Any kind of refurbishing or redecorating work asks for an experienced contractor and workers. You need everything to be perfect and so you contact the best of workers for your work. You discuss your ideas with them and listen to theirs. Everything goes fine until they begin to speak of technical terms like “millwork”. Millwork is not known to every other person. You ask them the details, you contact others but everyone provides you with their personal definitions of the same. It can get confusing especially when you are seriously considering redecorating your place. Before moving towards the actual grind you should be fully acquainted with the drill, cost factors so that no one can deceive you and it will eventually improve the quality of your work.
Refurbishing is more of like a one man show that is, of the contractor who then directs its workers to get the work done in stipulated time. It is good to trust his instincts but you should also be aware of the crux. On this website, we will make sure that you fully comprehend the basics of millwork, understand what actually millwork is regardless of what others have taught you, provide you details about the tools which can be used in millwork, their reviews and costs for better understanding of the very subject.
What is Millwork?
Millwork refers to any item or object that has been processed suitably in a “mill”. In simpler words, it refers to wooden work that has been crafted in a mill. You come across such items every day unaware of them being “millwork” items. From the wood paneling in your windows to interior doors to window casing, everything is a product of millwork. The wooden details you admire at monuments or palaces are also nothing but millwork. Bookcases, crown moldings, chair rails, fireplace mantels, stairway, stairway parts, switch plates, wall crown, corners and cornices and even decorative wood items are a part of millwork.
Millwork requires a precision while performing as the wood has to be cut in desired shape and size, it has to be framed and even painted to look eye-catching. It involves intricacies related to wood. The decorative items at your place need the most effort as it asks for minute detailing on the wood. Secondly, the type and quality of wood being used also makes a huge difference. Some woods are stiff to be cut while others are not durable enough. Finding the right quality of wood for specific items also requires an experience.
From ancient time wood has been one of the most favored items for decoration from ceilings to exquisite wooden fireplaces we prefer our place to be furnished in wood. These items to be prepared are originally cut from raw lumber in a sawmill thus giving them a specific term as millwork. Sometimes cabinetry and flooring are also included in the category. However, carpentry and flooring both offer an entirely separate arena and are not related to millwork. The millwork items after being cut ask for finishing. The finishing can be done with the help of a sealant, paint or stain depending on the choice of work and wood preference. Mostly, millwork was accomplished in a uniform colour.
However, with changing time the approach is also advancing. Nowadays, people prefer stained finish on door frames and trim but painted doors inside those frames. The choice of wood has also changed. People preferred furbishing the house with singular variety of wood. However, nowadays people ask for mixing two different varieties of wood in the detailing. Maple and cherry are the most favored wood types in this category.
For a more crystallized understanding of millwork, here are some examples,
Examples of Millwork
- Portico: The most favoured and beautiful millwork, Portico refers to a small porch equipped with a supported roof leading to a beautiful entrance of a building.
- Quoins: These are rectangular shaped masonry pieces extending up to a building’s corner. These provide reinforcement to the structure.
- Rosette: These are a part of antiques. A round, unique and stylized miniature medallion that can be employed to an architecture or furniture.
- Wall Niche: It is usually a recessed portion of the wall in which vases and other decorative items are placed.
- Pediment: It is a rectangular fixture in the upper front part of a building or window. Most commonly seen in ancient architectural structures.
- Louver: It is a slatted window line or a shutter used for ventilation.
- Mouldings: These are basically wooden strips to cover surfaces or can also be used for ornamental purposes.
- Crown Moulding: It is a type of moulding installed at the intersection of the walls and ceilings.
- Corbel: It is a piece of solid material which protrudes from the wall to provide support.
- Astragal: These are materials covering the gap between a pair of doors to prevent them from swinging back and forth in an open space.
- Chair Rail: These are wall mouldings applied at chair height to prevent chairs from scuffing the wall.
- Cornice: These are decorative mouldings applied around the top of a wall, building or even a piece of furniture.
- Header: It is a horizontal support spanning the opening of a window or door.
- Medallion: It is an embellished accent attached at ceiling’s central point.
So, the above examples are all included under one category as “Millwork”. However, a lot of people get confused while explaining millwork because of it falling under the section of “carpentry”.
What does not include Millwork?
As mentioned earlier the broader term “carpentry” creates confusion in the minds of many. Carpentry surely refers to the art of woodworking and millwork is a part of woodworking. However, both of them are different. The term “carpentry” is suitable in a construction site while millwork refers to the intricacies related to the woodwork.
Another confusing term associated with carpentry and millwork is casework. Again, “casework” is totally different than millwork. However, it has been used as an alternative to millwork by a lot of people.
So, then how millwork and casework are different? You need to worry about it because after going through this website you will surely be able to distinguish between the both.
Difference Between “Millwork” and “Casework”
As we have been discussing about “Millwork” in this article you might have your thoughts clear regarding the same. A “Millwork” is any kind of woodwork that has been processed in a mill. This can involve anything from doors, wood paneling, crown moldings, cornices etc.
A basic difference between millwork and casework is that millwork is custom made. It can be created according to the need of customers and will entail any type of custom-made woodwork. For example, cabinets shelving, stairways, custom storage. If there is any space for customization of your woodwork then it will essentially fall under the category of “Millwork”. Another difference is of budgeting. A rule of thumb is that the total cost of millwork items will be two or three times the cost of the materials required.
On the other hand “Casework” refers to creating boxes. Yes, you read it right! Boxes of different shapes and sizes like a bookcase, storage boxes or even cabinetry. The main difference thus between millwork and casework is that casework includes all those items which are essential for stocking goods and those are nothing but boxes!!
Casework, again, is not at all custom made. You need to have dimensions and measurements for installing a bookcase in your room. For the very reason, casework is somewhat cheaper than millwork because it does not involve intricacy.
Can you do millwork at home?
So after getting a lucid insight into the world of millwork you might get curious about performing it yourself at home. To tell you the truth then there is no harm with that. You will rather enjoy creating your own masterpieces and decorating your home.
So, the simple answer to this question is YES! You can do millwork at home. However, you will need some basic tools for cutting, shaping and finishing of the wood. Don’t worry because we are here to help you with it.
Millworkguide.com is all about helping such enthusiasts like you who like trying different things and want to do millwork at home. We will provide you with ideas, tools, review of tools for you to buy making it a bit easier for you to perform your task at home.
Basic tools required for millwork
What are you afraid of? You might be having an idea in your mind by now so work on transforming it into reality. Here are some of the tools you will need to perform millwork at home:
- Tool belt.
- Hand drill.
- Measuring tape.
- Nail set.
- Nail puller.
These are some of the millwork essentials. However, its similar to carpentry tools you can follow our elaborated guide about basic carpentry tools which will help you in the better understanding of the tools and their proper uses in the millwork.