A Man Without Compromise: Carlisle Craftsman John Cook

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We’ve been talking to designers, architects, builders, and homeowners across the country and while they all have unique success stories to share, they all stand on common ground when it comes to custom: There is no company in the world that will create a custom floor with as much time, care and attention to detail as Carlisle.

John Cook, Carlisle Engineer, working on planks of woodJohn Cook, Veteran Craftsman 

Our industry partners and customers understand that whatever look they desire, our craftsmen can achieve it. From width, to grade, texture, and color, it’s all in the details. And with over 200 years of combined experience, they love nothing more than to bring an original floor to life.

John Cook, a 14-year veteran of our team, exemplifies the importance of having the right people in the right roles on the production line. John is an icon amongst his peers for his unmatched talent hand texturizing our custom planks.

We had a chance to pull him away from his workbench on a crisp, snowy New Hampshire morning to chat about his process, and there was one thing he made very clear before we got started: “I will never compromise quality for speed.” Period.

Let’s see what else he had to say…

The Perfect Match

John is no doubt a Carlisle craftsman, his specialty is the finishing process; specifically, hand texturizing. We have at least six different textures to offer on our custom floors, many of which are created one board, one foot, and one inch at a time by the hands of a man who has a love and feel for fine wood.

“I’ve been a woodworker my entire life, when I was young, I found myself taking a job in a boatyard down in Florida, which eventually led to a career building yachts. I’ve always enjoyed working with wood, and matching that with the enthusiasm here at Carlisle makes for a very satisfying day to day.”

Texture by Day

So what does a typical day look like for John? First, let us describe the setting in which he works. John has about a 20’x30’ area in our finishing factory. Within his space, there are multiple workbenches, equipment, and tools. And along one wall, he has a bench, lined with at least 8 task lights spaced about every 12” that allow him to focus on every detail of his craft.

“As I receive an order, I place each board on my bench, inspecting it inch by inch under the lights, making sure it’s of the highest standard. Then I get started by hand texturizing and sculpting with my tools… in a way that works with the grain and pattern of the wood.”

Carlisle Wide Plank floor workshop

Making History

This is a long process, but necessary to create our signature looks which include Footworn, Timeworn, Watermill, or Hand Scraped Edges. These textures are unique to every order since the client can specify exactly how much texture they want to see on their floor.

John’s work can create the look of a footworn floor that has been walked on for over a hundred years. As a finishing touch he also gently scrapes the edges to recreate the centuries-old process of smoothing the transition from board to board.

“For me, each board is a work of art,” John beams. “And I know my time is well spent when I hear that our customers tell us their floors are even more beautiful than they could have possibly imagined.”

Lost Art

John is not only one of our finest artisans, he takes great pride in mentoring local high-school students who are interested in learning the trade. His love for timber and appreciation for the beauty Mother Nature brings to his bench is no doubt contagious, and we know how lucky we are to have such a kind and humble man at the helm to guide new talent into our team.

We had a chance to follow him back into the shop and it would be an understatement to say that he just “shows them the ropes.” For these young adults, they know from day one that mastering the craft is all about the details and that what they are learning is the art of perfection.

And back to our chilly interview, standing behind our rural factory with John, in front of a forest lined with hundred-year-old pines, there was one concluding statement he made that brought a warmth through our boots and straight into our hearts:

“The beauty of being a craftsman for Carlisle, is that we get the opportunity to appreciate what Mother Nature created for us, and our job is to enhance it a little more for our customers to enjoy.”

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves, Mr. Cook, and we think Mother Nature would agree.

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Exceeding Industry Standards One Plank at a Time.
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