updated 4/21/2006 5:00:44 PM ET 2006-04-21T21:00:44

A carpenter who keeps his clothes clean by working in the nude was arrested after a client returned home early and found him building bookcases in the buff.

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Percy Honniball, 50, was charged with misdemeanor indecent exposure this week for the October incident.

He told officers he stripped before crawling under the client's house to do electrical work because he didn't want to soil his clothes, police said.

Honniball said Thursday that working au naturel gave him a better range of motion and that a skilled craftsman can work clothing- — and injury- — free.

"In certain situations such as demolitions where you are smashing rock you want to be clothed and protected because this rock can harm you," he said.

Honniball was caught working naked in Berkeley three times in the last six years and put on probation for violating a city ordinance.

Honniball says he doesn't plan to do work in his birthday suit again.

Police said he apologized to the startled homeowner but was fired. The homeowner paid Honniball for the finished work but deducted $200.

"He kept out that amount to change his locks," Oakland police Officer Jesse Grant said.

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