same principle still applies; a historic paint expert is expected to know more than a general decorator, but not more than other historic paint specialists.


Most, if not all, work to historic buildings will be the subject of a contract. This may be a simple oral agreement (such as 'Will you pop in to have a look at the crack in my kitchen wall?') or a written contract and specification comprising thick specification documents and numerous drawings. Either way, breach of a term of the contract may lead to a successful claim for damages. The matter was put thus by a judge:

If I employ a carpenter to supply and put up a good quality oak shelf for me, the acceptance by him of that employment involves the assumption of a number of contractual duties. He must supply wood of an adequate quality, and it must be oak. He must fix the shelf. And he must carry out the fashioning and fixing with the reasonable care and skill which I am entitled to expect of a skilled craftsmen. If he fixes the brackets but fails to supply the shelf, or if he supplies and fixes a shelf of unseasoned pine, my complaint against him is not that he has failed to exercise reasonable care in carrying out the work, but that he has failed to supply what was contracted for.

The same applies to any task in the course of the building process - again, whether by professionals or artisans. It is therefore important to specify works carefully when entering into a contract. And if the building concerned is a historic building, correspondingly greater care needs to be taken - with the drafting of the contract as much as with the carrying out of the actual works themselves. In particular, where a project involves opening up an existing building, it is not always possible to predict with any accuracy
what will turn up. So the specification must take account of all (or at least most) of the likely possibilities if it is to be of any use.

Do you think about your wood?

We use absolutely the best quality old growth woods from our storehouse, when appropriate, and we get first choice on delivery at several lumber stores to ensure our customers the straightest, tightest grained, knotless boards available.

We are moving forward rapidly in the field of technically advanced wood replacement for historical integration. Even to the trained eye, our work is undetectable.

We mill all of our products ourselves, everything is custom made to fit your home. We can copy your molding, replace your rotted column, totally remake your sill, match your crown molding exactly, build you new wood storm windows (the kind where the screens and the storms pop in and out from the inside, much easier!), build you a whole new porch, or just lift your sagging porch.

Replace your cracked siding? Sure!

Carve an old world flower on a porch column to match this picture (coming soon) - still working on that one.

We prime our boards on all 6 sides, to keep moisture out. We use stainless steel nails so there will be no rust problems in the future. Our miters are PERFECT, so we do not need to use caulk to fill the gaps, no moisture problem in the future here, either.

The cedar shingles all falling apart, time for new ones and while we are at it, how about a new more historically accurate pattern to those shingles? We do not use cheap shingles from Menards or Home Depot. We buy only top grade, extra thick, fine grain shingles from a warehouse in Wisconsin that specializes in cedar shingles.

We cut them to exact size ourselves, and then prime all sides really high up on the board so there is no chance of moisture wicking up ...anything to help slow the process of deterioration. Then, each shingle is placed in the perfectly thought out pattern, or the exactly spaced row in which it belongs. Not only will it look great, it will hold paint better because of the finer grain, the better quality primer, and the quantity of surface that has a moisture barrier protecting it. Our shingles will last a lifetime …. or two.