Look around your home or the building you’re in, and notice any decorative accents that are built into walls, ceiling, and around doors. The trim pieces, molding, doors, windows, stair banisters – and more – are examples of millwork. Millwork is one of the elements of construction used by architects and designers to give structures character and aesthetic appeal.
Much like it was hundreds of years ago, millwork is performed by highly skilled carpenters and craftspeople. Millwork showcases the highest form of carpentry and is all around you. Learn how millwork differs from casework and how the craft has evolved with modern manufacturing techniques.
WHAT IS MILLWORK? A COMPLETE GUIDE TO TRADITIONAL AND MODERN MILLWORK
Wood is traditionally the most commonly used building material for architectural structures. Every piece of wood building material is produced in a wood mill or planing mill. So, in simple terms, a wood mill is where a carpenter manufactures millwork.
Millwork consists of any wood used in the construction of a structure that is designed to be exposed. Millwork includes everything manufactured in a sawmill, like wood mantels, door frames, and accent trim. It includes any wood architecture crafted in a sawmill from raw lumber.
Traditional millwork is crafted, exclusively using wood, however, modern millwork branches out to include other materials, as well. Today, millworkers use MDF manufactured wood in addition to natural wood, like pine, oak, fir, maple, poplar, and hickory. A finished millwork product is custom-built to its final placement and installed easily with nails or screws, and adhesive.
MILLWORK VS CASEWORK
Anything produced out of wood is carpentry, but there is a difference between millwork and casework. As explained, above, millwork is designed as an architectural element. So, millwork does not exist outside of the physical structure of a building.
Casework, on the other hand, can exist apart from the architectural structure. It is not custom-designed to be one with the structure, unlike millwork. Casework produces free-standing storage structures, cabinetry, shelving, and more. And, casework is often delivered as a finished product, whereas millwork must be customized to the architectural specifications of the building.
MODERN MILLWORK MATERIALS AND EQUIPMENT
Today, millwork includes other materials, outside of hardwood, like plastic, metal, and other synthetic building materials. But, even when using wood, modern equipment plays a hand in manufacturing millwork. Machines, like CNC wood cutting machines, edge banders, and laser wood cutting machines play a major role in producing modern millwork that is high-quality, and affordable.
APPRECIATE THE MILLWORK ALL AROUND YOU
Millworks are products of custom design and craftsmanship that integrate, seamlessly, with an architect’s structural design. Millwork is responsible for all the little things you don’t consciously notice when lounging in your living room. And, it is these little details that change the four walls around you into the home you love.
Want to upgrade the atmosphere of your home? Talk to an architectural designer to find out how custom millwork can transform your home or building.